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Blog: Reimagining Gettysburg

Gettysburg for Future Generations

October 29, 2019

The multifaceted mission of the Gettysburg Foundation was on full display earlier this month, first at the George Spangler Farm & Field Hospital, followed by the Gettysburg Foundation Gala at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center.  

Mission achieved.

Preservation was highlighted through the ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating the new Kinsley Leadership Center at the George Spangler Farm, involving the restoration of a home on the grounds of an active field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Kinsley Leadership Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Oct. 4, 2019

Leadership was concurrently featured because the Spangler farmhouse is the new home of our long-standing program, In the Footsteps of Leaders®, which applies the lessons of Gettysburg to organizational and business settings. Already hosted in our new facility was a contingent out of the nation's capital working for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Historicism was a principal component of the weekend. Bob Kinsley outlined the rich history of the George Spangler Farm in the process of explaining why he provided the lead gift for its restoration. Stage and screen actor Stephen Lang, affectionately known around Gettysburg for his stellar portrayal of Confederate General George Pickett, used his time at the Gettysburg Foundation Gala to speak to the audience about healing and veteran conciliation that happened after the battle.

Stephen Lang Received the Kinsley Award, Gettysburg Foundation Gala, Oct. 5, 2019

The Gala's keynote speaker, George Will–Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and a member of the Gettysburg Foundation's Board of Directors–challenged academic historians to focus more on the heroes responsible for shaping history, rather than interpreting individual leaders as being swept along by larger forces. "No democracy," Will said, "least of all a diverse, continental democracy like ours, should want to do without those rare figures whose lives capture and condense a movement or an idea."

George Will, the Gettysburg Foundation Gala Keynote Speaker, Oct. 5, 2019

Education came to the forefront through all those speakers' remarks, along with the informal conversations in rooms packed with university history faculty, public and amateur historians, and Licensed Battlefield Guides. I was given the opportunity at the Gala to educate our friends about the Gettysburg Foundation's latest collective accomplishments, ranging from battlefield preservation, to fortifying our LEED Gold-Certified status, to linking the post-battle story and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address to contemporary American public life through our initiative, Gettysburg Revisited.

(Left to Right) Matt Moen, Gettysburg Foundation President with George Will and Stephen Lang

The same weekend as the Kinsley Leadership Center dedication and the Gala, the Gettysburg History Symposium debuted as a cooperative program of the National Park Service and the Gettysburg Foundation. Packed to capacity with Friends of Gettysburg and others, participants learned about the Battle of Gettysburg specifically, and the Civil War more generally.

Philanthropy, of course, was a central focus of the weekend. Lead gifts by Bob and Anne Kinsley, and Dick and Pat Morin transformed a decrepit George Spangler Farmhouse into a state-of-the-art leadership center. More than 300 people filled the Museum & Visitor Center for the Gettysburg Foundation Gala. With their table and ticket purchases, led by the Ford Motor Company Fund, we raised more than $500,000 in a single night to facilitate preservation and education.

By month's end, the Pritzker Military Foundation provided $100,000 for a permanent Spotlight Exhibit in the Museum & Visitor Center to accentuate the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower and to highlight the Eisenhower National Historic Site, which is adjacent to the Gettysburg battlefield.

October foretells a new era of the Gettysburg Foundation accomplishments.

Matthew C. Moen, Ph.D.