Jun 15



The Gettysburg Foundation is raising prices at the new Visitor Center Museum. The Adult price for the film/museum/Cyclorama will go from $7.50 to 10.50 (a 40% increase). Senior Citizens/Military prices go from $6.50 to $9.50 (a 46% increase). Youth goes from $5.50 to $6.50 (an 18% increase). This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.

The Gettysburg Foundation is raising prices for the tickets for the Visitor Center Museum and Movie/ Cyclorama. They did not put any press releases about this price increase. As they explained in a staff meeting this week, they were concerned about “negative comments.”

How far will the Gettysburg Foundation go, or any nonprofit group associated with historic sites go in an effort to raise money? Are most methods now justifiable as long as the long term goals (land preservation for instance) are met? Does the end justify the means?



The ticket prices go into effect today. This conscious decision not to tell visitors about increased prices is part of what appears to be a pattern to “push the envelope” and do whatever it takes to make money. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



To give us an idea of how the Foundation keeps information from visitors look at this sign detailing fees. Months ago, they determined to have a separate fee for the Museum of $5.00. But they didn’t want to publicize that either. You have to ask them about this. And oh yeah, they have now raised the secretive “museum only fee” to $6.00. This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



An untruth told by the Gettysburg Foundation is in a recent memo attempting to justify the fee increase: “in the old park visitor facilities, the NPS was not permitted to do surveys, and we are now learning new things about park visitors.” This is simply untrue. Almost every summer, over the last couple of years, someone was at the National Park Service Visitor Center conducting a survey of some type. Most of our readers were probably approached by someone conducting those surveys. Some of the current Foundation employees were involved in conducting the surveys (although they did not conduct them for the Foundation). Why did the Foundation even bother to write that? This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



Why not just admit that the economy is not doing well, and you’re not making money? This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



Or, why not admit that instead of lowering prices to have more visitors (and money) your raising of prices has driven visitors away, and you haven’t made the money that you need? This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



What won’t the Foundation (or the companies to whom they rent space in the visitor center) do to make money? This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



They’ve had this green screen set up for the last year so that you can take funny pictures with historic characters and scenes. This view was taken facing east at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



Such as these. This view was taken facing east at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



Stores such as those operated by cooperating associations such as Eastern National used to sell educational items. But now the store in the Visitor Center (concessionaire) sells pretty much whatever will make money. They were out of the Lincoln Heads on Sticks when we took pictures Friday. However, they sell plastic guns…This view was taken facing west at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



…microwavable aroma bread… This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



…shot glasses and teddy bears… This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



…jawlipops… This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



…the souvenir penny press… This view was taken facing south at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



…and outside the restaurant… This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



…super pretzels… This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



…slush puppies… This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



…and dippin’ dots… This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



Imagine yourself walking to the entrance of the Visitor Center with a young person that you were preparing to visit this location. You were introducing the young person to the struggles and sacrifices that occurred on this ground to make this country the way it currently is. As you approach the large wayside with brochures and information about Gettysburg National Military Park… This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 12:00 PM on Saturday, June 13, 2009.



…you see the Dippin’ Dot cooler and umbrella situated near the front entrance as it has been for the last month (although it wasn’t when we took these pictures, it was out back on the porch). Is it possible that your message about struggle and sacrifice will be lost on that young person? This view was taken facing east at approximately 12:00 PM on Saturday, June 13, 2009.



Is anyone else uncomfortable with the money-making situation, or does the bad economy justify selling almost anything in an area set aside to remember the struggle of men who fought here 146 years ago? Approximately 51,000 of those men were casualties. This view was taken facing west at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.



Have we now convinced ourselves that we can sell almost anything that will keep the wheels of the Gettysburg Foundation rolling because it’s good for the National Park Service? This next point is a gross exaggeration, but if a Wal Mart opened here, but promised all of its profits would go to preserving land at Gettysburg, is that justifiable? To some it would be. We’re not happy with this slow journey towards commercialization of the battlefield, but how far down the path do we go until someone says stop? This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 1:15 PM on Friday, June 12, 2009.


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