The his­to­ry­mak­ing ca­reer of A. Wil­son Greene

The Progress-Index Weekend - - OPINION -

Wil­son Greene ac­com­plished some­thing not many his­to­ri­ans can say: he started a mu­seum and a his­tor­i­cal park.

In 1992 Greene, in his ca­pac­ity as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Bat­tle­field Preser­va­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, now known as the Civil War Trust, con­tacted Dr. Robert Pam­plin with a bold pro­posal. The trust had been made aware that a 100-acre tract of land, the site of the Break­through Bat­tle of the Amer­i­can Civil War, was for sale. The prop­erty had once been owned by Pam­plin’s an­ces­tors, the Bois­seus.

Pam­plin came back with his own pro­posal: the Pam­plins wanted to buy the land them­selves and es­tab­lish a park on it. And they wanted Greene to lead the ef­fort.

Be­tween early 1993 and June of 1994, Greene over­saw the plan­ning of the park while main­tain­ing his po­si­tion with the trust. The first it­er­a­tion of the Pam­plin His­tor­i­cal Park opened in June 1994.

Later that year, the Pam­plins an­nounced that they wanted to build a world-class Civil War mu­seum on the prop­erty. Pam­plin had an­other pro­posal for Greene: He asked him to as­sume the role as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the ex­pand­ing park and fu­ture mu­seum. Greene ac­cepted.

To­day, Pam­plin His­tor­i­cal Park en­com­passes 424 acres and boasts four mu­se­ums and three his­toric homes. The park has been rec­og­nized across the na­tion for its ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams and its in­ter­ac­tive camps for youths and adults.

Greene says it was a team ef­fort to cre­ate the park and of course none of it could have been done with­out the gen­eros­ity of Pam­plin and his foun­da­tion, which con­trib­uted $43 mil­lion to build and to sup­port the park.

Greene, who re­cently stepped down as the head of Pam­plin Park, is grate­ful for his ten­ure there. “To be able to, es­sen­tially, plan a big park from scratch was an in­cred­i­bly spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence for me,” he says.

Greene’s re­mark­able ca­reer as a pub­lic his­to­rian spans over 44 years. He’s au­thored a mul­ti­tude of pub­lished works on the sub­ject of the Amer­i­can Civil War, in­clud­ing six books and has lec­tured across the coun­try. Greene be­gan his ca­reer with the Na­tional Park Ser­vice at Peters­burg Na­tional Bat­tle­field where he re­mained for 16 years.

He re­cently com­pleted the first of three vol­umes of books cov­er­ing the Peters­burg Cam­paign. The ini­tial in­stall­ment will pub­lished in 2018 and he will be­gin work on the sec­ond vol­ume this year.

For four decades, Greene has been con­tribut­ing to the area’s Civil War his­tory and help­ing us un­der­stand the con­flict that has de­fined our re­gion and na­tion. He has helped build one of the top tourism at­trac­tions in the area while con­tribut­ing might­ily to our un­der­stand­ing of the Civil War. And he is about to pub­lish what will likely be the de­fin­i­tive his­tory of the Civil War in the Peters­burg area. For that, we all owe A. Wil­son Greene a debt of grat­i­tude.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.