Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site Dec 2023 Operations Review By Prycer Consulting

Description: Prycer Consulting was Contracted by the National Parks Service to Perform Operations Reviews on Bent's Old Fort, Sand Creek Massacre, and Amache NHS. Their Staffing and Interpretation Assesment for the Sand Creek Massacre NHS Released December 2023 Follows...

Published: 02/04/2024
Byline: SECO News

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site Dec 2023 Operations Review By Prycer Consulting

"In Fall 2023, Prycer Consulting was hired to do a general interpretation and staffing assessment for three sites within the High Plains Group: Amache National Historic Site, Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, and Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site. The site visit was conducted in mid-November. During the visit, we toured both the museum in Eads and the site itself. We met with key staff and discussed concerns, as well as things that are going well."

"Generally speaking, Sand Creek is an incredibly well-run site. They have the benefit of a site superintendent, Janet Frederick, that is from the area and has worked for the site for many years. She has built close relationships with members of tribal communities, working with them for memorial events and other projects."

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

"However, Janet is beginning to think about retirement, which is the critical question for Sand Creek: How to plan for Janet's eventual retirement, especially considering tribal and community relationships?"

"With the transient nature of the NPS system, it is highly unlikely that someone with similar connections will fill her role. With the critical importance of community relationships, this transition may need to be handled slightly differently than others. Though a traditional succession plan may not be possible within the boundaries of NPS procedures, here are a few ideas to help ensure a smooth transition for the community: Make sure the tribal relationships extend beyond Janet to all levels. As High Plains Superintendent, Eric should prioritize meeting with key people before Janet announces her retirement."

"Look into possible phased retirement so that there can be some overlap with the next site manager."

"Work with current staff to build their skills so that they can possibly move up."

"Keep key partners informed about the timelines and hiring process for the next site manager."

"Another issue that came up was concern about staff burnout, especially considering the difficult aspects of this history. Janet has done a great job of creating a supportive environment, with monthly all-staff meetings, potlucks, and regular training to help build skills and a more cohesive team. Janet truly sees this site as an important interpretive training ground for the entire NPS. More on staff care can be found in the General Recommendations section."

"As the staff continues to think about the future and possible new leadership, another question emerges: What should we be working towards? Core interpretation is in a good place, but is there something else that is needed? We chatted some about the site being a place of healing, and that idea may be worth deeper exploration. More historic sites, especially sites of slavery, are talking about this idea, and in an increasingly divided America, the public is often looking to these sites of trauma to provide clues on how to move forward. This is a concept that could also be explored at Amache or Bent's Fort. There was also conversation about how to highlight modern life of these tribal communities. How do we make sure the public knows that descendants are still here? The annual healing run is a great doorway into both topics. Exhibition space is limited, but there are some options. In addition, the new oral history project will go a long way in supporting both healing and the reminders of how this event continues to impact people today."

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Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site Dec 2023 Operations Review By Prycer Consulting

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