It’s Official: The movie is a flop. Long live the Electric Map.

Read this story link below, then read this page all the way to the bottom.

Park Service to charge museum admission fee – Gettysburg Times

You must take action before it gets worse than just losing the Electric Map.

John Latschar has been plotting since the 1990’s to remove the Electric Map from Gettysburg. He told everyone that a 22 minute movie would be a better tool to teach people about the battle. Guess what? Once again Mr. Latschar was wrong. Dead wrong.

“We’ve tried just about everything,” Park Supt. Dr. John A. Latschar said Thursday morning during a media conference at the visitor center. “We’re just not meeting the goals and hitting our numbers. Nothing was working, so we came to a conclusion that the best thing we could do is change the fee structure.”

This from a man that once said, “We’ve said from the beginning that the museum will be free.” Let the war of semantics begin.

Guess what John, they don’t want to see your flop of a movie. Anyone can see a movie just about anywhere. We can even watch them on our cell phones. Another movie is nothing new. There was only one place to see the Electric Map.

“During the first four months of operation of the new facility, the percentage of visitors choosing to view the film, statistics show, ranged from 18-24 percent. The foundation’s revenue projection formulas were based on 33 percent of the visitors purchasing film tickets.”

Did they even think about doing a survey of visitors before they made this movie to see if visitors would pay $8.00 to see a 22 minute movie? Did they just take the projections from the Electric Map and think, “that map is dull, they will love a movie twice as much so we can charge them twice as much as before! Plus, more people will come and watch it, because people just love seeing another movie.” Asking the cow, after it has left the barn, if she thinks it would be a good idea to keep the door closed is just not smart.

This is a classic. When has being charged for something you do not want a better experience?

“I think this will be a plus for the majority of our visitors, and overall, a better experience,” said Gettysburg Foundation President Robert C. Wilburn. “We’re giving people more options, and we’ve put together a good package that’s affordable.”

Sure you get to pay for something that only 18% of the people want, so now 82% of the people that come will be paying for something they would not have wanted in the first place. How is that a better experience? When has 18% ever been a majority?

John is always coming up with great one liners.This has to be one of the best.

“One of the main concerns we heard was that people were paying eight dollars to see a 22 minute film, when they could go to the mall and pay $8 to see a two-hour movie,” Latschar said regarding the park’s film about the Battle of Gettysburg and its significance to American history. “In my opinion, the film is the best production ever made on the Civil War, but people just weren’t watching it.”

John, you did not think of that before you spent 15 million dollars on the visitor center? All you had to do was ask visitors at the old center, “Would you be willing to pay $8.00 to see a 22 minute movie about the Civil War at a new visitor center?” Everyone else knew the answer was no. Why did John once again miss the big picture?

I bet they would have paid to see a new version of the Electric Map. You can’t see that at the mall Mr Latschar.. If John had been on the ball he would known that the Park Service already uses electric maps to teach people about the history of the parks. The visitor center at Mount Saint Helen’s has a GREAT fiber optic map that shows how the lava flow happened. It is too bad that Mr Latschar thought he was Steven Spielberg. All he needed to do was look at what the Parks Department was already doing.

John could have created a legacy for himself of creating the ultimate visitor center where people would be waiting in line to see a unique attraction. Now they are bullied into seeing “the movie.” Now if he has his way they will be forced to pay to see it. Really visitors were bullied… “For a short time, the Foundation required all museum guests to stand in line at the ticket booth and listen to sales pitches for the movie, even though the museum tickets were complimentary.” Hey, in his opinion it is the “best production ever made on the Civil War” One thing we have all learned is that his opinion is the only one that matters. This time you can make your opinion the one that matters.

Here is a link to three PDF files with information on what they are trying to do. Read between the lines and read how saving the Electric Map was one of the options. But they killed the old map, with the panic of weight and asbestos. John had no vision to create a new Electric Map from the ashes. If only John had called upon the resources within the National Park Service and not tried to go it alone. He would have learned what others were doing successfully within his own ranks to create unique and creative opportunities for visitors to learn.

The park is gathering comments, holding a public workshop Sept. 18, and making a decision no earlier than Sept. 29.

“We’ve said from the beginning that the museum will be free,” said Latschar. “Before we do any of this or make a final decision, we’ll listen carefully to the public, as we’ve done every other time in the past. We wouldn’t be doing this unless we felt it was the best method of meeting our mission.”

Email all of these people and tell them two things.

1) No Admission Fee. They are the ones that got themselves into this with poor judgement and even worse management. Watch for the semantical argument that they are not charging for the museum. They are tricky.

2) Ask them to review John Latschar and the decision making process that went into this whole 15 million dollar debt. It looks to me like the Park Service has lost control of the Visitor Center and because of the arrangement made with the Foundation will not be able to control costs and will be blackmailed into increasing fees to visitors over the next 20 years.

All comments must be received by September 29, 2008.


President – George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
tel: 202-456-1414 fax: 202-456-2461 tty: 202-456-2121

Secretary of the Interior – Dirk Kempthorne
1849 C St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20240-0001
tel: 202-208-7351; fax: 202-208-6956
Feed back form:

National Park Service Director – Mary A. Bomar
1849 C St. NW
Washington D.C. 20240
tel: 202-208-4261 fax: 202-219-0910

John Latschar
Superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park
1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100, Gettysburg, PA 17325
Send to both email addresses:


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