JANUARY 2013 PRESS RELEASE:
Lowell Heritage Partnership and Lowell National Historical Park to Collaborate on New Public Programs about the Lowell Story
$35,000 Parker Foundation Grant Awarded to Lowell Heritage Partnership to Fund Mogan Center: Next Generation Project
January 22, 2013
Lowell, Mass.---The Lowell Heritage Partnership (LHP) is pleased to announce a new initiative in collaboration with Lowell National Historical Park (LNHP) to plan and develop the next generation of community cultural programming for the Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center and throughout the national park. In 2012, the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation awarded the LHP a grant of $35,000 to create new programs based on the themes of industrialization, immigration, and revitalization—areas in which Lowell has a national and global profile. Coinciding with Lowell National Historical Park's 35th anniversary in 2013, the project will involve community focus groups, planning and training workshops for Park staff and local leaders, and pilot programs that may be expanded to regular offerings.
“This is an important opportunity for the community and National Park Service staff to work together to re-energize the Mogan Center,” says Janet Leggat, president of the LHP. “With Dr. Mogan’s recent passing, this initiative is even more significant as we do our best to fulfill the original vision for a special kind of national park that tells the story of Lowell and its people, which inspires people far and wide.”
“The themes that make this national park have never been more relevant than they are in today’s globalized and technology-driven society,” says LNHP superintendent Celeste Bernardo. “Lowell National Historical Park's programs and public activities must be presented in ways that reach our visitors and community at the deepest level.”
The Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center serves as a memory bank and expressive hub for the story of Lowell’s people within Lowell National Historical Park. In addition to hosting museum exhibits about the social life of the “mill girls” and generations of immigrant workers, the Mogan Center was envisioned as an active community center where the people of Lowell, in particular, would have opportunities to tell their own stories. Through the years, the Mogan Center has hosted many successful community activities and exhibitions. This project represents an important step in taking the Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center to the next level as a community resource.
The ambitious multi-year project consists of several components. Over the coming months, the LHP and LNHP will convene several community forums to discuss the current desires, needs and opportunities for activities that will help present and document the multitude of stories carried by Lowell’s people. The grant will also provide for specialized training sessions for Park staff, local activists, and youth leaders in fostering dialogues on complex social and cultural issues. The LHP will also work with a variety of community partners to form a cross-cultural and cross-generational working group who will be trained along with other community leaders to facilitate constructive conversations and produce oral histories in the city.
In addition to the Parker Foundation, contributors to the project include LNHP, the LHP, and UMass Lowell, all of which will be involved in the advisory committee steering the project.
The Lowell Heritage Partnership was founded in 2000 as a coalition dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of Lowell’s natural, built, and cultural heritage through community partnerships. The LHP is a forum for discussion, an advocate for quality of life issues, a vehicle for collaboration, and a source of both financial support and technical expertise. The LHP serves as the informal “friends of the park” group for Lowell National Historical Park. The LHP board of directors includes representatives from a diverse group of over a dozen Lowell-based organizations and institutions.