|Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010|
As the year of 2009 came to a close, so too, did the official year of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial. For those of us working at Lincoln related parks it had been a commemoration that had literally been years in the making. I began attending planning meetings as early as 2001 and there were many of them over the years with many interested parties, both inside and outside of the NPS. For those of us within the NPS, it was immediately apparent that we wanted to play an active and visible role in the observance. As caretakers of the primary sites associated with Abraham Lincoln and his life, we felt it was our responsibility, and our privilege, to do all that we could to honor this great American and to help present day Americans to learn more about him. To that end we quickly set about preparing lists of projects that we could develop and activities we could plan to properly observe this important Bicentennial. Not all of those projects and plans made it to fruition, but one that did was especially successful and appears to have had the kind of impact for which we had hoped.
The handbook, Abraham Lincoln: A Living Legacy, was a joint effort by the staffs of Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHP, Lincoln Boyhood NM, and Lincoln Home NHS. Chief of Interpretation Sandy Brue, Park Historian Tim Townsend and I, each wrote the chapters for our respective parks. Funding from Eastern National made it possible to hire Diana Bailey, a skilled editor, and to have the book published. Based on the same easily identifiable style of handbooks available at National Parks across the country, it includes more than 160 photographs, maps and historic images illustrating the story of the 16th president. It quickly became a bestseller at each park and since its publication in February 2008, has received several awards.
In September 2009 it was selected as a winner in the 2009 American Graphic Design Awards. In November 2009 it received Third Place in the Media Awards Competition from the National Association for Interpretation. At the annual Association of Partners for Public Lands convention in February 2010, it was awarded the 2010 Director’s Award for Excellence in Interpretive Media.
It is gratifying to have the hard work of many people acknowledged and recognized for its quality, but I think I speak for all of us when I say that it is especially satisfying to have contributed something of value not only to the observance of the Lincoln Bicentennial, but to the continuing legacy of a great man and all that we can still learn from him.