As the Gettysburg Foundation continues its mission of preservation and education in partnership with the National Park Service, I am excited to share with our community initiatives beginning to take shape this month. Among our most exciting news is the start of work to rehabilitate Culp’s Hill. Work is being carried out under the direction of our partner, the National Park Service, and is intended to vastly improve the visitor experience on this part of the battlefield. Thinning the trees, eliminating invasive ground cover and creating trails will allow enhanced interpretation of the events on this portion of the battlefield. In addition to landscape improvements, the project will include placing interpretive signage and reconstructing a section of breastworks. The project is funded by the Gettysburg Foundation through the generous gift and vision of Board Member, Cliff Bream. Immediately following the Battle of Gettysburg, Culp’s Hill was a popular site to visit due to the many trees damaged during the battle, the Union breastworks and other evidence of the fighting that occurred there. We hope to provide a new experience for visitors to walk the hallowed ground, gain an increased understanding of the terrain and positions of the troops, and enjoy a viewshed not seen on the hill since the 1860s.
I am also pleased to announce a new Eisenhower Spotlight Exhibit in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. The new exhibit focuses on one of Gettysburg’s most famous residents, Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States. The exhibit highlights photographs and information relating to various aspects of “Ike’s” life as a soldier, president, world leader, and citizen. Eisenhower’s career as a soldier will be covered from his West Point education to his World War I experience as commander of Camp Colt in Gettysburg (the first tank training facility in U.S. history) to his role as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. The Eisenhower presidency (1953-1961) will cover how he led our nation through profound challenges and changes during his administration, dealing with the end of the Korean War, civil rights (including the Little Rock Nine) and the Cold War. Highlights of Ike’s life as a citizen will include retirement after his presidency to his Gettysburg farm with his wife, Mamie, where he remained to his death in 1969, “the world’s most admired and respected man, truly the first citizen of the world.” The new exhibit features Ike’s many tours of the Gettysburg battlefield with world leaders. Today we are honored that members of the Eisenhower family continue to be active in the Gettysburg Foundation and support our mission. The new Eisenhower Spotlight Exhibit is anticipated to open by Feb. 26-27. Please refer to our website for updates.
The Eisenhowers at their Gettysburg Farm. National Archives photo no. 584342
Finally, I personally thank Adams County citizens who have taken advantage of our “Free Days” on Thursdays in February to visit the Museum & Visitor Center. During the first two Thursdays this month, we have enjoyed visits from many Adams County residents. The “Adams County Free Days” continue through Feb. 25. As always, thank you for your support, and we hope residents of our community will consider joining the Friends of Gettysburg, volunteering, and contributing to support our mission of preservation and education. Details are available online at GettysburgFoundation.org/join-and-give or by calling 717-338-1243.
David Malgee, Interim President, Gettysburg Foundation
First appeared in the Gettysburg Foundation's column in the Feb. 22, 2021, edition of the Gettysburg Times.