As 2017 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to consider how fortunate Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site are to have such a powerful partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation. For 28 years the Gettysburg Foundation has stood with the National Park Service (NPS) as the steward of preservation, restoration, and education at Gettysburg National Military Park, assisting with ongoing preservation needs of the battlefield, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and the Eisenhower National Historic Site.
Gettysburg: the Power of Partnership
The Foundation funded, designed, and constructed the park’s $103 million Museum and Visitor Center which opened in 2008. The Foundation’s member organization has more than 22,000 active “Friends of Gettysburg” who help increase awareness and relevancy for the Gettysburg and Eisenhower parks. Friends’ volunteer opportunities create more meaningful engagement with the national park system, strengthening and expanding support for parks.
Recruit members of the Friends of Gettysburg prune and maintain a number of Gettysburg’s historic orchards, picking apples for hard cider created locally. Cider sales in turn create a sustainability fund for the orchards which are significant features that affected the fighting of the Battle of Gettysburg. Recruits trend toward a new, more diverse generation of park supporters that’s extremely important to the future of the National Park Service.
Through its Friends programs, operation of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, and many other efforts, the Foundation offers philanthropic support that directly benefits the Gettysburg and Eisenhower parks and the NPS as a whole. In 2017, the Foundation supported the “Great Task Youth Leadership” program, assisted with acquisition of numerous important objects for the park’s museum collections, and helped fund the completion of the rehabilitation of the historic landscapes of Cemetery Ridge.
Upcoming projects include helping fund a new, one-mile interpretive trail connecting the Museum and Visitor Center with Powers Hill and the George Spangler Farm; and projects to provide enhanced visitor access and experience at Little Round Top and its surroundings while ensuring its protection and stewardship.
"We're extremely grateful for this powerful partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation. Their support allows us to better preserve park resources and improves our ability to tell the compelling stories of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site," said Chuck Hunt, acting superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site.