Annie Davis spent a recent morning teaching a small group of adults and children about Abraham Lincoln. Davis' lesson was part of a shift in the focus of National Archives, said archives director Diane LeBlanc. Last year during school vacation, the facility offered only workshops for teachers. LeBlanc said it was time for a change.
Annie Davis spent a recent morning teaching a small group of adults and children about Abraham Lincoln.
Using copies of 1860 Census records at the National Archives and Records Administration building on Trapelo Road, Davis traced Lincoln's family history.
Davis, an education specialist at the National Archives, explained that Lincoln lived with his wife and three children. At the time, his home was worth $5,000 and his estate $12,000.
"These are examples that we use to trace our family history," she said. "There's lots of information we can get just from looking at Census data and today we're going to take a look at your own family history."
Davis' lesson was part of a shift in the focus of National Archives, said archives director Diane LeBlanc. Last year during school vacation, the facility offered only workshops for teachers. LeBlanc said it was time for a change.
"We want more children here," LeBlanc said. "We want this to be an actual destination for students to learn about government. People know a little about what we have, but we haven't fully conveyed the depth of records we have that document our federal government."
The National Archives is planning renovations to better serve the public, LeBlanc said.
"The renovation will include an education and civic literacy learning space that will allow us to better serve teachers, students and families," she said. "It will also include space appropriate to attract premier traveling exhibits and to host significant public events."
LeBlanc said they are still in the design phase and she doesn't expect the the renovations to start for at least six more months, but is hopeful that they will be completed by February 2010.
"I'm optimistic. I would like to say by this time next year it could be done," she said.
LeBlanc said the facility will remain open during renovations.
"We are going to be reworking areas that are now being used by our patrons looking at Internet resources and microfilm resources," she said. "That's going to be more flexible space that would be able to host premier traveling exhibits from the National Archives in Washington, D.C."
LeBlanc said over the past two years their administration has set aside money for the renovation.
"It's not quite a half million dollars but it's in that ball park," she said. "And we're working with our people in Washington ... this is a pretty bare-bones operation, but there comes a time when you need to have a vision for the future."
Jeff Gilbride can be reached at 781-398-8005 or at firstname.lastname@example.org