The Amdor Years (1980-1987): Interpretation

 

Interpretation

While there was little change in the interpretive program from 1980-1987, the artifact storage room, added to the visitor center in 1984, visibly improved cultural resource management, providing the space and controlled environment required by NPS standards to house the park's collections. Amdor remembers that acquiring this addition was not easy:

One of the toughest things for a little Park to accomplish is to add additional square footage to a building--a visitor center or an office. There are Parks that exist that don't have visitor centers that need them desperately . . . . We added a major addition to the visitor center at a time when dollars were really tight. It was a true strike for the little Parks. [189]

Supported by Regional Director Tobin, Whitman Mission awarded the construction contract to Vern Johnson Construction Co., Spokane. Construction began in November 1983, and was completed by May 1984 for approximately $87,000. [190] The addition included an office for the Chief of Maintenance, a more satisfactory work space for the clerk typist and administrative technician, lunch facility, sufficient hall space provided for forms and catalogues, and, of course, the artifact storage room with controlled temperature. [191] Kent Bush, Regional Curator, assessed the mission's cataloging and storage needs and, with the help of Southeast Regional Curator Dale Durham and nineteen volunteers who contributed 341 hours over five days, the collection was placed in the new addition. [192] After completion, David C. Wright and Associates contracted to develop a Collections Management Plan for the artifacts. By 1985, these and other suggestions were implemented to manage the mission's collection. This construction project improved the 20-year old building, but more importantly it improved management's ability to preserve the park's cultural resources.

Although interpretation was not Amdor's primary concern, one of the most important interpretive changes in twenty years occurred during his administration. A new museum and lobby, designed by Harpers Ferry Center in consultation with the Regional Office and Whitman Mission, was approved by Superintendent Amdor in 1985. Although the museum issue is examined in chapter six, the resulting change in interpretive theme will affect not only the interpretive division, but the entire park.

Superintendent Amdor said of the Whitman Mission, "Our problems and our situations are manageable." [193] The challenge is to determine the best way to manage them. As a result, several complicated, long-term projects were initiated including maintenance management, revegetating the park, and designing a new museum. Superintendent Amdor's high-energy, action-oriented management style created many new projects; the process of directing these projects to successful completion falls to his replacement.

 

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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