|Friday, Apr 1, 2011|
In late winter, a former prisoner of war from World War II visited Andersonville National Historic Site to make a substantial contribution to the park's developing traveling exhibit project. On Thursday February 24, F. Paul Dallas, on behalf of the Military Ex-Prisoners of War Foundation, gave a check for $25,000 to Jim Covington, president of the Friends of Andersonville. Dallas made the donation in memory of WWII POW J. Lawrence King. This donation, along with other monies contributed by the Friends of Andersonville, members of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, the Korean War Ex-POW Association, local civic organizations and chambers of commerce, and several individuals, have combined to provide the 50% private match needed to qualify for the federal Park Partnership Projects Grant Program administered by the National Park Service.
Speaking at the presentation, park superintendent Brad Bennett stated, "The purpose of Andersonville National Historic Site is to serve as a memorial for prisoners of war from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, other 19th Century conflicts, and throughout the modern era to present times. While an average of 150,000 visitors travel to Southwest Georgia annually to see the National Prisoner of War museum to learn about the hardships of our POWs and their families, we also know there are millions of Americans who may never have the opportunity to directly experience this park."
The traveling exhibit, "Victory from Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience" is intended to take the stories of the POWs from Andersonville NHS and carry them across the country to other museums, cities, and states to allow more Americans to discover meaning in the significant sacrifices of prisoners of war throughout American history.
Bennett cited former Park Superintendent Fred Boyles and retired Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management Fred Sanchez as conceiving of the project and initiating the planning phase. In 2010, the design phase was completed through the coordination of park Chief of Resource Management Alan Marsh. In late March, 2011, a contract was awarded through the NPS Center for Media Service (Harpers Ferry Center) to begin fabrication. It is anticipated that the exhibition, now under the leadership of park Chief of Interpretation and Education Eric Leonard, will be completed and ready to tour the country in the latter part of 2012.