Funding needs in support of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center
In 2020, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) developed an ambitious strategic plan with a focused vision for future modernization and growth at the Center that leverages both the Collection and USAHEC’s human expertise. To accomplish the vision set forth by the strategic plan, the Center will require additional resources. These will be generated through a combination of elements that further forge the private public partnership which serves as the foundation for the Center.
While federal funding keeps USAHEC’s buildings open and accessible to the public, maintains the rich Collection, and pays for most of the Center’s workforce, the Center’s needs exceed this baseline of support. Private philanthropy bridges the gap between the federal resources the Center receives and what is needed to modernize, open truly 21st century exhibitions, expand educational outreach to school- aged children, and build new facilities.
This margin of excellence support provided through the Army Heritage Center Foundation brings resources (intellect, time, money, and manpower) to much needed priorities that federal funding will never achieve. Several identified priority enhancements that will significantly further the mission of the Center are:
Augmenting the Digitization Program
Less than 10 percent of the 50 million items in the Collection are on display. The Center’s Digitization Program intends to bring the remaining 90 percent online. Digital content engages and inspires scholars and researchers of all ages, fueling their learning with new insights and discoveries.
As USAHEC moves forward, the staff will highlight collections that need of private funds and might appeal to donors. An example of such a collection might be the “Wild Bill” Donovan Collection that consists of more than 275 linear feet of materials. However, if desired, donors may provide unrestricted support to the digitization program by designating funds to support unfunded needs.
Adding Expertise in Emerging Areas
USAHEC embraces the use of fellowships, interns, and volunteer opportunities to cultivate the future workforce. There are mutually beneficial positions AHCF might support, either episodically or on a sustained basis.
Post-Doctoral Fellow: The Center seeks a rotational Post-Doctoral Fellow position funded to provide short-term military history expertise that does not sufficiently reside within the permanent staff. The fellow will conduct scholarly research and enhance the delivery of targeted subject matter knowledge to Army leadership through reports and personal interaction. Estimated cost for a one-year appointment is $65,000 to $75,000 per year. The desired appointment is for a minimum of two years.
Conservator/Conservator Intern: USAHEC also seeks entry-level conservators and/or paid interns to provide short-term conservation expertise that does not sufficiently reside within the permanent staff of the Center. The highest need at this time is for a conservator that would preserve rare and unique books within the Rare Book collection. Such expertise would allow patrons to gain enhanced access to those materials. Estimate cost is $50,000 per year.
Building Physical Infrastructure
Hall of the American Soldier
Expanding the Hall of the American Soldier to create additional gallery space to showcase the collection, foster a greater number of educational programs, and provide space to engage audiences in critical conversations, all of which are needed. Use of the space in the existing facility demonstrates a need for flexible program and meeting space. In 2021, the Foundation refined construction plans for the expanded facility to meet these updated needs. The Hall of the American Soldier’s design is complete and is now shovel ready. Estimated cost is $18.5 million.
Outdoor Event Plaza: The southern side of the Hall of the American Soldier enjoys ample space to be transformed into an outdoor event area with enhanced hardscaping and landscaping. The addition of durable, contemporary furnishings will encourage visitors to take the lessons of the day to an inviting outdoor environment. This space can be used for formal gatherings (school programs, promotion ceremonies) or as an informal gathering space (socials, family outings). (Estimated cost of Outdoor event plaza is $150,000.)
Funding needs in support of Joint Public-Private Programs
USAHEC’s and the Foundation’s programs help reconnect the American public through educational offerings that annually engage thousands with the U.S. Army and its Soldiers. Opportunities that leverage the professional skills of USAHEC with those most readily available in the public sphere that the Foundation can more easily coordinate are needed and provide significant opportunities for joint public-private programs.
Enhancing School Age Programs
Gaining access to the expertise of our civilian educators who can assist in the development of teacher support packages or who could facilitate educational programs focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics are critical needs. Recent studies have indicated that our school age students poorly understand the history of our nation and lack an understanding of math and science. Developing programs that create history focused educational packages or that could orchestrate youth-oriented programs that use historical examples to emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics would help satisfy these needs. (Estimated annual cost of $50,000)
Building Teacher Expertise
The Army Heritage Center Foundation, with the support of USAHEC and the U.S. Army War College, desires to host up to 25 teachers from across the United States for an academic symposium that allows the teachers to learn, network, and grow together as they work closely with renowned scholars in various aspects of American military history. The one-week symposium would consist of different courses that run concurrently during the Symposium and would be led by prominent scholars. Participants would choose courses to attend during the morning session and would do individual and collective research in the archives during the afternoon within USAHEC’s Soldier-focused manuscript, photograph, and artifact collections. In addition to providing an improved understanding of the U.S. Army, a teacher symposium at USAHEC would allow the teachers to build a collection of Soldiers’ stories that could improve outreach to the diverse U.S. school population, demonstrate the Army’s inclusiveness, and illustrate Army service as a potential career path to the attendees. Teachers would fund transportation costs to Carlisle. The program would support lodging, meals, regional trips, and cost of scholars. (Estimated annual cost of $50,000)
Funding needs in support of Foundation Programs
The Army Heritage Center Foundation seeks to develop programs that are both locally based but also provided through internet resources.
The Army Heritage Center Foundation seeks to continue to host quarterly local and internet-based teacher workshops. Each workshop would focus on a single topic that supports a major commemoration of military history specific events – D-Day, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, WWII – and topics such as the evolution of military technology or the Army and Holocaust survivors. Regional and inhouse experts would host and present the workshops. (Estimated annual cost of $20,000)
ROTC Staff Ride Program
All graduating ROTC cadets are required participate in a staff ride of a battlefield as an element of their leader development program. A well-executed staff ride uses a battlefield as an open-air classroom to illustrate in real time and space the principles of Army doctrine. Unfortunately, detachments often struggle to find ways to cover its cost and, in many cases, ROTC detachments lack cadre who possess sufficient historical expertise to lead an effective staff ride.
Since 2018, the Foundation has partnered with ROTC programs in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region to help detachments satisfy this requirement. The Foundation contracts with specially trained Licensed Battlefield Guides–most of them retired field grade officers or Army school faculty–to work directly with cadre to prepare and then accompany cadets in the field for a full-day staff ride at Gettysburg National Military Park. The Foundation also hosts the cadets at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) to highlight the assets they may draw upon once commissioned and in their units. Lodging in World War II era replica barracks at USAHEC is also made available to each group to offset expenses. The Foundation has hosted up to 30 schools each year. Each school’s program costs approximately $1,000 – $1,250. Support for the annual program is $35,000.
Web-based Military History Lecture Program
The Army Heritage Center Foundation supports a web-based lecture program twice each month that complements those of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. The speakers include historians from academic institutions from across the country or independent scholars and focus on the personal experiences of Soldiers, tactical operations, and unit history.
The webinars are recorded and then edited and posted on the Foundation’s YouTube channel for viewing. Each webinar costs approximately $250. Support for the annual program is $6,000.