Civil War Trust
For Immediate Release: 09/25/09

National Battlefield Protection Group Honors Top Illinois Advocates

(Springfield, Ill.) – During a ceremony this morning at the Springfield Hilton Hotel, the national Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) recognized three Illinois preservation advocates with the organization’s Chairman’s Awards for Achievement in Historic Preservation.  The awards, presented by CWPT Chairman John L. Nau, III, honored Illinois State Historian Thomas F. Schwartz and philanthropists Don and Janis Barnes.  The ceremony was a part of the CWPT’s trustees meeting and Grand Review fundraising event held this weekend in Springfield.

According to Nau, the awards are an opportunity for CWPT to “personally thank committed individuals who have made it their lives’ work to promote the physical and conceptual protection of our nation’s heritage.”

Schwartz, who has served as state historian since 1993, is a highly regarded Abraham Lincoln scholar and is a leading force in exhibit development at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.  For his tremendous success in stirring the public imagination and encouraging the study of the Civil War’s tumultuous and lasting impact on American history, he was recognized with the Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Education.

Praising Schwartz’s efforts, Nau said, “In planning and designing the Lincoln Presidential Museum, he created a true 21st century history museum, one that embraces technology and the interactive experience.  We at CWPT recognize the challenge of making the past come alive and applaud his efforts to inspire future generations of historians to study and explore Abraham Lincoln, the era in which he lived and the legacy of the Civil War.”

The Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Philanthropy was given to CWPT members Don and Janis Barnes of Darien, Ill., long-term supporters who are among CWPT’s most significant private donors in the state.  CWPT members since 1999, the Barneses became founding members of the Color Bearer Society in 2003, the year after its formation.  They are also familiar faces at CWPT events, often travelling great distances to do so.

“The passion and commitment shown by the Barneses, their understanding that by preserving these battlefields we are making a lasting gift to our nation, is the reason that the Civil War Preservation Trust exists,” said Nau. 

In addition to his involvement with CWPT, Nau is the chairman of the federal Advisory Council for Historic Preservation and the immediate past chairman of the Texas Historical Commission.  He serves in leadership capacities with the University of Virginia, Baylor College of Medicine, Discovery Green Conservancy and National Park Foundation.  He is president and chief executive officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products and the number one beer distributor in Texas.

With 55,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States.  Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism.  Since 1987, the organization has helped save more than 28,000 acres of battlefield land in 19 states.  The CWPT website is located at  


  • Jim Campi, (202) 367-1861 x7205
  • Mary Koik, (202) 367-1861 x7231


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