Wills House Transition Planned
Contact: Deb Adamik, Main Street Gettysburg, (717) 337-3491
Contact: Katie Lawhon, Gettysburg National Military Park, (717) 334-1124
Contact: Cindy Small, Gettysburg Foundation, (717) 339-2109
Main Street Gettysburg announced on Thursday (April 28) that they will be transferring the operations of the David Wills House over to the partnership between the Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation beginning January 1, 2012.
"This was a collaborative decision between Main Street Gettysburg, the Gettysburg Foundation and the National Park Service. We believe this is a good decision for the organizations involved, but most importantly for the community," said Em Cole, Chair of Main Street Gettysburg.
The David Wills House opened in 2009 as an official site within Gettysburg National Military Park, operated through a partnership by Main Street Gettysburg. As a national park site, the museum attracts visitors to downtown and tells the story of the aftermath of the battle, and Lincoln’s visit to give the Gettysburg Address.
"We thank Main Street Gettysburg for doing the heavy lifting and taking on the important job of start-up operations for the David Wills House in what has been a challenging economic climate for everyone," said Bob Kirby, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park.
"This consolidation is a way to save operational dollars, while enhancing and sustaining a quality museum experience in downtown," said Deb Adamik, President of Main Street Gettysburg, "a museum experience that MSG has successfully created and we all want to see maintained."
"Since the Foundation has staffing already on board to do marketing, ticketing, and accounting, we can economize while still ensuring a high quality visitor experience at the site," said Joanne Hanley, Gettysburg Foundation president.
"We saw attendance increase this year when the Gettysburg Foundation began selling tickets and increasing their marketing efforts. As a result we began discussing ideas with the Foundation and NPS about streamlining operations and seeking efficiencies. I am very appreciative of the supportive partnership that MSG has with the NPS and Gettysburg Foundation" said Deb Adamik. "Likewise, we were happy to step up when asked by the Gettysburg National Military Park to begin operations at the Wills House and contribute to such an important endeavor."
"The transition will allow Main Street to redirect their resources to the business and community needs that were defined last year during the Gettysburg 20/20 planning session in 2010. For example, one of the many priorities is the coordination of the American Civil War 150th Anniversary that began this month and goes through 2015," Adamik said.
"We thank Main Street Gettysburg, and especially the staff at the David Wills House for their hard work, and their excellent job in starting up the Wills House operations at a critical time," Kirby said.
David Wills’ home was not just the center of Gettysburg — it was the center of the immense clean-up process after the Battle of Gettysburg and where President Lincoln put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address. The speech transformed Gettysburg's community from a place of devastation to the symbol of our nation's new birth of freedom.
Main Street Gettysburg is a nonprofit organization dedicated to historic preservation and economic revitalization of Gettysburg for the benefit of its citizens, businesses, and visitors. For more information go to www.mainstreetgettysburg.org.
Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American History. Information is available at www.nps.gov/gett.
The Gettysburg Foundation is a private, non-profit educational organization working in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg. The Foundation raised funds for and now operates the Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park, which opened in April 2008. In addition to operating the Museum and Visitor Center, the Foundation has a broad preservation mission that includes land, monument and artifact preservation and battlefield rehabilitation—all in support of the National Park Service’s goals at Gettysburg. Information is available at www.gettysburgfoundation.org.
Did You Know?
The bronze likeness of an Irish Wolfhound on the Irish Brigade monument at Gettysburg National Military Park symbolizes the loyalty shown for the Union cause by the brigade's soldiers, most of whom were Irish immigrants or sons of immigrants to the United States.