Corporate Sponsorship of Monuments: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

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.

9 thoughts on “Corporate Sponsorship of Monuments: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

  1. M.D. Blough April 29, 2013 / 3:47 pm

    It’s already begun to some extent except that the corporations involved haven’t gotten into naming rights. Columbia Gas sponsors the Peace Light and supplies the gas that fuels the Eternal Flame atop it. The light had been extinguished for a while due to budget cuts and then replaced by an electric light It went back to gas for the 125th Anniversary but it was the Columbia Gas sponsorship that enabled it to come back for good. CDI donated its services (and, IIRR, got the salvage rights to the debris) to demolish the National Tower.

    • Brooks D. Simpson April 29, 2013 / 3:57 pm

      The assistance of such corporations could be recognized at the VC, for other donors and sponsors are recognized there.

      • M.D. Blough April 29, 2013 / 4:33 pm

        I’m not sure, but there may be a reference to it in the museum in the section on the history of the park.

  2. wgdavis April 29, 2013 / 6:12 pm

    The Virginia Monument at Gettysburg, now shown with Lee holding a bottle of Coca Cola in his hand, and one of the “tradesmen [read: prolies] on the front of the monument wielding a Husqvarna Chain Saw!

    You’ll have decades of fodder from the South for your blog. 😎

  3. wgdavis April 29, 2013 / 6:18 pm

    Somehow, Schimmelfennig’s BBQ leaves an aftertaste that is, well…how should we so delicately put it…sadly reminiscent of a live pig in the sty.

  4. Phil LeDuc April 29, 2013 / 6:51 pm

    I can see it now…
    The Arrow Shirts Winfield Scott Hancock Statue.
    The Gold’s Gym Strong Vincent Monument
    and on and on…
    I have a number of DVD’s of NHL (actually they’re all Montreal) games from the 70’s – when Les Canadiens ruled supreme and Don Cherry was just coaching the Bruins – and it’s always striking to see white boards…advertisement-free white boards.

  5. Tony April 29, 2013 / 8:41 pm

    The Burger King Sherman monument in Vicksburg: Flame Broiled, Every Time!

  6. John Foskett April 30, 2013 / 8:10 am

    Regarding that photo with the pink outfit – you should have added one showing Ron Maclean turning a sickly white as he listened to last Saturday’s rant on HNIC. What happens when your crazy uncle finally goes way off the premises. 🙂

  7. Charles Lovejoy April 30, 2013 / 1:09 pm

    Does the building of a large Wal-Mart and its parking lot on Lovejoy’s station battlefield qualify as corporate sponsorship? 🙂

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