National Park Service Centennial in Lowell Focuses on Community Engagement

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Date: March 17, 2017
Contact: Phil Lupsiewicz, 978-275-1705

Lowell, MA - Lowell National Historical Park focused on community engagement during the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial in 2016 resulting in over 540,000 recreation visits. The growing participation in community events and partnerships offered a forum for Lowell residents to increase their understanding of their National Park Service and awareness of the nationwide celebrations the
Centennial offered. Focus on Lowell National Historical Park’s connection to the agency’s magnificent inventory of the nation’s resources, highlighting the role of Lowell in telling America’s stories, and engaging with Lowell’s communities about how those stories are told, each raised the park's profile.
From April to September, the park participated at community-hosted events across the city, where  attendees were invited to contribute to the “Community Weaving Project” during the  “Bringing the Park to the People” series. Here, participants were invited to write their perspectives about their community onto ribbons of fabric that were woven in as the weft, with varied fabric colors for the several neighborhoods. The assembled woven collection was displayed at the Park Visitor Center as the Centennial year closed out, hearkening back to a full twelve months of engagement.
NPS Founders’ Day celebrations encompassed two days in late August to celebrate the anniversary of the National Park Service. On August 25th, Park staff and partners joined together with the community at the steps of City Hall to salute Lowell as a special place with a flag raising. Then, on Saturday, August 27th, the day began with Superintendent Celeste Bernardo offering the Lowell Walks program “The History of Lowell National Historical Park” with with guest presenters representing several arms of the park’s development. The day’s celebration continued at Boarding House Park with a packed itinerary. Ingrid Hesse read “Mr. Magnificent’s Magical Merrimack Adventure.” In celebration of the Centennial, the park, partnered with UMASS Lowell Music Department, Angkor Dance Troupe, and Flying Orb Productions to produce a world premiere performance of community music and dance entitled, “The Pulse of the Machine: the Beat of our Hearts”. Accompanied by performances from Irish, African, and Cambodian dance groups the melding of Lowell’s community and cultures was on display. This spirited participation was reflected throughout the year.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. To learn more about Lowell National Historical Park, call 978-970-5000 or visit

Last updated: March 17, 2017

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