The panoply of America’s westward expansion will be discussed in a day-long seminar on Thursday, Aug. 25 at the Harms Center at WNCC.
The seminar, “recognizing and Preserving Westward Expansion,” runs from 7:30 a.m. – 7:15 p.m. with lunch and dinner breaks.
Monument Superintendent Ken Mabery said they wanted to bring in the experts and their fields and let them share their knowledge. Locals will get a different viewpoint, and hopefully be able to share that knowledge with others.
“For the Park Service, this is another way of generating interest in one of our missions – historic preservation,” Mabery said. “It also helps for local people to know about this as well.”
The morning’s keynote speaker is William Henry Jackson biographer Bob Blair, who will speak on “From Covered Wagons to Airplanes: One Man’s View of the Changing Frontier.”
Also in the morning session, Travis Boley, director of the Oregon-California Trails Association will talk about the trails and western migration. Then, Dr. Richard Sellars will speak on cultural and natural resources and the parks.
After lunch, Amy Cole of the National Trust for Historic Preservation talks about her organization’s role in historic preservation. Bill Gwaltney, guest curator at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institute, will cover the topic “To the Far Mountains: Minority Americans and their Historic Trek Westward.”
Dr. Alexandra Lord, branch chief of the National Park Service’s National Historic Landmarks Program, will discuss using programs from the National Register and National Historic Landmarks.
Then, Steve Elkinton of the National Park Service will talk about making connections between communities and parks.
The evening wraps up with dinner and keynote speaker John Luzander, a national known living history trainer. His talk will be on “Making History Come Alive: Living History Programs.”
Mabery said they’re expecting about 50 people to attend the seminar. So far, about half of registrants are from outside the area.
We’re using the seminar to springboard into what we as citizens can do to advance the cause of historic preservation in our own communities,” Mabery said. “We really need to thank the sponsors. Without them, we never could have scheduled this.”
He added that attendees will come away with a better understanding of our local history and the tools to share those stories. As he called it: Preserve, Perpetuate and Present.
Major sponsors for the seminar include the National Park Service and Western Nebraska Community College. Advanced registration is required by going to the community page on www.geringcitizen.com