WASHINGTON - Entering its second year as founder and host of the Madison
Freedom Award, The Madison Hotel honored W. Richard West Jr., director of
the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and John W. Carlin,
former National Archivist of the United States, at the second annual
Madison Freedom Award luncheon on March 17.
The Madison Freedom awards for arts and education were conceived by Greg
Miller, co-owner of The Madison, in 2003 during the more than $45 million
restoration of the iconic property.
Each year, the Madison Freedom Award is presented to two individuals
instrumental in educating the public about the importance of preserving the
rights instituted by America's founding fathers. This award embodies fourth
U.S. President James Madison's belief that the protection of Americans'
freedoms is advanced by social responsibility and the courage to perform
good works - even in the face of adversity.
West was selected to receive the Arts portion of the Madison Freedom Award
in recognition of his groundbreaking work and dedication to establish the
country's first national museum dedicated exclusively to American Indians.
The project, which took 15 years to complete, is the first museum
constructed on the National Mall since 1987 and the first to present
exhibitions from a Native viewpoint. The museum is a tribute to Native
heritage and serves to educate the public about the past while emphasizing
and celebrating American Indians' future contributions to contemporary
culture and art.
Carlin was selected by the committee to receive the Madison Freedom Award
for education for his instrumental role in restoring the National Archives,
a project that included the Charters of Freedom Exhibition, the Rotunda and
the Vaults. By overseeing these projects, he greatly advanced the
educational opportunities of a broad range of humanity. Adults and youth
alike visiting the U.S. Capitol from around the globe now can view these
treasures - America's most precious historical documents.
This year's recipients as well as the inaugural recipients of the Freedom
Award were honored in an evening gala at The Madison on March 17. The
evening featured Native cuisine and artwork, and guests participated in a
Round Dance performed by dancers from tribes in Maryland, Virginia and