Why do we have commemorations? If you're on a Bicentennial planning committee, you may be asking yourself that! And you'll be glad to know that historians are asking the same question - all over the world. For a good answer, go to Robin McLachlan's tutorial on "Commemorations" at Charles Sturt University, Australia, and browse his extensive public history pages.

Also see how other towns and institutions have worked to make their anniversaries meaningful and to preserve the historical significance of the day for future generations.

Here are two history-orientated Bicentenial celebrations we helped celebrate last year:

Leeds, Maine
University of Georgia

Bicentennials can be the pretext (and catalyst) for legislating major civic improvements, commissioning public monuments, and creating communal works of art that display traditional skills for future generations. Here are some Bicentennial-inspired public works you'll want to see on the WWW and, if possible, in person:

  • The State of Tennessee built a 19-acre Bicentennial Mall State Park in downtown Nashville.

  • For the 1997 bicentennial of the original Friendship, a 3-masted Salem East Indiaman, the Salem Partnership built a faithful reconstruction. The new Friendship, the largest wooden, Coast Guard certified, sailing vessel to be built in New England in more than a century, is moored at the NPS Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

  • Lancaster - Fairfield County, Ohio celebrated its bicentennial in 2000 by unveiling a statue of William Tecumseh Sherman, the town's most famous citizen. Even more ambitious was the revitalization of downtown Lancaster and the grand opening of the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio.

  • Take a ride to the top of Erie, Pennsylvania's Bicentennial Tower for breathtaking views of Presque Isle and Lake Erie.