The National Park Service announced Monday the 2014 Appleman-Judd-Lewis Awards for Excellence in Cultural Resources Stewardship and Management.
Four NPS employees were recognized for their unique accomplishments in cultural resource preservation that included the multi-million-dollar restoration of a historic home, the effective incorporation of former military barracks into a national historic site, the development of important treatment recommendations for historic structures, and the creation of an underwater artifact conservation lab.
The 2014 recipients are: Linda Cook, Superintendent, Weir Farm National Historic Site; Tracy Fortmann, Superintendent, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site; Charles F. Lawson, Chief, Cultural Resources, Biscayne National Park; Randall Skeirik, Historical Architect, Vanishing Treasures Program.
“Since the establishment of the National Park Service almost 100 years ago, one of our most important duties has been the preservation of American cultural heritage through our parks and programs,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “As we approach a second century of stewardship, we are proud to recognize these four employees for their skill, vision, and unwavering commitment to protecting our cultural resources for the future benefit of the American people.”
As Superintendent of Weir Farm National Historic Site, Linda Cook directed a 10-year, multi-million-dollar restoration of the national historic site’s primary cultural resources: Weir House, Weir Studio, and Young Studio in Wilton, Conn. The restoration project culminated in the grand opening of these three significant buildings in May 2014, marking the first time in the park’s history that these buildings have been opened to the public fully restored and historically furnished. Cook also developed a series of creative programs aimed at educating visitors about the restoration process and highlighting the importance of National Park Service cultural resource stewardship. The restoration and outreach programs generated impressive increases in visitation, volunteerism, and donation of funds and original artwork.
Tracy Fortmann, Superintendent at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, has directed the transformation of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site from a sleepy outpost of outdated exhibits into a vibrant educational experience, a boon to local communities, and a national example of progressive cultural resource management. She worked with other federal agencies, community leaders, and tribal groups to address the challenges and opportunities afforded by the transfer of U.S. Army Reserves’ Vancouver Barracks facility to NPS ownership mandated by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. By adaptively reusing historic buildings while safeguarding significant features and cultural landscapes, Fortmann was able to accommodate new and productive uses while leveraging various funding sources to benefit such diverse resources as the historic Hudson Bay Company cemetery, Native American gravesites, the park’s Mission 66 visitor center, and the barracks buildings themselves.
Charles F. Lawson, Chief of Cultural Resources at Biscayne National Park is a trained archeologist who has demonstrated expert skills, passion, and commitment to every aspect of the vibrant cultural resource program he has built at Biscayne National Park. Many of his most notable achievements are related to the park’s maritime resources, including the establishment of a Maritime Heritage Trail, an underwater artifact conservation lab and related public exhibits, and the excavation and stabilization of the shipwreck site of the HMS Fowey, which entailed a unique multinational agreement. Lawson’s efforts to address minority underrepresentation in archeology and his support for research on slave-ship wrecks and Afro-Caribbean religious activity in the park exemplify the NPS commitment to diversifying its work force and providing a more expansive and inclusive portrayal of American society.
As the first and only historical architect for the National Park Service’s Vanishing Treasures Program, Randall Skeirik has played a pivotal role in the preservation and management of historic structures throughout the National Park System and the broader American landscape. In addition to providing technical assistance on a wide variety of preservation concerns, Skeirik has developed treatment recommendations for historic buildings and structures ranging from pre-contact Native American sites to Spanish Colonial missions, Indian War-era forts, historic railroad trestles, mine remnants, and settlement cabins. Skeirik has also guided the development of important programmatic endeavors and facilitated efforts to build capacity and achieve preservation goals through partnerships between the National Park Service and allied organizations.
The Appleman-Judd-Lewis Awards recognize outstanding contributions to cultural resource stewardship and management by permanent full-time employees of the National Park Service. Offered annually, the awards were created to encourage creativity in cultural resource stewardship and management practices and projects, particularly those that may serve as examples or models for programs throughout the NPS. Established in 1970, the awards are named for three distinguished former NPS employees: historian Roy E. Appleman, historical architect Henry A. Judd, and curator Ralph H. Lewis.
National Park Service Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell presented the awards to the four recipients in a February 23 ceremony at the NPS offices in Washington, D.C.