New Leadership and Public/Private Funding to Establish The American Revolution Center
H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, Chairman of the American Revolution Center at Valley Forge (the "Center"), and The Honorable Edward G. Rendell, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will host a reception to welcome the Center’s new president and CEO, Dr. Bruce Cole, on Tuesday, February 24, at the National Constitution Center. During the event, the Governor and Mr. Lenfest plan to announce a combined $13 million of public and private funding for the Center, $8 million of which is Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program (RCAP) funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania coupled with a $5 million personal gift from Mr. Lenfest. The funds will support the first phase of a comprehensive museum and education center devoted to the American Revolution and its enduring legacy, which will encourage heritage tourism and spur economic development to the region.
Located on the banks of the Schuylkill River, across from General George Washington’s headquarters, The American Revolution Center will be the first center dedicated to exploring, interpreting and commemorating the timeless story of the American Revolution. The museum will display a distinguished collection of objects, manuscripts, and artifacts from the American Revolution, and the education center will provide interactive learning opportunities for teachers, students and the general public and will host programs, lectures, and symposia. The $13 million in funding will enable the development of a Trailhead Building, in addition to creating interactive educational resources on The American Revolution targeted to schools and libraries regionally, nationally and internationally.
"As the birthplace of America, the Commonwealth holds a critical and unique place in history and, consequently, we have an obligation to ensure that our history is never forgotten by using educational resources such as the American Revolution Center, " Governor Rendell said. "Bruce Cole’s experience makes him exceptionally well-qualified to lead the Center in its development from concept to reality, and the Commonwealth is pleased to help make this important project a reality."
Dr. Cole, a respected academic and art historian, previously served as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Appointed by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2001 and again in 2005 for a second term, Dr. Cole is the longest serving Chairman of the NEH and launched key initiatives, including We the People, a program designed to encourage the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture, and the Picturing America project, which uses great American art to teach history and culture in schools and libraries nationwide.
"Today, too few Americans understand the importance of the American Revolution and our country’s founding principles, " said Lenfest. "Bruce Cole’s background in history and humanities education, and his great success in finding new ways to engage people in history education during his tenure at NEH, make him the ideal person to shepherd the Center’s development as a living monument to the Revolution. I am very passionate about this cause and I am pleased to join the Commonwealth in providing funding to help create a comprehensive resource on the American Revolution that will educate and inspire generations to come."
"The founding principles unite us as a nation, " said Dr. Cole. "When we express ourselves freely, worship at an institution of our choice or vote, we are acting on the principles of those who struggled and endured at Valley Forge. By developing a living memorial to the American Revolution, we will re-engage Americans in our history and our own responsibilities in perpetuating the freedoms we have been given. The combined funding from the Commonwealth and Gerry Lenfest is a critical step in that process, and I look forward to working with Governor Rendell and the Center Board to make this vision a reality."
About the American Revolution Center
The American Revolution Center (ARC) will establish the world’s first center to commemorate the entire story of the American Revolution. The museum will display the Center’s distinguished collection of objects, artifacts and manuscripts from the American Revolution and will offer programming, lectures, symposia and interactive learning for teachers, students and the general public.
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