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The Gables' partnership with Essex National Heritage Commission

Below is the press release sent out by the Essex National Heritage Commission:

Essex National Heritage Commission Selected as a 2012 National Park Foundation America’s Best Idea Grant Recipient

Essex Heritage and the House of Seven Gables Join with Parks Across the Country to Participate In Foundation’s 2012 Program

June 25, 2012 (Salem, MA) – The Essex National Heritage Area has been selected, along with 48 national parks participating in the 2012 America’s Best Idea program sponsored by the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. Essex Heritage, in partnership with The House of Seven Gables in Salem, MA received a grant which will fund a new project titled “Making the Caribbean Connection” The goal of the project is to engage underserved Latino youth in discovering and telling the untold stories of Salem and the Caribbean.
Inspired by the critically-acclaimed Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, the America’s Best Idea grant program funds park projects designed to connect diverse, under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their national parks in innovative and meaningful ways.
The purpose of the grant is to build stronger connections by engaging local youth in uncovering the untold stories – past and present – between their homeland islands in the Caribbean and the historic sites in Salem which have interacted with the islands for centuries. The program will directly engage 11-15 middle school students in a summer program based at The Gables with visits to the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Peabody Essex Museum and the Salem Public Library. A second program will be held next fall, after school at the Collins Middle School in Salem, MA. Students explore historical themes as well as personal themes of being Latino, cross-cultural relationships and the feeling of belonging in a new country.
“We are proud to provide the much needed support to create unique opportunities for all Americans to personally connect with their national parks,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “The America’s Best Idea grants are often the catalyst for extraordinary experiences that develop into lifelong relationships with our national parks for the program participants.”“Essex Heritage is very pleased to work with The House of Seven Gables and Salem Maritime to identify stories and themes that most engage and connect the Latino youth with Salem,” said Annie C. Harris, Executive Director, Essex National Heritage Commission. “The program will help us to better connect the Salem Latino community to our National Park and to the National Heritage Area.”
“Through this new partnership, we will work to expand our historic interpretation to strengthen our ties to Salem Maritime and Essex Heritage,” said Anita Blackaby, Executive Director, The House of Seven Gables. “The mission of The Gables has focused on aiding the local underserved population of Salem consisting largely of immigrant families. We currently partner with many community-based organizations to support and engage our Latino youth.”
For a full listing of participating sites, parks and program descriptions, please visit the National Park Foundation website.
The National Park Foundation and Essex Heritage wish to thank L.L. Bean, DISNEY, the Anschutz Foundation, and the Ahmanson Foundation for their generous support of the America’s Best Idea program.
For more information on the National Park Foundation or how you can support and protect America’s national parks, please visit
About the Essex National Heritage Area and the Commission
About the National Park Foundation. You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites — all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow. Join us in supporting your national parks — this is your land.

The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) is the non-profit management entity for Essex National Heritage Area, one of forty-nine heritage partnership parks of the National Park Service. Working in collaboration with the National Park Service, Essex Heritage promotes public/private partnerships and develops and implements programs that enhance, preserve and encourage regional awareness of the unique historic, cultural and natural resources found within the Area. For more information, visit the website at or call (978) 740-0444.
The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association, a nonprofit organization founded in 1910, is the catalyst that creates valued educational opportunities for our communities by interpreting, strengthening and preserving our unique historic legacies and site, with emphasis on under-served immigrant youth and their families. The historic site features three 17th century buildings, including the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, also known as “The House of the Seven Gables,” the birthplace of American literary legend Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Colonial Revival Gardens. Proceeds from admi
ssion fees and retail sales directly support programs which serve Salem’s immigrant community. For more information please call 978-744-0991 or visit our website at

Date: June 26, 2012

Author: sperling

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