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GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
MAYOR ANNOUNCES CREATION OF THE CITY MUSEUM OF WASHINGTON, D.C.
Washington, DC -- Mayor Anthony A. Williams, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Historical Society of Washington, DC today announced the creation of the City Museum of Washington, DC in the historical landmark Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square.
Participants included Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Deputy Mayor Douglas J. Patton; T.C. Benson, Director, Save America's Treasures of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Stephanie Madden, White House Millennium Council; and Barbara Franco, executive director, Historical Society of Washington, Inc.
The Carnegie Library has been designated as an official project of Save America's Treasures, a public-private partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Launched in May 1998, the project is a national effort to protect America's threatened cultural treasures, including significant documents, works of art, maps, journals and historic structures that document and illuminate the history and culture of the United States.
"In a city full of federal buildings and national monuments, this magnificent building will house the history of the great people who built this city and have contributed to the rich history of our neighborhoods," said Mayor Anthony A. Williams. "I would like to commend all those public-private partnerships that have contributed generously to making this museum possible."
Washington, DC is one of the few major urban centers in the nation and the world that does not have a museum devoted to its history. The Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square has been selected as the ideal building for the museum by the Historical Society of Washington. In an unprecedented move, the District of Columbia provided the Society with a 99 year lease at the rate of one dollar a year for the use of the library. The Society has made a commitment to operate the museum which will preserve collections, house exhibits and present public programs that tell the story of the city. Construction will begin in the year 2001 and the museum will open in 2003.
CITY MUSEUM OF WASHINGTON, DC
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
CONTACT: Carolin Sagawa, 202/588-6218
(Washington, DC, July 15, 1999) ... The following statement should be attributed to T. C. Benson, vice president of marketing and development at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and director of Save America's Treasures.
"For nearly 100 years, the Carnegie Library has served the District of Columbia as a center of community life, offering public access to books, collections and learning. As Washington's first monumental Beaux Arts public building, it grandly represented the nation's capital as the City's central public library in Mount Vernon Square. By preserving this magnificent historic building as The City Museum of Washington, D.C., it will continue its role not only as an important landmark, but also as a place where future generations of D.C. residents and visitors alike can learn about our nation's great capital city.
"We at Save America's Treasures applaud Mayor Williams' and the City's efforts to 'honor the past and imagine the future' of Washington, D.C., by saving this important local landmark. We hope communities across the country will follow Washington's lead by preserving their historic sites and collections. After all, America's story is not only told by national symbols like the Star-Spangled Banner, Harriet Tubman's home or Ellis Island, but also by the treasures in our own backyard. By designating the Carnegie Library an Official Project of Save America's Treasures, we can help the District of Columbia and the nation celebrate its unique past and find the resources to preserve its heritage for the future."
Save America's Treasures is a public-private partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, dedicated to the celebration and preservation of our nation's threatened cultural treasures for future generations, including significant historic structures, monuments, documents, objects and collections that document and illuminate the history and culture of the United States. The Millennium Committee to Save America's Treasures provides guidance and expertise to the historic effort, and is led by Honorary Chair Hillary Rodham Clinton and co-chairs Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. As a private-sector partner to the White House Millennium Council, the National Trust coordinates the Save America's Treasures public awareness and education campaigns and works with two associate partners, Heritage Preservation and the National Park Foundation, to raise funds for the most urgent preservation needs identified at the state and national levels. For more information, visit www.saveamericastreasures.org .
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, chartered by Congress in 1949, is a private, non-profit membership organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. It fights to save historic buildings and the neighborhoods and landscapes they anchor. Through education and advocacy, the National Trust is revitalizing communities across the country and challenging citizens to create sensible plans for the future. It has eight regional offices and 20 historic sites, and works with thousands of community groups nationwide.
1785 Massachusetts Avenue N W Washington D.C 20036
Phone (202) 588-6202 * Fax (202) 588-6082 * saveamericastreosures.org
SAVE AMERICA'S TREASURES
NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Too many of the historic buildings, sites, monuments, objects and archival documents that tell America's story are deteriorating or in danger of disappearing due to time, misuse, exposure to the elements, natural disasters, sprawl, improper conservation or even vandalism. These testaments to our diverse American experience can be found in communities around the country, and require preservation intervention to survive into the next millennium. Many of these treasures are not being preserved, because of a lack of funds or organized interest in the community. Without conservation, there is little chance they will endure.
What is Save America's Treasures?
Save America's Treasures is a public-private partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Launched in May, 1998, it is a national effort to protect America's threatened cultural treasures, including significant documents, works of art, maps, journals, and historic structures that document and illuminate the history and culture of the United States. Save America's Treasures is dedicated to identifying and rescuing the enduring symbols of American tradition that define us as a nation, from the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner to New Mexico's adobe churches.
How is it organized?
Save America's Treasures is a public-private effort of the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, dedicated to the celebration and preservation of our nation's irreplaceable historic and cultural legacy. To serve an advisory role to the program, the Millennium Committee to Save America's Treasures was formed.
What are the goals of Save America's Treasures?
What are Save America's Treasures' programs?
With the arrival of the new millennium, citizens from countries around the globe will reflect on their past, commemorate their achievements and plan for their futures. The First Lady best summarized the critical role that Save America's Treasures will play as we prepare for the millennium: "By giving our own gifts to the future, we can make sure that when the new millennium finally comes, we won't just be celebrating a new year, we will be celebrating the enduring strength of our democracy, the renewal of our sense of citizenship and the full flowering of the American mind and spirit."
How can I find out more about Save America's Treasures?
Contact Save America's Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation at 202-588-6202. You can also visit the Website at www.saveamericastreasures.org or the White House Millennium Council's Website at www.whitehouse.gov/lnitiatives/Millennium .
1785 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone (202) 588-6202 * Fax (202) 588-6082 *
Leadership Committee Co-Chairs:
Mayor Walter Washington
PURPOSE: The Historical Society of Washington, DC will create and operate the City Museum of Washington, DC in the landmark Central Public Library, familiarly known as the Carnegie Library, at Mount Vernon Square.
FACILITY: 50,000 square feet, three levels
Theater, Galleries, Library, and Education Wing
99 year lease with the D.C. Government
$10,000,000 Renovation and Exhibits
FUNDING: Public funding:
$2,000,000 Congressional Appropriation (available)
$2,000,000 Convention Center Authority (proposed)
$11,000,000 To be Raised
Construction to begin in 2001
Projected Opening in 2003
The Historical Society of Washington, DC
The City of Washington. D.C., is one of the few major urban centers in the nation and the world that does not have a museum devoted to its history Over the past 60 years, many people have shared the dream of a museum that tells the story of Washington, D C. The Historical Society of Washington, D.C . has made the commitment to create and operate a museum that will preserve collections, organize exhibits and present public programs that tell the story of the city -- its people, places, and events -- as a local community and a national stage.
The Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square has been identified as the ideal building for the city Museum because it serves as a local symbol of civic identity in a city overwhelmed by national symbolism. One hundred years old in 2003, it is appropriate for this historic building to be preserved and rededicated as a City Museum for the people of Washington, D C Congress authorized the use of federal land at Mount Vernon Square in 1898 to be used for the city's first Central Library built with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie. Since the 1970s, the University of the District of Columbia has used the building for academic programs and the Historical Society looks forward to continuing the University's involvement in educational programming with the City Museum.
Federal legislation approved October 21, 1998 provides $2 million in matching funds to The Historical Society of Washington. D.C . to create and operate a City Museum and provides for the District to lease the Carnegie Library to the Society for 99 years at 51 per year commencing January 1999. The Historical Society has already completed a capital campaign feasibility study and will launch a capital campaign to raise an estimated $12 million for capital costs and endowment. The museum is projected to open in 200, to coincide with the opening of the new Convention Center.
The City Museum as it is envisioned will provide access to, the city's history through a variety of visitor experiences. A cutting-edge multi-media theater will use sound and light, special effects and three-dimensional environments to introduce the city of Washington as a place of neighborhoods and real people An interactive timeline will connect local history with national and international events using technology to provide visitors with multiple themes and pathways in a kaleidoscope history of the nation's capital from a variety of perspectives. Changing temporary exhibitions will feature specific aspects of Washington history -- neighborhoods' ethnic groups, arts, businesses, sports, education. civic organizations, etc. A research library will provide access to books, manuscripts, and visual images on site and will connect electronically with other major collections in the city.
Rather than a stand alone traditional museum, the City Museum embraces the concept that the entire city of Washington is a museum and the City Museum will be designed to serve as an introduction and orientation to a city-wide network of Neighborhood Gateways that welcome visitors to neighborhoods, museums and historic sites throughout the city. Two prototype Gateways -- the Latin American Youth Center and the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage -- are participating with the Historical Society in a National Endowment for the Humanities Planning Grant to develop .themes for the City Museum and heritage exhibits for the Latino and Shaw communities. A partnership with the Tourism department of the School of Business and Public Management at The George Washington University has resulted in a strategic analysis of the City Museum and Gateways concept and neighborhood tourism planning projects conducted by students.
Planning for the City Museum has benefited from the work of the DC Heritage Tourism Coalition to bring a new understanding and appreciation for the role of tourism in economic and community development. In 1996, the Historical Society joined with the Humanities Council of Washington D.C to convene a diverse group of off-the-Mall museums. heritage groups. historic sites, and community organizations. The DC Heritage Tourism Coalition that emerged has helped shape a new agenda for heritage organizations that links the rapidly growing field of heritage tourism with economic development and revitalization for Washington's historic neighborhoods.
The City Museum will be part of a new arts and entertainment district planned for downtown and will serve as a much-needed introduction to the city for the millions of tourists who visit each year. Visitors to the new Convention Center, scheduled to open in 2003, will have an opportunity to understand the 200-year history of the nation's capital as part of a complex metropolitan area of nearly 5 million people The city Museum will serve the city of Washington by encouraging economic development through tourism, strengthening community identity through joint programs with local museums and neighborhood groups, providing educational experiences for schoolchildren and adults and preserving important historical resources and collections.
The City Museum will accomplish the following goals:
Washington is a city rich in history -- a story that remains largely untold. The Historical Society is asking individuals, businesses, community groups, city government, and federal agencies to join us to achieve our goal of raising civic consciousness and community pride by establishing a new museum that tells the story of the city. The Historical Society of Washington. D.C, a non-profit educational institution, serves as he city's local historical society and is the only city-wide organization whose sole mission is to preserve and present the history of the city in publications, exhibitions, and educational programs for the public.
1307 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20036-1507
Telephone (202) 785-2068 Fax (202) 887-5785 www.hswdc.org
Established as the Columbia Historical Society in 1894
Washington, D. C., is two cities. One is the capital of the United States center of government, home to national and international entities dealing with the federal government on a global level.
The second is home to half a million people individuals who have spent their lives here and families that have made the city their home for generations. Together, these two cities tell a unique American story that is the focus of the proposed City Museum.
Washington is a city rich in history a story that remains largely untold. The Historical Society of Washington, D. C, is asking individuals, businesses, community groups, city government, and federal agencies to join us to achieve our goal of raising civic consciousness and community pride by establishing a new museum that tells the story of the city.
There are many reasons why Washington needs a City Museum. A few of the most important are included here.
A typical tourist visiting an urban museum contributes as much as $75 in direct spending in the community, and another eight dollars in collateral economic activity. A City Museum would also create new jobs.
Washington's neighborhoods are one of its greatest assets, yet they are invisible to visitors and transient residents who never understand the unique character that Shaw, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Brookland, LeDroit Park, and so many others give to the city
A City Museum would provide local students with a sense of shared experience and community that crosses racial, geographic, and ethnic divisions by learning about the diverse peoples who have contributed to the city's past.
People are already attracted to the city for history, yet there is no place where visitors or residents can learn about the history of the nation's capital and their hometown.
For more information, contact The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
1307 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C 20036
Phone: 202-785-2068 Fax: 202-887-5785
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