Springfield, Ill. – On March 22, 2012, the Abraham Lincoln’s National Museum of Surveying held a press conference announcing exciting news that will help the museum’s future.

“Today, we are announcing the beginning of the Reaching Our Orbit Capital Campaign to pay down the museum’s mortgage. The museum has reached the point where memberships, visitors’ entrance fees and on site donations pay our monthly overhead costs.  However, we need to reduce our mortgage in order to offer additional interesting, educational programs for the community, tourists and area youth groups," says Jim Roth, president of the museum's Board. "Our mission is to educate visitors about how land surveyors developed America and why land surveying is important to each of us. We also hope to encourage young people to consider land surveying as a career."

Bob Church, the museum Board’s treasurer, said: “Since the museum’s opened, thousands of visitors from around the world have enjoyed it. A successful campaign will help us continue to work with educational facilities from elementary through colleges and universities. Additional funding will help us expand our work with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4H clubs, Boys and Girls Club and other youth organizations interested in math, science and our environment.”

The announcement was timed to coincide with National Surveyor’s Week, March 18 – 24, 2012 which was originally proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and reaffirmed by President George W. Bush during his administration.

To kick off the campaign, the museum announced a firm commitment of a contribution from an undisclosed source to match every donation received, up to $200,000, by the end of 2012. Contributors to the capital campaign can offer a series of pledges spread over five years or a one-time donation. Corporate donors have an additional opportunity to name the museum’s four major galleries. Potential donors are welcome to visit the museum free of charge to see what visitors call “the hidden treasure of Springfield.”

The national co-chairs of the campaign are: Curt Sumner of Gaithersburg, Md., PLS and executive director of the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), and John Matonich of Flint, Mi., PLS, past president of the NSPS and current chair of the NSPS Government Relations Committee. The local Reaching Our Orbit Capital Campaign co-chairs are: Brian Whiston of Springfield, professional engineer and chief executive officer of Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Consulting Engineers of Springfield; Earl Wally Henderson, FAIA (Retired) of Springfield; Michael Matzke, PLS of Quigg Engineering of Springfield and Boy Scouts of America Surveying Merit Badge Counselor.

In the 18 months of existence, the museum has instituted many programs, has been a hidden treasure for many tourists and area citizens, and always had its eyes on growth. With a more secure future by paying down the mortgage, the museum can focus more of its effort and capital on growing what it has in place.

By helping, the museum can provide more programming for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, engineering groups, Boys and Girls Club, school groups, 4-H club members and many other youth organizations.

  • Expand the museum's effort in educating the public about surveying through their Surveying in Residence program and Surveying Seminars. Perhaps monthly seminars on the history of surveying led by surveying experts from around the country?
  • Allow the museum to offer its space for more local history, cultural and art organizations.
  • Allow the museum to expand on its Science on a Sphere tool to further allow teachers to utilize and customize the most impressive visual aid in the area.
  • Allow the museum's Community Mapping Center to become a reality. Perhaps a shared computer lab or a computer lab for GIS?
  • Allow the museum to expand children activities within the everyday tour. Perhaps, make your own topographical map or Surveyor's Camps on Saturdays?
  • Allow the future to take hold.

The museum is also home to the Springfield and Central Illinois African-American History Museum and Foundation, and the Illinois State Historical Society. The museum is happy to talk to any other not-for-profit organization looking for downtown space.

They are also seeking volunteers, especially those with a background in science, math and public speaking. Volunteers can serve as docents, join planning committees for educational activities and oversee specific activities.

Abraham Lincoln’s National Museum of Surveying is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM with extended hours for prearranged groups. The museum can be contacted atinfo@nationalsurveyingmuseum.org. Details of the campaign and how to pledge will be available on the museum’s web site athttp://www.surveyingmuseum.org/reaching-our-orbit.html.