CULTURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Cultural resources management is a vital component of the USMA mission to support the preeminent leader development institution in the world, sustain a community of excellence, and preserve the national treasure of West Point.
WHAT WE DO
Program staff coordinate compliance with a variety of laws and regulations that guide historic preservation at the Federal level. Chief among these is the National Historic Preservation Act, which declared it the policy of the Federal Government to administer historic property in a spirit of stewardship for the inspiration and benefit of present and future generations.
Inventory and Evaluation
The first step in a successful cultural resources management program is the identification of historic properties. Program staff are responsible for undertaking and coordinating the identification of cultural resources within the installation and their evaluation for historic significance. Typical identification efforts consist of archaeological, architectural, and landscape surveys. Evaluations usually consist of archaeological site testing and historic building documentation and assessments. Determinations of significance are made in consultation with the New York State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO).
Project Review and Compliance
As part of regular duties and as required by the National Historic Preservation Act, program staff review proposed projects to assess potential impacts to cultural resources. Such projects might range in scale from major demolition and construction to minor building maintenance and upkeep. Staff then work with project proponents and installation leaders to avoid or minimize potential impacts.
When impacts to cultural resources cannot be avoided, program staff engage in consultation with the SHPO. If the impacts are within the National Historic Landmark District, the National Park Service and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation are also consulted. In addition, staff consult with other federal agencies, external organizations and interested parties, and the general public. Staff also consult Federally recognized Native American tribes with ancestral ties to West Point when their interests may be impacted.
As a result of consultation, an agreement is usually reached to implement measures that will mitigate impacts to cultural resources. The nature of a mitigation measure is determined in consultation with stakeholders and is intended to offset an adverse effect in some way, whether directly or indirectly. Program staff are responsible for implementing these measures and ensuring that they are carried out.
Program staff provide regular training to Army civilian and enlisted personnel in order to enhance awareness within the installation of the Army’s legal and ethical responsibilities for cultural resources management and historic preservation. In addition, staff have created an online training tutorial for Army personnel, which can be accessed via the link on the right-hand side of the page.
Curation and Records Management
The management of cultural resources invariably results in the production of numerous records such as inventories, compliance documents, agreements, and documentation of cultural resources. In particular, archaeological survey, evaluations, and mitigations result in the collection of archaeological materials and associated records, all of which must be managed in accordance with federal laws and regulations. Program staff maintain all program records and the installation’s archaeological collection in a secure climate-controlled facility. Archaeological collections are regularly inventoried and are made available for research to qualified individuals.
Program staff also conduct independent research to further enhance our knowledge of the cultural environment at West Point and the history of this important place. Whenever possible, the results of this research are made available to the public. See the links on the right-hand side of this page for some recent studies and other historical information.
U.S. MILITARY ACADEMY NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DISTRICT
On December 12, 1960, the National Park Service issued a list of 70 properties, including the U. S. Military Academy, that were eligible to be designated as National Historic Landmarks, a special category of nationally significant properties that illustrate or commemorate the history or prehistory of the United States. The U. S. Military Academy National Historic Landmark (USMA NHL) was formally designated at a ceremony on August 30, 1961. The USMA NHL was organized in 1975 as a district, or NHLD, consisting of the 2,248-acre Main Post and Constitution Island. The USMA NHLD is the second-largest in the Army by area, although it is by far the most active.