Greetings from Andersonville National Historic Site.
Hello Friends. Thanks to your support, we had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend full of events and the funeral for Luther Story. We are honored the family chose to have Cpl. Story interred at Andersonville. We had record numbers of volunteers placing flags on Saturday and are grateful to the Dixie Crows for providing lunch.
We are fortunate to have National Park Service support for improving the condition of the national cemetery. Using project funds, we have installed lightening protection in most of the historic trees as well as mulching and air-spading of the roots to reduce soil compaction and ensure the health of the trees for decades to come. We anticipate planting up to 100 additional trees over the next 5-10 years as prescribed by our new planting plan. Our project lead for this work is Adam Foldesi who has hired two additional arborists and a laborer to complete the team. We anticipate this team will be funded for at least 4 years and will focus not only on trees but also sod, irrigation, planting beds on the north and south, and installing benches.
We have received the Environmental Assessment for the re-grading of Section Q, which is currently too steep for equipment access, and will have that document out for public review soon. We anticipate getting funding for the re-grading in 2024. Section Q is the final large section of the cemetery located in the southeast corner.
Work to design the picnic area shelter is beginning this week thanks to the generous financial assistance of the Friends of Andersonville. We anticipate the final design by December 1, 2023. The severe erosion at the museum parking lot drainage outfall is also in final design and we hope to receive funding in 2024 to remediate the issue by adding a second outfall and repairing the current damage. The area north of the parking lot remains closed for safety concerns. We are monitoring the erosion to ensure the parking lot itself is not compromised.
Our wonderful Interpretive staff developed and held a 3-day Junior Ranger event in June. We are working to develop content and programs on Revolutionary War POWs and have hired an archivist who will be leading this research.
Improvements to the museum are scheduled for this fall and winter to include the repair of the lobby veneer that was damaged by a leaky window, new windows in the library, new HVAC system, and remodeling of the public restrooms. We regret that the museum will be closed during the HVAC installation for up to 3 months and the lack of HVAC during that time requires that we remove all artifacts to storage. We are planning for a visitor contact station outside the museum. I hope to know more about the timing and temporary contact station in the coming months.
We recently had a visit from Rebecca Rush, a Board member of the Woman’s Relief Corps. She chatted with rangers about the role of the WRC in the establishment of Andersonville Prison Park, saw the temporary exhibit, the Women Who Saved Andersonville, and placed flowers at the Lizbeth Turner monument and at Providence Spring. The rangers hope to work with Ms. Rush on some to be determined special events.