GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Nowhere on earth does Mother Nature present the face of millennia as she does in the Grand Canyon. Several million years of natural history reveal themselves in the layered rocks of the Colorado Rivers great chasm. The river is always a force of change in the canyon, but humanity has left our subtle marks from the archaic native people who once inhabited the area, to Major John Wesley Powell who explored it, to architect Mary Jane Coulter who designed the signature buildings on the south rim. The Grand Canyon Greenway project is part of an enlightened effort to shape human influence and preserve this American treasure by creating a system of trails that will help the canyon endure into the new millennium. Seventy-three miles of trail will form a new system of transportation choices inside the park that will provide a safe, educational, healthy and environmentally sound alternative transportation route for thousands of visitors.
The past and the future share the same starlight as it speeds through millennia-gone-by and streaks past the earth into a future we have not seen. At 105 years old, Lowell Observatory has been and continues to be committed to teaching humankind about our place in the universe and making the discoveries that help us move beyond our planet. Lowell Observatory is the largest privately operated non-profit astronomical research observatory in the world and is a National Historic Landmark. It was here that the publics imagination about Mars was sparked, where the first evidence for an expanding universe was observed, where Pluto was discovered, where maps of the moons surface for Apollo astronauts were refined, and where the public is invited to learn alongside world renowned astronomers and researchers. Objects and collections which tell this story, and which are vital to the educational work at Lowell are threatened by deterioration, and ongoing care is needed for the Observatory.
MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
Five thousand archaeological sites including some six hundred cliff dwellings are found in this national park. Established in 1906, it was the first park dedicated primarily to preserving human artifacts rather than natural environments. The Ancestral Puebloans lived on these grounds for hundreds of years but built the most complex cliff dwellings around 1200. Today twenty-four Native American tribes in the southwest have an ancestral affiliation with the sites at Mesa Verde. The cliff dwellings were re-discovered by many people including explorers, geologists, photographers and cattlemen, but did not gain widespread attention until the late 1800s. Virginia McClurg, Lucy Peabody and other women in Colorado and around the country led the effort to protect the areas dwellings and artifacts within a national park. Hundreds of sites are threatened by erosion and hundreds more need their conditions assessed and stabilized. The park has also been designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
We stand at the convergence of a new century and the next millennium -- a milestone in human history. That is why the President and First Lady created the White House Millennium Council -- to set themes, engage the federal agencies and invite all Americans to participate in meaningful activities through the year 2000.
The overall theme of the White House millennium activities is "Honor the past -- Imagine the future." The President and First Lady are inviting states, Communities, non-profit organizations, federal agencies, and all citizens to participate in activities that strengthen our democracy, improve communities, and give lasting gifts to the future. The President has invited governors, mayors and other elected officials to involve citizens in marking the Millennium; many cities and towns are creating "Year 2000" committees to plan events.
For more information about the Save America's Treasures Program and other Millennium Council initiatives, please contact:
The White House Millennium Council
SEGESSER HIDE PAINTINGS
The Segesser Hide Paintings are a colorful eighteenth century record of two events in New Mexico history painted on bison hides. One painting depicts an attack on an Apache village while the other accounts the ambush of the Villasur expedition, a group of Spaniards and Pueblo Indians sent from Santa Fe to search for French intruders in the Spanish empire. Most old New Mexico families can claim a special connection to the Segesser paintings through their ancestors, many of whom were involved in the battle depicted in the second painting. The hide paintings are currently on display in the Palace of the Governors, the oldest public building in the United States and now a unit of the Museum of New Mexico. Built in 1610, it was the seat of nearly three centuries of government and witness to colorful histories including Spanish, Pueblo, Mexican, and American. Both of these unique links to our past are in need of stabilization and conservation so that they may continue to tell their stories to future generations.
Acoma, New Mexico
Situated on top of a mesa, hundreds of feet above the surrounding valley, Old Acoma or Sky City, is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the United States. As a thriving pueblo today, Acoma honors the many aspects of iys history in its living culture. In 1629 the Spanish established the church of San Esteban del Rey, and the Acoma people completed the church building in 1641. Although Acomas participated in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, they chose not to destroy their church, making San Esteban del Rey one of the few Spanish missions to survive the uprising. The Pueblo of Acoma is working with Cornerstone Community Partnerships to identify and analyze causes of damage and deterioration of San Esteban, a National Historic Landmark. Skills learned through this program will also be applied to Acoma housing, enabling Acomas to preserve their community for generations to come.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Unlike the star-crossed lovers depicted in this sculpture, the city of Albuquerque and the community of South Martinez Town have embraced fully this piece of public art by sculptor Luis Jimenez. This brightly colored fiberglass sculpture, originally funded by the City of Albuquerque and the National Endowment for the Arts, vividly recalls the Aztec and Mexican myths around the two volcanoes located outside Mexico City. The Aztec story accompanied the native Spanish and Mexican people who traveled the Road of Life which later became the Spanish El Camino Real. The combination of the Aztec myth, its romanticized Mexican version, and Christian imagery reveal the mixture of cultures which is the heritage of the region. Students at the neighboring Longfellow Elementary School learn about sculpture and the many sources of their heritage through study of this work of art. Many partners including the community, the city, and the national non-profit Save Outdoor Sculpture of Heritage Preservation are committed to the display, safety, and conservation of the piece which faces on-going threats from the regions harsh elements and acid particulates.
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