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Park Ranger Speaker Series



rangers iconThe Interior Library is proud to present a series of programs on the background and history of sites of interest in the Washington, D.C. region, as well as subjects highlighting the history of the United States.  The 45-minute programs, presented by National Park Service Rangers, are held in the Stewart L. Udall Department of the Interior Building To register for a future Park Ranger Speaker Series program, please click here. For more information about our Park Ranger Speaker Series programs, please contact the Interior Library by phone at (202) 208-5815 or e-mail at library@ios.doi.gov.

Additional Park Ranger Speaker Series programs will be posted as they are scheduled. Please check this page regularly for changes or updates.

All programs scheduled through 2015 will be held in the John Muir Room, which is located on the ground level of the Main Interior Building.
 
The Latin American Monuments on Virginia Avenue
Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Washington, DC’s Virginia Avenue, NW has also become known as the "Avenue of the Liberators." Grand memorials celebrate those who freed Latin America from Spanish colonial rule as well as others who continued the fight for liberty long after independence. Monuments along Virginia Avenue honor men like Simon Bolivar of Venezuela, Jose de San Martin of Argentina, and Jose Gervasio Artigas of Uruguay, who each led revolts that toppled Spain over the first three decades of the 19th century. From these struggles emerged a number of new nations in the Americas and a new call for freedom that would affect world history in significant ways. Some of these impacts include the acceleration of the onset of the American Civil War and the emergence of the decolonization movement around the world.

We invite you to join Park Ranger Michael Balis as he discusses the Latin American Monuments found along Virginia Avenue. He will examine the impact of the men these monuments were built to honor and look at why they were erected along this particular corridor in Washington, DC.


Simon Bolivar




Surrender in Tokyo Bay: The Final Chapter of World War II
Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm


On the gray, overcast morning of Sunday, September 2, 1945 in Tokyo Bay, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur strode to the microphone on the quarterdeck of the USS Missouri.  Opening remarks, befitting the solemnity of the moment were made before the sailors and officers gathered for the occasion.   Reporters, scribbled furiously in their notebooks, others with their cameras flashing, found any precipice upon which to overlook, or hang from, not unlike trapeze stunts in order to get the perfect picture.  Shortly after 9:00 am, the representatives of the Japanese government affixed their names to the instrument of surrender, initializing this formality which heralded the end of the Second World War.  Shortly thereafter, the Allied representatives followed suit.  The "dawn of a new era of peace" had arrived.

We invite you to join Park Ranger Brad Berger as he takes you on a journey back in time to the surrender of Japan in 1945.  Learn more about the ceremony that formalized the surrender of the Empire of Japan to the United States and its allies and signaled the beginning of normalized relations between these former adversaries.


Japanese Surrender



Hush’d Be the Camps Today:  Walt Whitman & the End of the Civil War
Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm


The Civil War had a profound effect on the great American poet, Walt Whitman, who found himself in the nation’s capital at the height of the conflict. He came to Washington in an attempt to locate his brother who was serving in the Union Army. While in Washington, Whitman made dozens of small notebooks from paper and ribbon to carry with him as he visited wounded Civil War soldiers in area hospitals between 1863 and 1865. In them he commented on the food provided at the Armory Hospital and wrote about the horrors of war. As a volunteer delegate under the Christian Commission, he consoled the sick and dying and often wrote letters to their families.  Whitman secured a job as a low-grade clerk at the Bureau of Indian Affairs in January 1865 and was an employee of the Department of the Interior when he learned of the assassination of President Lincoln in April 1865.

Please join Park Ranger Eric Pominville as he revisits this dramatic period of time in American history as it took place in Washington, DC, recalling Walt Whitman’s thoughts on the end of the American Civil War and the tragic assassination of Abraham Lincoln.


Walt Whitman