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Contact: Phil Lupsiewicz, 978-275-1705
Lowell, MA- March Madness is not just about basketball for the National Park Service (NPS) Northeast Region. This year the NPS Northeast Museum Services Center (NMSC) held its second annual March Madness Tournament on Facebook. The competition pits sixty-four parks from Maine to Virginia against one another in a quest for social media glory.
When the votes were finally tallied, Lowell National Historical Park came out on top, upsetting the likes of Acadia and Shenandoah National Parks, as well as area favorites like Minute Man National Historical Park and the Statue of Liberty National Monument. All in good fun, dedicated park supporters made it a point to vote often for their favorite parks which totaled 19.450 votes and almost 200 memes for the entire contest.
“Given the high caliber and popularity of the many parks in the competition, this is a huge honor.” says Lowell’s chief of cultural resources, Laurel Racine. “We are grateful to our many partners, collaborators, and friends in the community for their strong support. We could only achieve this level of reach with everyone’s help. As I watched the barrage of votes come in, I realized this was about community pride and Lowell’s won the day.”
NMSC first launched the competition last year to raise awareness of the nationally significant resources the NPS cares for. NMSC curators thought using the NCAA basketball bracket model would be a fun way to engage the public and promote the national parks. Last year’s winner was Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, New York. This year NMSC added the coveted Golden Curator's Glove award as an incentive.
According to NMSC, "What started as a spur of the moment idea on March 1st 2016 has been refined into quite the Facebook campaign! This year’s March Madness challenge lead to great opportunities to network and collaborate with a large variety of parks and staff. We have also heard from many parks that March Madness has gotten the attention of new visitors who learned about the sites through March Madness, and made plans to visit. We love to see people so excited about their Parks!”
Lowell National Historical Park jumped right into the competition with a series of great collection photos and fun facts about the park and the daily challenger. The park’s social media team monitored the daily tallies and posted encouraging words to the park’s friends and followers. The high response rate was due in large part to the participation from the park’s numerous Facebook followers as well as newcomers, encouraged by many of Lowell’s partners and friends in the area.
Look for the winning “Golden Glove” post in the coming months on Facebook. In the meantime, to learn more about park offerings, the Junior Ranger program, Boott Cotton Mills Museum, Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit, ranger-led tours, and upcoming special events stop by the Visitor Center at 246 Market Street, or contact Lowell National Historical Park at (978) 970-5000, or visit www.nps.gov/lowe .