For Immediate Release: 06/05/10
Kentucky Historical Society Named Preservation Organization of the Year
Organization lauded for its work to commemorate Lincoln Bicentennial, Civil War Sesquicentennial
(Lexington, Ky.) – At a Saturday evening banquet culminating the organization’s annual conference, Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) President James Lighthizer presented the Kentucky Historical Society with the Brian Pohanka Preservation Organization of the Year Award.
“This award is named in honor of the late Brian Pohanka, an outstanding historian and one of the founders of the modern battlefield preservation movement,” said Lighthizer. “The Kentucky Historical Society, like all recipients of this recognition, embodies the belief so often put forward by Brian: that with dedication and vision, an organization, no matter how small, can make a tremendous difference in the way that American history is understood and remembered.”
The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) was founded in 1836 and today carries on a tradition of providing connections to the past, perspective on the present and inspiration for the future. The KHS History Campus in Frankfort includes the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Old State Capitol and the Kentucky Military History Museum at the Old State Arsenal. In its headquarters and other museums, KHS collections include 120,000 artifacts, 8,000 oral history interviews, 90,000 published works, 16,000 reels of microfilm, 200,000 historic photographs, 1,900 cubic feet of manuscripts and 2,000 maps. In addition to this work, KHS took a prominent role in marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln last year and is now leading the charge to commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial beginning in 2011.
“For nearly 175 years, the Kentucky Historical Society has worked to protect and celebrate the many the history of the Commonwealth,” said KHS executive director Kent Whitworth. “Now, we are doing our part to help commemorate one of the most significant events in American history. We are honored that our efforts are making a positive impact.”
The award to KHS was one of a series of annual Preservation Awards bestowed during the CWPT annual conference held at the Hilton Lexington Downtown Hotel and Conference Center. During the ceremony, Lighthizer stressed the need for cooperation among like-minded groups and individuals together with the assistance of thoughtful government officials.
“The work done by the Civil War Preservation Trust would simply not be possible without the efforts of men and women like those we honor today,” Lighthizer said. “They are often the unsung heroes of historic preservation, but I am confident that their work will be felt for generations to come.”
Other winners of 2010 Preservation Awards are:
Carrington Williams Battlefield Preservationist of the Year Award: This award, named for the first chairman of CWPT, was presented to Kurt Holman, park manager at Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, for his outstanding dedication to preserving and interpreting the site of the largest Civil War battle fought in Kentucky.
National Preservation Leadership Award: This recognition for federal policymakers who have made significant contributions to preservation was awarded to Congressman Ben Chandler of Kentucky. Rep. Chandler was a cosponsor of legislation to reauthorize the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program and serves on the Appropriations Committee, which last year endorsed a landmark $9 million allocation for battlefield preservation.
State Preservation Leadership Award: This year’s State Preservation Leadership award went to Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, in recognition of his outstanding commitment to historic land preservation and his leadership in Civil War Sesquicentennial planning.
National Park Service Preservationist of the Year Award: This award, which is presented to outstanding NPS personnel, went to Woody Harrell, Superintendent of Shiloh National Military Park. During his two decades at the helm at Shiloh he has overseen a significant land acquisition effort and the creation and opening of the interpretive center at the park’s Corinth unit. He was also a driving force in the creation of the Park Service’s landmark Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System.
Preservationist Teacher of the Year Award: Every year, CWPT recognizes an outstanding teacher for motivating students to become more involved in battlefield preservation. This year, CWPT recognized Mr. Bobby Housch of Emory H. Markle Intermediate School in Hanover, Pa. In addition to inspiring those in his classroom, Housch serves as editor of the popular “Gettysburg Daily” blog, which teaches lesser known aspects of the battle to students around the world.
Discovery Trail Site of the Year Award: Historic Washington State Park in Arkansas was honored as the top site on the Civil War Discovery Trail, a network of more than 600 historic sites in 32 states, following the outstanding success of its Park Day clean-up effort. Local Boy Scouts scraped, cleaned and painted some 300 feet of picket fence and 10 local businesses donated lunches for volunteers.
Reenactment Unit of the Year Award: In recent years, CWPT has begun recognizing the most preservation-friendly reenactment groups in the nation. This year, CWPT honored the Columbia Rifles, an east coast-based group with whom CWPT has worked to host historically accurate encampments on several battlefield properties.
Civil War Roundtable of the Year Award: This award was presented to the North Carolina Civil War Round Table for its commitment to excellence and battlefield preservation. The group has recently made major donations to acquisition efforts at Bentonville, N.C., and Chancellorsville and the Wilderness, Va.
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 29,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. The CWPT website is located at www.civilwar.org.