Why didn’t I think of this before?
Given the insufficient public funding devoted to many or our nation’s Civil War battlefields, the NPS has often turned to the private sector for assistance. Perhaps the most significant result of a private/public partnership (at least to the inexperienced eye) is the new visitors center at Gettysburg, but other private entities have stepped up in support of battlefield preservation, and they are key players in that process.
Still, the need for money continues. Here (on the eye of the opening of the Stanley Cup playoffs), I’m reminded of how on television every piece of a sporting event is sponsored by one company or another. So-and-so brings you this power play; such-and-such presents the opening faceoff; a really bad men’s store presents Don Cherry. The boards and the ice are plastered with adds, and technology even projects virtual ads on the television screen at each end (to say nothing of the rotating illuminated ads on the boards).
If it’s all about revenue, then I think historic sites need to go a step further in soliciting money by seeking sponsors for monuments. Yes, I know that Gettysburg National Military Park has an adopt-a-position program designed to assist in maintenance, and I would not want to take away from that. But what if we sought to attract even more money by looking for corporate sponsorship of various monuments and other areas of interest? How would we best marry the reputation of various brands with locations, structures, units, states,and individuals …tastefully and unobtrusively, of course. Maybe your smart phone could notify you that the statue you are viewing is brought to you by this-or-that, incorporated. That would address fears of seeing golden arches over the Trostle Farm (or maybe an Ikea sign, given recent revelations about what might be in those Swedish meatballs) or a flashing red neon sign at the Chancellor Tavern site declaring, “Welcome to Joe Hooker’s Headquarters.” We have an O’Rorke’s Eatery & Spirits at Gettysburg: why not add a Schimmelfennig’s BBQ?
(Note: yes, I know that in reality Tuff Shed should sponsor Schimmelfenning’s hideout, but I think more people still like the pigsty story.)
With that inspiration, I turn the comments section over to you, all the while thinking that the best marriage of sports and history may be in having Grant’s Farm sponsor the first sip from the Stanley Cup.