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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation; U.S. General Services Administration; National Endowment for the Humanities; President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities; Institute of Museum and Library Services; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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2007 Preserve America Presidential Awards Presented

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States and Honorary Chair of Preserve America, today announced and presented the 2007 Preserve America Presidential Awards at a White House Rose Garden ceremony. This is the highest national award for historic preservation achievement.

In the Heritage Tourism category, the two winners are:

  • USS Midway Museum: San Diego, California
  • Natchitoches-Cane River Region Heritage Tourism: Louisiana

In the Private Preservation category, the two winners are:

  • The History Channel, Save Our History: Nationwide and New York City
  • Downtown St. Louis Revitalization: Missouri

Accepting on behalf of the USS Midway Museum were Mac McLaughlin, president and CEO; and Scott McGaugh, marketing director. Accepting on behalf of Natchitoches and the Cane River National Heritage Area were Wayne McCullen, mayor of Natchitoches; and Nancy Morgan, executive director, Cane River National Heritage Area Commission.

Accepting for Save Our History were Abbe Raven, president and CEO, A&E Television Networks; and Nancy Dubuc, executive vice president, The History Channel. Receiving the award for Downtown St. Louis Revitalization were Craig Heller, managing partner, LoftWorks, LLC; and John R. Steffen, president, The Pyramid Companies.

“These honorees exemplify how historic preservation is fundamental to spurring economic development, increasing heritage tourism, and educating children and adults about how important disparate pieces of our heritage are in forming our overall national story and culture. They illustrate the purpose of the Preserve America initiative,” said John L. Nau, III, chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), which administers the award program on behalf of the White House.

The Presidential Awards are one component of Preserve America, a White House initiative that highlights the efforts of President and Mrs. Bush to celebrate and preserve our nation’s cultural heritage assets. This is the fourth year the Preserve America Presidential Awards have been conferred in May, which is National Preservation Month.

The Preserve America Presidential Awards are given annually to organizations, businesses, and government entities for:

  • exemplary accomplishments in the sustainable use and preservation of cultural or natural heritage assets;
  • demonstrated commitment to the protection and interpretation of America’s cultural or natural heritage assets; and
  • integration of these assets into contemporary community life, combining innovative, creative, and responsible approaches to showcasing historic local resources.
The recipients are chosen through a national competition administered by the ACHP in cooperation with the Executive Office of the President, and in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior. For more information, please visit www.preserveamerica.gov. For photographs and information on the 2007 Preserve America Presidential Award winners, visit www.preserveamerica.gov/presidentialaward.html.       

Summaries of 2007 Preserve America Presidential Award Honorees

The USS Midway Museum opened in 2004, after more than a decade of preparatory effort, to preserve the USS Midway and transform it into a naval aviation history museum that emphasizes people and culture as well as technology and events. With a volunteer and docent force exceeding 300 people, it offers educational outreach to more than 25,000 elementary students annually. Already 2.5 million people have visited, and events are hosted aboard more than 200 evenings a year. With annual gross revenues of $14 million, about $3 million is dedicated to preservation and additional restoration each year. The museum lists among key partners the U.S. Navy, Unified Port of San Diego, and the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau. Many other community organizations also are involved. For more information, see www.midway.org.

Natchitoches-Cane River Region Heritage Tourism consists of the Natchitoches Main Street program and Cane River National Heritage Area, which are implementing a comprehensive heritage tourism plan to provide visitors with authentic experiences and residents with a better quality of life. Natchitoches was the first permanent European settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory. The Cane River National Heritage Area preserves the history and living traditions of French, Spanish, African American, American Indian, and Creole cultures. The tourism effort successfully incorporates many diverse elements and initiatives. In the Natchitoches National Historic Landmark District alone there has been more than $47 million in private and $1 million in public investment for historic preservation and infrastructure improvements since 1999, and almost 80 new businesses opened within the district during that period. Local economic development, preservation, and tourism interests partner with state and federal entities in the overall effort. For more information, see www.natchitoches.net and www.caneriverheritage.org.

Save Our History, The History Channel’s national strategic philanthropy initiative, was established in 1998 to support community historic preservation efforts, promote heritage tourism, and enhance history education. Through its grant program, history organizations collaborate with public school students, teachers, and local officials to support local preservation efforts and education. In its first three years, Save Our History received more than 1,500 grant applications from every state and Washington, D.C., and awarded 82 grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Save Our History enhances history education and historic preservation instruction locally and nationwide, providing teachers with resources to encourage and engage students. This includes a Save Our History educator’s manual, teacher awards, student scholarships, and teacher training. The History Channel also generally promotes heritage tourism through its programming and directly through an innovative partnership with the city of New York. For more information, see www.history.com.   

Downtown St. Louis Revitalization involves two private companies taking a risk others were unwilling to take, resulting in the preservation and revitalization of an irreplaceable historic part of downtown St. Louis that had fallen into decay. The principals of LoftWorks, LLC and The Pyramid Companies invested in four structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places that had long been empty, under foreclosure, and/or threatened with demolition in what was considered a failed market. According to St. Louis city planners, local conventional wisdom before these projects’ success was that “the downtown needed to be torn down, so that new business could come in.” Instead, these privately led and funded projects in partnership with city government leadership spurred development interest in historic industrial and commercial buildings in the city’s core, created new urban residential space, renewed civic pride, and assisted in creating tremendous economic vitality in a previously depressed Downtown. For more information, see www.loftworks-stl.com and www.pyramidstl.com.

ABOUT THE ACHP: The ACHP, an independent federal agency, promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of the nation’s historic and cultural resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. It also provides a forum for influencing federal activities, programs, and policies that impact historic properties. See www.achp.gov for more information.

Posted May 9, 2007

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