Events & News

Ciganovic, Friends of George McAneny Honored at Bard Breakfast
Archive Project Steps Into Virtual Realm

Kay Ciganovic, founder of Friends of George McAneny, was honored with the Archive Project’s 2020 Preservation Award. | Courtesy of Kay Ciganovic
Shirley McKinney of the National Park Service, 2020 McAneny Medal Awardee | Courtesy of the National Park Service

The Archive Project’s seventeenth annual Bard Birthday Breakfast Benefit, held in December of 2020, took on an entirely new virtual format in the face of the global pandemic. Nevertheless, the annual event managed to do what it has done best for years: provide a chance for camaraderie and inspiration for those who care about the history of the preservation movement.

Kay Ciganovic, the founder of Friends of George McAneny, was honored with the Archive Project’s Preservation Award for her untiring efforts to unearth and celebrate the legacy of her great-grandfather, George McAneny. A founder of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, McAneny was also instrumental in saving well-known landmarks like Federal Hall and Castle Clinton. Paul Edmondson, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation presented the award.

The presentation of the award was part of the robust program. Executive Director Brad Vogel welcomed attendees to virtual breakout rooms prior to the main event and served as master of ceremonies. Chair Emeritus Anthony C. Wood called off the roll of tables named for inspiring preservationists. New Archive Project Chair Lisa Ackerman introduced herself to those gathered, and Adrian Untermyer elucidated George McAneny’s life. Crystal Hayward performed two songs, one of them an original composition with lyrics by McAneny descendant David McAneny.

A full panel discussion on “Collecting the Now” also took place during the course of the program, with independant consulant Deborah Schwartz moderating a rewarding conversation between Manhattan Borough Historian Rob Snyder, curator Aaron Bryant of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Nina Nazionale of the New-York Historical Society. All panelists agreed there was more to do to continue capturing the history of the pandemic in real time. Archive Project Steps Into Virtual Realm One surprise twist emerged. After receiving the Preservation Award, Kay Ciganovic switched gears and announced that she was awarding the revived McAneny Medal, originally bestowed by the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, to Shirley McKinney, who serves as director of Manhattan Sites for the National Park Service. McKinney and her team worked extensively to facilitate Year of McAneny events at Federal Hall and Castle Clinton in 2019, the sesquicentennial of George McAneny’s birth.

At the conclusion of the event, Treasurer Shirley Ferguson Jenks took to the virtual stage to thank all attendees for joining in the unprecedented occasion. The crowd, as it had throughout the event, enthusiastically jingled keys, bells, and more from living rooms, studies, and kitchens across the region. To watch the full event, visit the Archive Project’s YouTube account: