The Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition (LFL) and master planner PGAV Destinations are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Looking for Lincoln experience.
Lincoln’s home state coalition contributes $3b annually to Illinois.
“Looking for Lincoln has been a wonderful programme for celebrating and exploring President Lincoln’s life while positively impacting the State of Illinois” said LFL Executive Director, Sarah Watson. “Today The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area encompasses 42 Illinois Counties, 10 National Historic Monuments, 51 Historic Districts, and contributes more than $3 billion in annual visitor expenditures to the State of Illinois!”
Destination designer and consultant, PGAV Destinations, completed the ten-year master plan in partnership with the LFL in 2006, helping structure the vision and strategic management of the unique collaboration and programme.
“President Lincoln’s life was so rich, deep, fascinating, and impactful that it would be tremendously difficult to capture it and do it justice in the course of a single destination or event, ” said Mike Konzen, Principal and Chair of PGAV Destinations.
“The innovative, statewide approach of LFL unites communities across the State in educating about and exploring [his] life – and it’s simply fantastic to have been a part of that programme’s success.”
Over the course of the last decade, the LFL has implemented a number of successful initiatives to continue to enact phases of the master plan while growing the reach of the program. The six “Gateway Communities” of Springfield, Bloomington/Normal, Quincy, Alton, Charleston, and Danville have been designated as the main visitor entry points to the Heritage Area, while a new “Community Designation Program” has been established to continue to incorporate new President Lincoln-associated Illinois communities into LFL.
In partnership with Southern Illinois University Press, LFL has also published the first two books in a series about Lincoln’s Illinois legacy- Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln and Mormon Country and Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln’s Springfield. In addition, the Coalition oversees annual “Signature Events” around the State, including Lincoln’s Festival, History Comes Alive, Lincoln Days Civil War Reenactment, and Lincoln’s Trial & Tribulations, together attracting more than 100, 000 visitors annually. With the recent rebranding and launch of a new marketing programme as well as the integration of the Looking for Lincoln Endowment Fund Bequest Society, LFL is making great strides in keeping the programme and National Heritage Area alive and flourishing for future generations.
“Our ten year master plan laid out bold goals to create a strong foundation in structuring and growing a fantastic program, ” says Watson. “We’re now looking ahead to the next ten – fifty – years, and visitors to Illinois can look forward to exciting additions to the LFL programme such as tailored Travel Itineraries, new Gateway Exhibits, the continuation of our book programme, statewide refreshing of our signage, and the launch of the great LEAD/Spirit of Lincoln Programme!”