Monday, September 09, 2013
News: Job Open At Gettysburg NMP: Superintendent
After 40 years of service with the National Park Service, Bob Kirby, superintendent of the Gettysburg National Military Park, is retiring at the end of the year.
Kirby made his announcement at Thursday night's Gettysburg National Military Park Advisory Commission semiannual meeting. Kirby, who took over at Gettysburg in March 2010, will leave after accomplishing a litany of long-term projects including the demolition of the old Cyclorama building, selling the Electric Map and the acquisition of the Gettysburg Armory. Kirby said he would define his tenure at Gettysburg as being the guy who worked with a brilliant group of people. He simply was smart enough to get out of their way, he said. “My predecessor did a great job helping get this place built,” Kirby said of the museum and visitor center. “He got a lot of great stuff started. It was the logical step to smooth out the rough spots and keep a lot of that going.”
Kirby, a 64-year-old Freedom Township resident, said he intends to stick around an area that he loves. “This place has everything I'm looking for and I've lived all over the country,” Kirby said.
With the sesquicentennial of the Gettysburg battle approaching as he took over the superintendent position, he anticipated the challenge, he said. “This is the Cadillac of cultural parks,” Kirby said. “Coming here was a combination of challenge and ego and just a love for this stuff.”
Some have considered the superintendent at Gettysburg as the pinnacle of national park ranger positions and a dream job to take as one nears retirement. Kirby said that is part of the ego aspect. You spend a career climbing a ladder and to say you ended your career at such a great place that is the premier cultural landscape park,” Kirby said. Kirby, who has worked at a plethora of other parks around the country, said that while some took longer than others, he and his staff was able to achieve the goals he established each year. The Cyclorama, Kirby said, took two years. “That's part of the process,” he said. “These are process-ladened things that take a huge amount of work.”
He said he is still hopeful the federal government can find a way to pass legislation that would bring the Lincoln Train Station on Gettysburg's Carlisle Street within the boundary of the national park by Nov. 19, the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address.
“It's hard to say what's going to happen,” Kirby said. “Congress is always distracted but it's a noncontroversial piece of legislation supported by (Pennsylvania) Congressman Scott Perry and Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey.” Katie Lawhon, spokesperson for the National Park Service, said taking on so many projects and being a part of the Civil War 150th commemoration is fantastic, but that it is especially fun with a great leader like Kirby.
Text and Image Source and Story continued at The Evening Sun, September 5, 2013.