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California History Plan: Telling The Stories Of Californians

California State Parks was charged to update the California History Plan, first published in the 1970s.  Director Ruth Coleman directed that the revised History Plan should describe what is missing from California’s preserved cultural heritage, and describe how the gaps could be filled.  Updating the History Plan presented a challenge.  The original History Plan treated California’s history as a sequence of dates and events.  People and places, however, do not follow a straight time-line.  Events and actions happen simultaneously, cultures evolve and merge and sometimes fade, and all are woven into a broad tapestry.  In order to evaluate California’s preserved cultural heritage and assess which elements are missing, a different approach was required.

California History Plan

Through a dialog with cultural heritage experts throughout the state, California State Parks developed a new California History Framework.  Consisting of eight concepts and 37 related categories, the Framework responds to evolving concerns and interests, and reflects current scholarship on California history.

History Plan Photographs

State Parks surveyed cultural heritage experts from many public agencies to identify the categories in the Framework that are underrepresented by publicly-owned heritage properties. California’s cultural stewards are as diverse as the state itself – they range from government agencies to non-profit organizations; from individuals to prominent institutions.  They include volunteer groups and entrepreneurs, and their funding strategies are equally wide-ranging.  However, California State Parks is the only state agency charged with preserving and protecting the state’s most valued cultural resources as part of its mission. In this History Plan, California State Parks announces its commitment to carrying out this common agenda by using its resources to acquire and interpret cultural resource properties that will help to fill in the gaps in the History Framework.  State Parks is also committed to improving its stewardship and interpretation of existing cultural resources.

California History Plan