Robert Kinsley, chairman of the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation, agreed to answer some questions posed through e-mail about the new museum and visitor center opening April 14.
Kinsley is the founder, chairman and CEO of Kinsley Construction in York County. The company supervised the construction of the new center.
Here is what he had to say:
Why was this project so important to you personally?
I have always been a student of American History -- particularly the Civil War era. This gave me an opportunity to be part of the preservation of our history.
To be involved in building the museum that tells the story of the causes and consequences of America's greatest struggle in an appropriate setting that does not infringe on the battlefield. This has been a very satisfying experience.
What do you think is the most significant aspect of the project?
One of the most significant aspects of this endeavor has been the fine team work displayed by so many who have been involved, right from the inception, in forming our public/private partnership with the National Park Service, in planning, raising the funds to construct, and now embarking on operating this facility for all Americans and our friends from abroad to enjoy and learn more about the freedoms that were solidified here on this sacred battlefield.
What was the biggest challenge in seeing this
project to fruition?
The size and the complexity of this endeavor, the planning and the attention to detail in bringing the whole mission together.
Of course these challenges were easy and enjoyable because of the competency of the park staff, my foundation partners and the consultants who stepped up to the plate with the answers and solutions in an expeditious manner.
Has the project turned out the way you envisioned? Would you make any changes?
This project turned out to be more than I envisioned.
Now that the museum and visitor center is nearly completed, I think it will become a model that can be emulated in many other parks that may have similar needs to those here in Gettysburg.
What difference will be apparent to visitors in comparing the current center to the new one?
For one, the existing museum was outdated and was merely a display of artifacts where now the new museum tells the story of America's greatest struggle and pays tribute to all those soldiers who gave their lives so gallantly to preserve the freedoms we Americans enjoy today.
How did this project compare to some of the other work you've done?
This was not like most of our projects where as a project manager we and our associates become totally engrossed in carrying out the mission of the facilities we are constructing.
With a project such as this everyone involved is proud to be a part of the preservation of their heritage and the fruits of their efforts will be realized with our opening on April 14.