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Lauren Gurniewicz, shown from the shoulders up in uniform with a beige hat.
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Philadelphia National Park Service appoints new chief of interpretation and education

With decades of experience, Lauren Gurniewicz begins the position on August 13.

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The Philadelphia National Park Service (NPS) has announced that Lauren Gurniewicz has been selected as chief of interpretation and education for the city's numerous historic sites, beginning August 13.

These sites include Independence National Historic Park, Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site, and the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial.

The National Park Service is the governing body that oversees the nation's national parks and historic locations, doing so since 1916.

In this position, Gurniewicz will lead the city in promoting inclusive historic preservation and ensure diversity in the cultural resources workforce.

“Lauren’s experience as a proven, inclusive innovative leader will help lead Independence National Historical Park through this year’s 75th anniversary of the park and upcoming semiquincentennial commemorations through 2026,” said Acting Superintendent Amnesty Kochanowski, in a press release.

“Lauren holds vast interpretation experience, a strong academic background, and an unceasing desire for continual improvement. She considers employee well-being a core value and acts accordingly,” she continued.

Gurniewicz has been serving as the parks' deputy chief of interpretation and education since November 2022.

Born in Indiana, Gurniewicz began her career with the NPS as a Student Conservation Association Intern at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in 2000. 

From there, she has worked in positions in other sites, including seasonal positions at Indiana Dunes National Park and the Harry S Truman National Historic Site, with permanent positions at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and Ford's Theatre/National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Gurniewicz’s passions include partnerships, recruitment and hiring, employee development, reaching new audiences through social media, recreational opportunities, and art experiences in parks.

On her new appointment, Gurniewicz emphasized her goals in a statement:

 “I am thrilled to help create an inclusive, welcoming environment for our employees and visitors,” said Gurniewicz. 

“Together, we can create a modern, relevant menu of experiences for visitors, so that they can see themselves in the many stories we can tell about the founding of our nation. We need to take good care of this park, of each other, and of our visitors,” she concluded.

Gurniewicz earned her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma, and her master’s in Organizational Change and Leadership from Columbia College in South Carolina.

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