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The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area and Partners
The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area is a collaborative network of partners working together toward a common vision of defining and celebrating our shared heritage with the world. Each partner - no matter whether an individual or a large group - implements aspects of the program in accordance with its interests, goals, and capabilities, adhering to agreed-upon heritage area criteria, guidelines, and processes. This is our shared heritage area and our opportunity to share our story!
Our Partnership with the National Park Service
As a partnership program of the National Park Service (NPS), the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area is a federally designated program with a strong programmatic and structural relationship with the NPS. Federal funding allocated through the NPS provides organizational seed money for our National Heritage Area initiative. Just as important, the NPS provides us with technical assistance and guidance as we create and implement our programming at the regional and local levels. The NPS’s identity and brand helps us establish and communicatethe level of quality to which we aspire.
Locally, we maintain a close working relationship with the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, whose staff participates in our organizational structure and programs. Nationally, we continue to work closely with the NPS Midwest Regional Office in Omaha, Nebraska, which manages the heritage area program in the Midwest. The NPS can provide us with guidance, support, and technical assistance as we craft programs.
The Alliance of National Heritage Areas
The Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition is also a member of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas. The Alliance is a membership organization of the Congressionally designated National Heritage Areas committed to raising awareness among the Administration, Congress, its partners, and the public of the benefits of National Heritage Areas to the public sector and private citizens and fostering educational opportunities and partnerships among organizations in the heritage development field.
Through this unique organization, we are able to share ideas across the nation and participate in shared programming opportunities with other national heritage areas.
Local partners participate in the heritage area program individually and/or as part of a local Community Working Group. Central to our heritage area concept is the idea that most partners will work through their local communities. Communities are the key organizing element within the heritage area landscape. In central Illinois, communities are located at a distance from each other and function largely as distinct entities, separated from their neighboring communities by the broad agricultural landscape.
This organic structure of the central Illinois landscape is part of the region’s Lincoln-era story. It also provides us with a way of organizing partnerships and activities. Many participating heritage area communities have created a Community Working Group as the primary entity through which partners will act. Communities and their Community Working Groups join the heritage area by completing a partnership agreement in which they agree to work together toward the heritage area’s common mission and vision and abide by the heritage area’s guiding principles.
Community Working Groups
The Community Working Groups organize the participation of the wide range of constituents and stakeholders within their communities including government leaders, business leaders, historic sites, educators, planners, and others. They also communicate with the general public and receive public input that can help shape their activities. Individual partners located in or near communities participate in their Community Working Groups as a way of coordinating their actions within the local context. Each Community Working Group collaborates with other Community Working Groups within their regional ‘constellation,’ with the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, and with the heritage area as a whole.
The Community Working group kit can be found by clicking HERE.
Other Initiative Partners
We partner with initiatives such as the scenic byways program, natural resource sites, Native American sites, and the region’s non-Lincoln historic communities to relate our Lincoln-era stories to other stories and subjects significant to central Illinois. We explore ways in which heritage area themes and stories can be interwoven with the themes and stories offered by other regional partners to present a holistic presentation of central Illinois and its development over time.
Private Partners and Corporate Partnership
If you or your organization is interested in developing a sponsoring partnership or in assisting us with our mission across the 42 counties of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area and would like to positively affect the lasting legacy we seek to establish, we encourage you to contact us HERE.