Greetings from Andersonville National Historic Site.

The staff and I are working hard on several exciting projects. There has been a recognition across the National Park Service that the 14 national cemeteries in our care need rehabilitation and restoration work in almost every area: turf, tree and shrub plantings, wall repairs, and monument and headstone restoration. A group of experts from across the country visited Andersonville National Cemetery the week after Memorial Day to inspect and offer treatment plans for projects to occur in 2023 should the proposed federal budget be passed.

The other cemetery project that is moving forward is the re-contouring of Section Q. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted geotechnical surveys of this section in June. We are hoping to secure funding for the compliance and soil contouring in 2023 or 2024 so we can open this large section for burials. The headquarters building (Cemetery Lodge) will get new exterior paint, and the maintenance sheds will be re-roofed.

Museum projects this year are the replacement of the museum doors, restrooms, and HVAC system. We are also working on the design for repairs to the museum water feature which has not been operational for the past year. We had a request to return the bone ship exhibit to the US Navy Museum in Annapolis which had been on loan since the National POW Museum opened; we are working on finding a replacement for this important piece.

I want to highlight the involvement of youth in the operation of Andersonville NHS; it is a mutually beneficial relationship since they gain skills and experience through their work, and they are an important resource for the national historic site in accomplishing our mission. Through a variety of funding sources including the Friends of Andersonville, we are fortunate to have numerous interns this year. Two interns are developing interpretive products on the topics of women’s contributions to preserving the prison site and cemetery and for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. We have a structural fire intern who is evaluating our current fire systems and will produce recommendations. We have a Scientists in Parks intern who is working on Dark Sky certification and assisting with maintenance administration. As always, we rely on the American Conservation Experience youth crews to assist in the routine maintenance of headstones, setting headstones, and vegetation management. The youth group’s work allows staff to focus on more difficult projects to preserve the resources of the national historic site.