Get to Know Brad Winn

Digging Deeper

btw: What do you think is the hardest thing about your job?

Brad Winn: The hardest thing about my job is not having all the resources we need.  There is so much more we could be doing to help preserve and share the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In the end funding to properly maintain and update our exhibits, develop educational resources and staff all of our needs is harder to find.

btw: Do you think you’re making a difference in the work that you do?

Brad Winn: When visitors who come to my center not knowing much about Lewis and Clark or their time in Illinois and leave saying, “Wow, I did not know that they …” I know we are making a difference. When I see students from our day camp bring their families back to the site after camp to show them what they learned, I know I helped to make a difference.

I think the fact that year after year we see the same families bringing their kids, grandkids, and relatives back to the museum to learn and experience Lewis and Clark proves we are doing a good job.

btw: What’s your next goal at your job?

Brad Winn: To complete the full development of the Historic Site here in Hartford. Beyond just the museum and historic buildings I am developing a whole park setting that will include hiking and nature trails and other recreational facilities. I am laying the ground work for the legacy of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in Illinois so that when the Tricentennial comes around in 2103-2106 they are still telling the story of Lewis and Clark’s historic expedition and folks will know that it started in Illinois.

Brad stands at the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark's continental destination during their original journey. He is holding a 15-star version of the U.S. flag, which was the version used in the nation during the Corps of Discovery expedition. The flag features signatures of people Brad met on his journey from Illinois to the Ocean.

btw: What do you wish people knew or understood about the work that you do?

Brad Winn: How important history is toward shaping who we are and where we are going.  History is often relegated to just an interesting story that doesn’t really apply today because we are different. I say are we really?

Take the time to stop and learn from the past–either the past of your community or the past of your own family. Before my grandfather passed away, I took some time at his birthday party to interview him about his life during the Great Depression because I was preparing a lecture that very week for my history class. Because of those questions, I now understand so much more about the Great Depression than I ever did before.

History is worth preserving, so take the time to draw your own personal connections to the past. You will be much better for it.

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