The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation (TRPLF) board of directors had a delightful opportunity to learn from the experience and expertise of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) staff when it traveled to Springfield, Illinois, for its monthly meeting on May 18 &19, 2017.
The TRPLF board, staff, consultants and guests met with ALPLM Executive Director Alan Lowe and some of his key staff members. These included the exhibits team, volunteer services, marketing director, guest services, director of education, and the chief operating officer of the ALPLM Foundation. The meetings were highly informational and the ALPLM staff generous with their time and willingness to share their experience.
During the course of the day-long meetings, Lowe stressed the importance of having a great strategic plan and strong leadership to assure success. He also noted that bringing together the Theodore Roosevelt Center digital archive and the visitor experience at the TR Presidential Library will be powerful and dynamic, and the TRPL has the advantage of coordinating these aspects from the start.
Other key points of discussion centered on the balance between high-tech and low-tech components, cooperative marketing with other like institutions, and the importance of a strong volunteer program.
The group also had the opportunity to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, to gather ideas for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library (TRPL). It is an impressive facility, both in size and in content. The ALPLM draws 300,000 visitors per year. Projected annual visitation at the TRPL, once it is completed, is approximately 100,000.
Following their two days in Springfield, many members of the group traveled to Chicago to visit with Roark Frankel, director of construction and planning for the Obama Presidential Center, on Saturday, May 20.