Public History and integrating the public

Here is an interesting story about what others are currently doing to bridge the public with history:


2008 Great Park Program Series Draw Thousands

Last update: 8:03 p.m. EDT Oct. 23, 2008
IRVINE, Calif., Oct 23, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The Orange County Great Park Board today was treated to a variety of presentations highlighting many of the successful Great Park programs. Presentations included the continuing work of the Great Park history programs, recognition of the Park’s first sponsors of Park programs, highlights of the Festival of Flights and a recap of the summer concert and dance series. Marsha Burgess, the Corporation’s Manager of Public Affairs, highlighted the Park’s many record-breaking public events and relayed that the public events serve to create a bond between and among diverse cultures of Orange County by bringing people together at the Park through shared experiences.
“More than 50,000 people attended the summer events at the Great Park,” said Larry Agran, Chair, Orange County Great Park Board Corporation. “The outstanding attendance is proof positive that the Orange County Great Park is a new and exciting entertainment venue for Orange County. And, I would like to thank AT&T and Kaiser Permanente our summer program sponsors for their generous support.”
Visitors to the Great Park can now learn about the historical elements of the Park through the efforts of the Great Park History Program. Program elements include the Walkable Timeline, the Legacy Project’s many photographic collections, the Oral History Project, archival efforts and the Registry Project. Each of these projects capture notable events throughout the former base’s history – all documented in a different medium. The Walkable Timeline lists world historical events starting with 1943, when the initial air station was first built. The Legacy Project uses photography to document El Toro and its transformation to the Great Park. The Oral History Program has now chronicled 150 oral histories of men and women whose life experiences while at El Toro will now be preserved for generations to come. The Registry Project currently contains 6,777 names and dates of people who were stationed or worked at El Toro throughout its history.
The Board of Directors also learned about the recent El Toro Homecoming event. More than 60 men and women who were stationed at, worked on, or somehow had their lives touched by the historic El Toro Marine Corps Air Station were honored by the Orange County Great Park Corporation at the El Toro Homecoming event held on October 2, 2008. The El Toro Homecoming paid tribute to those who shared and documented their El Toro life memories through the Great Park Oral History Program, a collaboration with California State University Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History.
The Board also received an update on the 2008 Ambassador program. Visitors to the summer events were assisted by the Ambassadors, a group of youth and senior volunteers. The Ambassador participants gave presentations to community groups, served as balloon docents, and provided invaluable help during summer special events. A total of 150 presentations throughout August and September were given to a wide range of community organizations.
Finally, Great Park staff shared successes with the Board including the July 12, 2008, Festival of Flight which drew approximately 12,000 people who enjoyed balloon rides, kite flying demonstrations, birds of prey, food, entertainment and children’s activities. Great Park Balloon night flights were also launched and kicked off the summer Night Flights dance and concert series, which was presented by the Great Park and the Irvine Barclay Theatre. On Friday nights, live dance bands performed in front of Hangar 244. The dance floor became increasingly more crowded as the summer progressed with over 1,500 people attending the final performance by Pete Jacobs Radio Wartime Revue.
On Saturday nights, the Great Park was an arts and culture destination. A wide range of styles of music were provided throughout the summer from Chicano-folk rock, to Celtic fiddling, to flamenco dancing and salsa. Thousands of guests were entertained in the distinctive setting of the Preview Park after dark.
“This year’s public events far surpassed our goals,” said Marsha Burgess. “We look forward to building on the successes of this past year; we look forward to more residents enjoying the Park as we bring new events to the Great Park next year.”
The Orange County Great Park is located on the site for the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine. Visitors to the Park can now enjoy balloon flights and picnics in the Preview Park. Recently, an historic PV-1 Ventura night fighter plane, a type of plane that once flew out of El Toro Marine Corps Air Station was donated to the Great Park for its future Great Park Aviation Museum project.
When completed, the Orange County Great Park will be a 1,347 acre metropolitan park. It will provide a wide array of active and passive uses, including a 2.5 mile canyon and lake, miles of walking and biking trails, a cultural terrace, Orange County’s largest sports park and a botanical garden.
For more information, please go to
SOURCE Orange County Great Park

~ by disembodiedspirit on November 5, 2008.

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