What is The Center for Advancing America’s Heritage?
It is an educational center focused on the Revolutionary War and the early history of the United States. The Center includes SAR’s own collection of historic artifacts, exhibits and genealogical library. The Center will also include important traveling exhibits and programming specific to approved history and civics curricula It also includes large, open learning areas for education seminars and private meetings or events; spacious permanent and traveling exhibit gallery areas and offices of the National Headquarters of the Sons of the American Revolution.
What is the SAR?
The Sons of the American Revolution is an historical, educational and patriotic organization formed in 1889 to preserve the stories of our patriot ancestors’ struggle against tyranny and the principles upon which our country was founded. SAR has over 28,000 members today, all of whom trace their ancestry to the Revolutionary War era. The SAR’s national headquarters are in Louisville, KY.
Why is The Center important for SAR?
The SAR’s recent goal has been to help fill the ever-increasing gap in history and civics education within our school systems. The Center will provide a much needed extension to our country’s social, civic and history education. The Center will provide expanded space for exhibits, speakers, workshops, summer camps and school programs, plus improved conditions for the genealogical library and more efficient space for administrative offices to accommodate the growth in membership and demand for its services.
Why is The Center important for Louisville?
West Main Street is the second oldest collection of iron front facades left in this country. Those facades are home to some of the most internationally acclaimed historic museums and centers. The new Center will add another jewel to Louisville’s tourism crown and strengthen the economic development of the downtown cultural district. Additionally, the new Center will offer expanded educational programs on-site and in schools serving approximately 100,000 students in the Jefferson County Public School System.
Who will use The Center?
Scholars, historians, authors, teachers, students, families and individuals who are interested in researching and learning more about our country’s beginnings and the principles upon which it was founded. It will be open to SAR members and non-members.
How many are projected to make use of the facility annually?
Based upon traffic generated along Louisville’s historic West Main Street and the activity generated at the additional attractions located along that corridor, it is projected that The Center could attract as many as 100,000 visitors in its first full year.
Are there fees to use The Center? If so, what are they?
It is the goal of SAR to make The Center as accessible and affordable for the public as possible. A general admission fee has not been determined. There may be an additional fee for traveling exhibits and special programming. The genealogical library is a critical component of The Center and will occupy a significant portion of the building’s west wing. Its services will be expanded to include additional reading and research space, temperature controlled conditions, accessible stacks and secure areas for research. The genealogical library is free to SAR members and some affinity organizations with a nominal research fee for others.
What other services will The Center offer?
Through naturalization ceremonies and voter registration campaigns, The Center will promote a greater understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship. The Center also will include a gift shop, café, rooftop garden and terrace and an atrium that will be available for rental for community events and activities.
Where will it be located and what will it look like?
The Center is located on Louisville’s historic West Main Street where it sits among a number of other historic buildings being used as museums and centers as well. The Center is actually two buildings melded together to make one. Its exterior is being restored to complement the other iron front facades along the street. A color palate of brick red, forest green and a natural stone color date it to its original 1840’s construction. Inside, will be an open gallery atrium and inviting reception area. SAR National Headquarters will be located on the second floor. The Genealogical Library will be a significant part of the west wing of the building. A rooftop garden will overlook the majestic Ohio River.
Are there other Centers like The Center for Advancing America’s Heritage nearby or elsewhere in the Country?
While there are other history museums and interpretive centers throughout the country, there are very few that focus on the founding principles history of our country in order to help fill the void in history and civics education that exists in our schools today. There are no other museums like The Center for Advancing America’s Heritage near Louisville, KY. The new location for The Center is easily accessible by three major interstates, 71,65 and 64, and sits within a day’s drive of more than half the population of the United States.
What are the principal means of operating support and how will The Center be staffed?
Along with income derived from The Center’s activities including a café, gift shop, rental fees and fees for special programs, an endowment fund will be established and ongoing fundraising will be conducted. A thorough search for an executive director will be conducted to manage The Center and hire staff.
What will The Center cost to build?
Current projections to renovate and furnish the 40,000 square foot historic site are $8 million. This includes a lower level, first floor and second floor rooftop, as well as an attractive front entrance and back parking area and entrance way.
Who will be asked to contribute to the Capital Campaign to build The Center?
SAR members, private foundations, corporations, businesses, local, state and federal grants, community leadership and the public-at-large will all be invited to participate in Advance: Campaign for New Generations.
Who will plan the programs and exhibits?
SAR already manages an outreach education program under the direction of an education director. This position and function will become part of The Center management staff and will continue to oversee the education component.
How will The Center compliment the educational system?
Since the 1960’s the American education system has consistently reduced the amount of time spent on social studies and history in the classroom. This trend affects our ability to teach our children the stories of our past to better understand the issues of today. SAR proposes to fill this educational void by providing educational programs to school children at The Center, in local and surrounding school systems, in traveling exhibits and in outreach education programs distributed to SAR Chapters across the country.
Will The Center be available for public meetings and events?
Absolutely. The Center’s design calls for a number of open and flexible spaces perfectly suited for special events and meetings, including a rooftop garden and terrace and a catering kitchen. A fee structure for renting available spaces will be determined.
When will The Center be open to the public? What will the hours of operation be?
The Center’s construction schedule is dependent on available and pledged funds. The projected schedule has the building ready for occupation as early as the first of 2011. The hours of operation are still to be determined, but will certainly be compatible with other activity and traffic along the West Main Street corridor.