Last Saturday Vicksburg National Military Park hosted an incredible Junior Ranger Day in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act.

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A living history volunteer shows a young Junior Ranger how to sew at the Shirley House.

The event was a great success and took place throughout the park. It took staff members from all divisions to pull off and involved a huge volunteer effort! Junior Rangers (of ALL ages) could travel  through the park on the tour road. Along their journey they had several opportunities to interact with park staff and volunteers to learn about historic preservation. Additionally, we had a special NHPA 50th Junior Ranger book and badge available.

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Our guest speaker was Dr. Hilliard, the Director Emeritus of the Mississippi Department of Archives. He spoke to staff, volunteers, and visitors outside of the Shirley House.

Visitors might stop at the Shirley House, a great white house right in the middle of the battlefield. When they arrived they were greeted by myself and half a dozen volunteers dressed in living history clothing. Visitors could learn about sewing and could even try making a doll of their own in the dining room, which we had set up for sewing demonstration. They could dress up as Union or Confederate soldiers in our soldiers quarters room. We also had a room set up to help us talk about the Western Freedmen’s Aid Commission. We were also lucky enough to have someone from the Jacqueline House African American History Museum bring over dozens of photographs and items from their museum to display in the Shirley House. Outside of the Shirley House our Natural Resources Program Manager spoke to visitors about cultural landscapes and her role in historic preservation. We also hosted a guest speaker in the front yard of the Shirley House from the Mississippi Department of Archives.  

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Visitors could see samples and learn about the blacksmiths and their role during the Civil War while visiting the U.S.S. Cairo Museum.

Visitors could also stop at our U.S.S. Cairo Museum where they could learn about blacksmithing as well as Civil War and Maritime music from several different guest presenters. Additionally, visitors could enjoy a tour of our beautiful Heritage Garden with a living history volunteer.

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Visitors also had an opportunity to tour our Heritage Garden with a living history volunteer.

There was so much going on in the park and it took so much planning and work from so many great rangers in our park. It was overwhelming to see so much going on and to have so many excited visitors in the park all in one day. I’m so glad to be at a park where people work so hard and can accomplish such engaging programming. Visitors were really able to #findtheirpark by interacting with staff and volunteers in a new way that we aren’t usually able to do.