Almost one year has passed since I have taken the helm as the President & CEO of the Gettysburg Foundation. The year has been filled with many projects and accomplishments. I want to highlight several of these that could not have happened without the support and dedication of our staff, volunteers and supporters.
Upon my arrival in May 2021, the rehabilitation of Culp’s Hill was winding down to the final stages. I was proud to celebrate with our partner, the National Park Service, with the ribbon cutting ceremony following the completion of Culp’s Hill in July 2021. Visitors can now visualize this area and learn more about the battle fought here. We couldn’t have done this rehabilitation without the generous support of Charles “Cliff” Bream, III and his wife, Julie St. John.
The next project to be completed just months after I arrived was the new Children of Gettysburg 1863 in September 2021. A family-friendly children’s history museum providing an interactive adventure for young historians, Children of Gettysburg 1863 was completed after a renovation of the Rupp House on Baltimore Street. Children have been visiting the museum and enjoy exploring the interactive exhibits. Thanks again to our lead gallery sponsors Ford Motor Company Fund and David and Sherri Malgee, and to all those who donated to this important project to make this adventure possible for young learners.
This past November, for Giving Tuesday, we focused on raising funds for the Eternal Light Peace Memorial. Our goal was to raise $50,000 for our partner, the National Park Service, to keep the flame burning for five years. With the overwhelming and generous support we received and the lead donation from Gettysburg Foundation Co-Chair and long-time Friend of Gettysburg Barbara J. Finfrock, we exceeded our goal and provided funding for six years.
This month, with Gettysburg National Military Park, we announced the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation Resource Room’s reopening in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. The Resource Room had been closed for two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are happy to have this valuable resource available once again for our visitors to explore their Civil War ancestry.
Upcoming on April 29, 2022, we will hold the grand opening of Ticket to the Past – Unforgettable Journeys, a new virtual reality experience at the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad StationTM. Visitors will journey back to 1863, follow one of three historic individuals and discover their connections with the station in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg. Guests will see President Lincoln and feel the impact of the Gettysburg Address. Afterward, they can visit the David Wills House to continue exploring the history of the brief but significant visit of the 16th President to Gettysburg. This project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation. We are also grateful to Captain Joan R. Hankey, USN (Ret.) and David and Sherri Malgee, among others for their generous support in making this new virtual reality experience possible.
I am honored to lead the Gettysburg Foundation and our great team. I look forward to continuing our efforts and advancing the Foundation’s mission in support of our partner the National Park Service at Gettysburg for many years to come.
Wayne E. Motts
President and CEO, Gettysburg Foundation
First appeared in the Gettysburg Foundation's column in the April 25, 2022, edition of the Gettysburg Times.