“C” is for Call to Action: There’s Much You Can Do, Part I

Posted on: May 5th, 2016 by Special Contributor No Comments

 

By Callie Hawkins

In 1846 Hannah Townsend, a member of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, published the Anti-Slavery Alphabet, a pamphlet written to explain the horrors of slavery to children. Townsend and other members of the Society understood that, if they could reach children with messages like “K is the Kidnapper, who stole That little child and mother—Shrieking, it clung around her, but He tore them from each other,” they would have an opportunity to create a new generation of abolitionists whose opposition to slavery would spread to their playmates and parents, creating lasting change. As one journalist recently wrote, this pamphlet was “not subtle or nuanced.” It plainly and unapologetically depicted the physical violence inflicted by enslavers, the agency of the enslaved, and the complicities of those who fueled the system. But it also provided children a vocabulary with which to discuss these horrors at ages significant to the development of their identity and world view.

Guides at President Lincoln’s Cottage engage our youngest visitors in discussions about slavery. | Courtesy of President Lincoln’s Cottage

Guides at President Lincoln’s Cottage engage our youngest visitors in discussions about slavery. | Courtesy of President Lincoln’s Cottage

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What does it mean to take an abandoned space bring it slowly back to life?

In 2014 an all-volunteer group called the Dupont Underground (DU) signed a five-year lease to revive 75,000 square feet of old trolley tunnels in Washington, DC. The tunnels first opened beneath Dupont Circle in 1948. After closing to trolley service in 1963, they would house a fallout shelter and, briefly in the 1990s, a food court before being completely shut down.

Each of the segments of Raise/Raze is made from plastic balls held together by hot glue. | Credit: Priya Chhaya

Each of the segments of Raise/Raze is made from plastic balls held together by hot glue. | Credit: Priya Chhaya

Almost 10 years ago, a group began working with the city to identify a new use for the space. Today DU is looking to create a hub for cultural expression that features contemporary art and engages the community at the same time. With more indoor space than the Smithsonian's modern art gallery, the Hirshorn, the underground is sparse, with blank concrete and tile walls that extend for blocks in either direction. For Philippa Hughes, one of the DU board members, that raw feel is "part of the coolness of the space."... Read More →

NPS at 100: The National Maritime Heritage Grant Program

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by Special Contributor No Comments

 

By Kelly Spradley-Kurowski with contributions by Anna Holloway

In this next post in a monthly series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Kelly Spradley-Kurowski and Anna Holloway talk about the Maritime Heritage Grant Program.

In 2014 the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) re-established the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program dedicated to preserving and promoting the maritime heritage of the United States. Originally authorized by the National Maritime Heritage Act of 1994 and jointly administered by NPS and MARAD, the program is funded through a portion of the sale or scrapping of obsolete vessels from the National Defense Reserve Fleet. But due to environmental concerns associated with that funding source, NPS was able to advertise and award only one round of grants in 1998 before the program was put on hold. It would lie dormant for over a decade.

With environmental concerns addressed, in 2013 the NPS and MARAD re-established their partnership as well as the grant program itself. Between 2014 and 2015 NPS awarded nearly $5.2 million to 69 private, state, local, or tribal institutions that are preserving historic maritime resources and developing creative, innovative, and educational projects to teach the public about the country’s rich and diverse maritime heritage.

Independence Seaport Museum staff work to remove nontarget-era steel deck framing from the USS <i>Olympia</i> at her berth in Philadelphia. | Image courtesy of Independence Seaport Museum

Independence Seaport Museum staff work to remove nontarget-era steel deck framing from the USS Olympia at her berth in Philadelphia. | Image courtesy of Independence Seaport Museum

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