Alcatraz announced today that it is participating in Partners in Preservation (PIP), a community-based partnership of American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to raise awareness of the importance of preserving historic places, which is embarking on its first national campaign in the program’s 10-year history. In honor of the National Park Service’s Centennial, the 2016 Partners in Preservation: National Parks campaign will award $2 million in grants to historic sites in need of preservation within national parks units, as decided by popular vote.
As one of 20 historic places selected, Alcatraz Island—the site of pre-Civil War fortifications, the nation’s first military prison, and the site of the occupation that helped ignite the movement for American Indian self-determination—hopes to be one of the winners of the campaign. More than 1.5 million annual visitors pass through the 1857 Alcatraz Guardhouse, a place that is also significant as the first permanent U.S. defensive facility in San Francisco Bay. Winning a$250,000 grant will help restore historical rifle slit window openings and install replica doors to revitalize the structure to its 1920s appearance. The project will also provide additional interpretive opportunities of the island’s military history.
“Before Alcatraz was a famous prison, it was a military fortress with guns, a moat, a drawbridge, and a sally port—just like a castle,” said Greg Moore, President & CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. “The Rock’s military past adds layers of mystery to this place. Alcatraz was a fort in 1857, became a federal prison in 1934 and closed in 1963, and finally was opened to the public as part of a national park in 1973. Receiving this grant will allow us to restore beauty to a place that continues to capture the imagination of visitors.”
The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite parks today through July 5 on VoteYourPark.org, the online portal hosted byNational Geographic, this year’s media partner, to determine which sites will receive preservation grants. The public is also invited to share their experiences on social media and celebrate these sites using #VoteYourPark.
“The support of private organizations has been essential to our efforts to care for the places that convey our nation’s history and culture since the creation of the National Park System 100 years ago,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The 2016 Partners in Preservation campaign is a strong symbol of our partners’ continued dedication to ensure that these special places are preserved and protected for future generations of Americans.”
“As a premier partner of the National Park Foundation’s Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque campaign and the 2016 National Park Centennial, we are engaging the community in serving, preserving and celebrating U.S. National Parks throughout this year,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “Historic preservation is a hallmark of American Express’ involvement in strengthening communities, and we are proud to help lead the effort to preserve these cultural sites and monuments that contribute to our national and regional identity.”
The Partners in Preservation: National Parks campaign gives enthusiasts the opportunity to show their support for their favorite historic sites through a popular vote. At the outset of the campaign, friends groups for each of the 20 participating sites within national parks will receive a grant of $10,000, which will be used to increase public awareness about the historic structures nominated. The national parks’ sites with the most votes at the end of the voting period will be awarded grants for historic restoration projects. By voting daily at VoteYourPark.org, supporters can also enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Yellowstone National Park sponsored by National Geographic.
“Since the inception of our national parks system a century ago, the parks’ cultural resources have been central to the visitor experience and telling the full story of our nation’s diverse history,” says Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO, The National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Today, two-thirds of our more than 400 national parks are dedicated to cultural and historic significance. As such, we are delighted to embark on Partners in Preservation: National Parks, which builds on the program’s decade-long experience in galvanizing public support for preserving historic structures for future generations.”
New to the program for 2016 is a collaboration with National Geographic, a partner with strong ties to U.S. National Parks as well as historic preservation. As the media partner, National Geographic is launching a consumer engagement campaign across its digital and social platforms promoting Partners in Preservation: National Parks and inviting people to vote.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Partners in Preservation: National Parks and celebrate our shared commitment to preserve some of the world’s most meaningful and culturally significant sites,” said Susan Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic. “We love to give our readers an opportunity to engage with their passion for parks and Partners in Preservation: National Parks is an ideal way to activate our very engaged community and empower them to participate.”
About Partners in Preservation
Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards preservation grants to historic places across the country. Since 2006,Partners in Preservation, a community-based partnership, has committed $16 million in preservation funding to nearly 200 diverse sites in eight different cities across the country.
Through this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America’s historic and cultural places. The program also hopes to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities.
About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization that supports the Golden Gate National Parks—the most-visited unit in the national park system in the U.S. Since 1981, the Parks Conservancy has provided over $300 million in aid for site transformations, habitat restorations, research and conservation, volunteer and youth engagement, and interpretive and educational programs. The Conservancy’s work is made possible through the dedication of its members and donors; contributions from foundations, businesses, public agencies, and generous individuals, as well as earned income from the operation of park stores, cafes, and tours. Learn more at parksconservancy.org or call (415) 561-3000.