Changing sociocultural and historiographic contexts require new approaches to interpretation and presentation at National Park Service–administered sites. Through the study of two NPS parks in Washington State (San Juan Island National Historical Park and Whitman Mission National Historic Site), this article explores the agency’s interpretive programs and practices in relation to founding mandates and contemporary relevance. As demonstrated by these case studies, efforts to expand programming and presentations within the NPS system are ongoing but at present insufficient in light of current changes in demographics and visitation. Ultimately, for the NPS to remain relevant in the twenty-first century it must respect founding mandates but diversify interpretation of its parks’ contested histories, thereby enhancing its contemporary relevance and better engaging today’s audiences.

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