This week, I officially step into my new role as President of the Gettysburg Foundation. The job may be new, but I am no stranger to Gettysburg. While I have had the great opportunity to meet many of you, I take this opportunity to introduce myself to those I have not met. My family and I are long-time residents of Adams County. Most recently, I served as CEO of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pa. During my nine years there, together with the support of the board of directors and diligent efforts of the staff, we grew membership, featured several state-of-the-art exhibits, increased educational outreach and hosted an array of programs. We increased our YouTube Channel subscribership by taking historical artifacts onto the field to help viewers understand their significance and provide a broader context to these treasured objects. Before that, I served as Executive Director of the Adams County Historical Society (ACHS) and am honored to hold the title of Director Emeritus. Impressed by how the ACHS has grown over the past decade, I look forward to partnering with Andrew and his team in my new role here at the Gettysburg Foundation. I have served as a Licensed Battlefield Guide for 33 years and was one of the youngest persons ever to complete the examination process. To say I have a passion for walking the battlefield and connecting visitors and friends to its history is an understatement. It is my life-long calling to interpret this battlefield and the greater story of the American Civil War. I am truly honored to be named president of the Gettysburg Foundation and feel blessed to be coming home.
I am excited to again be involved in the community and work with organizations here, and to engage new groups across the country to inspire the public about learning our nation’s history. We have big plans, including the opening of the new Children of Gettysburg 1863 museum at the former Rupp House History Center, rehabilitation of Culp’s Hill and Little Round Top, and a new virtual experience coming to the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station in Spring 2022.
In the immediate future, I look forward to opening the George Spangler Farm & Field Hospital for the summer season and welcoming visitors back at full capacity to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. I’m impressed with how Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation have come together to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff in the Museum & Visitor Center, at the historic sites and across the battlefield. The partnership is strong, and I am committed to ensuring it continues to thrive.
In closing, I want to thank David Malgee for his tenure as Interim President. David came out of retirement and sacrificed his precious family time to assist the Foundation, during its time of need. Despite the global pandemic, he successfully led the Foundation through all the recent challenges and with unwavering resolve worked tirelessly with the National Park Service in advancing the mission of our organization. I doubt anyone could have accomplished more in such a short timeframe. He leaves very large shoes to fill. While his tenure was brief, his impact will last for decades to come.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Museum.
President, Gettysburg Foundation
First appeared in the Gettysburg Foundation's column in the May 24, 2021, edition of the Gettysburg Times.