America's Best Idea Grant

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Date: June 2, 2011
Contact: Bill Martin, (843) 883-3123 x 11

The National Park Foundation announced today that it is proud to award Fort Sumter National Monument a grant to support the launch of a program to promote African American pride in the 19th century brick making industry in Charleston, South Carolina. In partnership with the Brick Education and Research Foundation, this innovative project will take a group of ten public school teachers on a one-day tour of significant brick masonry sites in and around Charleston. These teachers will then create curriculum materials geared towards African American youth who will learn about their ancestors' vital role in producing the building materials for these historic structures. The grant is part of the National Park Foundation's America's Best Idea, a nationwide program that connects underserved and under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their national parks in innovative and meaningful ways.

"It is an honor to receive this grant," said Timothy Stone, superintendent of Fort Sumter National Monument. "The hundreds of structures built with their ancestors' labor should be a continuing source of pride for today's African American community. With this project we will raise awareness of this industry and the curriculum materials will provide a resource that will extend the scope of the project far beyond the initial one-day tour."

This project will involve hands-on brick making at Middleton Plantation, a look into the slave experience at Drayton Hall, a tour of significant brick structures in downtown Charleston, and a brick masonry demonstration at Fort Sumter National Monument. The new community partnerships created by this program will provide a framework for future collaboration on similar projects which will continue to serve the diverse population of Charleston. Instilling pride in teachers and students will motivate this audience to visit not only our local heritage sites, but also sites in other places with recreational and educational opportunities.

"We must create opportunities for all Americans to have access to and enjoy their national parks," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "With these grants we're connecting more and more people to the parks, while building and strengthening long-lasting support, appreciation and commitment to protecting 'America's Best Idea'."

Inspired by the epic Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea, the National Park Foundation, in partnership with Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, the Anschutz Foundation and the Ahmanson Foundation, awarded America's Best Idea grants to 19 national parks across the country. A full list of grantees and project descriptions will be available on the National Park Foundation website.


Fort Sumter National Monument is administered by the National Park Service. The fort is located in Charleston Harbor and is accessible only by boat. Hours of operation vary depending on the time of year. The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center and Ferry Boat Facility, open daily from 8:30-5:00, is located at 340 Concord Street in Charleston. Fort Moultrie, a unit of Fort Sumter National Monument, is located at 1214 Middle Street on Sullivan's Island. Fort Moultrie is open daily from 9:00-5:00. All sites are closed on New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. For more information, call (843) 883-3123 x 20.


The Brick Education and Research Foundation (BERF) provides educational experiences to the public and supports research in brick manufacturing and brick masonry. The major educational activities include the annual Clemson Brick Forum attracting an international audience, short courses on brick and masonry topics, a quarterly tutorial magazine, and webinars for brick manufacturers. BERF provides financial support for university level research in repair and preservation of historic buildings, sustainability of masonry buildings, and minimization of environmental impact of brick manufacturing.


You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world's most treasured landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites -- all protected in America's nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow. For more information visit

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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