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The Mesa Verde Museum Association (MVMA) is a private, nonprofit organization, authorized by Congress and established in Mesa Verde National Park in 1930. The association is the second oldest cooperating association in the United States. Through an active publishing program and the operation of retail bookstores in Mesa Verde National Park, MVMA offers educational and interpretive materials to park visitors. Proceeds from the sale of these items are returned to Mesa Verde in support of interpretive, educational, and research programs. Our goal is to enhance public understanding of the valuable cultural and natural resources at Mesa Verde. A more educated visitor is one who will choose to join the association in our primary mission to aid the National Park Service in its efforts to preserve and protect our national heritage. To this end, the association operates under a memorandum of agreement with Mesa Verde National Park. MVMA works in cooperation with park staff to make each visitorâ s time in Mesa Verde both educational and enjoyable.
Activities of the Association normally support agency educational or research objectives that could not otherwise be provided by regular government funding. The Association's most visible services include the publication and sale of educational material. Sales outlets are provided at the Visitor Center, Chapin Mesa Museum, the Colorado Welcome Center in Cortez, and seasonally at the Morefield Ranger Station and Wetherill Mesa. The Association also provides visitor services by distributing water and trail guides at the Cliff Palace trail head. Profits generated from the sale of educational publications provide financial support for educational and research activities. Often these profits are used to develop the educational material needed to explain natural features. Frequently, such specialized subject matter cannot be developed and distributed economically by commercial publishers. Congress has repeatedly recognized the necessity for associations in furthering national park educational programs. The 1920 Appropriations Act (P.L. 66-246) authorized the Secretary of the Interior to accept lands, buildings, and other property, and "monies which may be donated for the purpose of the national park and monument system." In 1935, the Historic Sites Act (P.L. 922) broadened National Park Service cooperative opportunities by emphasizing historic sites. The need for advancing educational and scientific programs was recognized in 1946 (P.L. 79-633), authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to permit "cooperation with ... nonprofit scientific and historical societies engaged in educational work in the various parks and monuments." Authority regarding cooperative agreements was broadened in 1953 and again in 1970. In 1977, a specific and formal relationship was established between the National Park Service and the associations with an official Memorandum of Agreement. The agreement defines the authorization of both parties and is the foundation for policies and standards and provides guidelines for the associations' operations.
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