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The Dirksen Center's History: Selected Milestones
 
1963
The Everett McKinley Dirksen Endowment Fund received its Certificate of Incorporation under the General Not for Profit Corporation Act.
1973
The Dirksen Congressional Center and the Pekin Public Library agree to build a new facility.
1975
The Center's exhibit hall opened to nearly 4,000 visitors in its first year.
1976
The Dirksen Center Guild formed.
1978-79
The Center received an endowment grant of $2.5 million from the U.S. Congress, and over $100,000 from private foundations for program expansion.
1980
Center sponsors the first national conference on congressional leadership, resulting in Understanding Congressional Leadership: The State of the Art (Congressional Quarterly Press, 1982).
1981
In June, The Center awarded its first Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress.
1984
The newly renovated exhibit, "Congress: The Voice of the People" opened.
1985
The Center joined with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to sponsor the Congressional Papers Conference in Harpers Ferry.
1987
The Ford Foundation awarded $150,000 to The Center for a long-term study of congressional leadership.
1989
Robert H. Michel designated The Center as the repository for his congressional papers. The Center also awarded its 100th Congressional Research Grant.
1990
Former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield received The Center's first Award for Meritorious Service to Congress.
1992
The first Congress in the Classroom summer workshop for teachers was hosted by The Center, in cooperation with Bradley University.
1994
The Congress, through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, awarded The Center a $2 million, four-year grant for the Robert H. and Corinne Michel Congressional Education Fund.
1995
"Leaders of the House Over Two Centuries," a conference sponsored by The Center, took place in Washington, DC.
1996
The centennial observance of Everett Dirksen's birth led to a renovated exhibit space now called the Robert H. Michel Civics Forum.
CongressLink, a Web site for teachers, was launched, beginning a long-term investment in educational applications of emerging technology. The Center figured prominently in a successful grant application to the Department of Education for a community technology network.
1997
The Congressional Research Grants program, boosted by long-term financial support from the Caterpillar Foundation, has awarded over $300,000 to more than 200 projects.
1998
The $2 million grant administered by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission ends.
In April, The Center's website for teachers, CongressLink, is designated "as one of the best sites on the Internet for education in the humanities" by EDSITEment.
University Of Illinois Press publishes The Education of a Senator: Everett McKinley Dirksen, Everett Dirksen's personal account of his life told through anecdotes, observations, and lessons learned. Senator Dirksen worked on this book until his death in 1969, hoping that his story would make a positive impact on a country marred by turmoil.
1999
The Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants, a new program designed to assist teachers, makes eight awards.
Westview Press publishes Congress and the Decline of Public Trust, a book of essays commissioned by The Center.
The Center begins to explore the possibility of building its own facility and separating from the Pekin Public Library.
2000
Budget for grant-making reaches $100,000, a first. Total hits on the CongressLink site surpass 1.75 million.
Plans for relocation continue.
2001
Center selects five teachers to serve as State Coordinators to promote The Center and conduct workshops. The Center debuts a five-site Web suite offering updated versions of CongressLink, Communicator, and The Dirksen Center site in addition to new portal sites about the federal government and about Web-based activities related to government for kids.
2002
In February, The Center announced the selection of a site in Pekin on which to build a new facility. In September, The Center launched an online version of its popular summer workshop, Congress in the Classroom. The Dirksen Center Guild transformed itself from a service organization to a membership program, "The Dirksen Center Friends." The Center broke ground for its new building on October 24.
2003
The Center's popular Web suite welcomed more than 12 million visitors, with its redesigned Congress for Kids the fastest growing of the five sites.
On September 26th and 28th, The Center held grand opening events for its new building at 2815 Broadway. Also on the 26th, Congressman Ray LaHood announced his decision to donate his papers to The Center.
2004
The Center established the Ray LaHood Scholarships for the Study of American Government and awarded two in 2004.
The Center also completely redesigned its six-site Web suite, which attracted more than 30 million hits in 2004.
The Center led in the organization of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress, a group of more than 40 institutions seeking to improve access to historical materials and to conduct public programs to enhance the appreciation of Congress.
2005
The Center's Web suite hits surpassed 50 million for the first time.
Communicator's mailing list has over 18,000 subscribers and is still growing.
The Center completed the Civil Rights Documentation Project.
2006

The Center completed two major multi-media Web-based projects:  The 1960s:  A Multi-Media View from Capitol Hill and Anatomy of a Leadership Race.
The Center published The Long Hard Furrow:  Everett Dirksen’s Part in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Web-based programs generated more than 69 million hits in 2006.
The Community Foundation of Central Illinois and the Illinois Humanities Council awarded grants to The Center.

2007

The Center joined with Bradley University to establish the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service.
The Center added several resources to its Web suite:  Congressman Dirksen’s constituent newsletters, the editorial cartoons from his collection, and the guide to Robert H. Michel’s Remarks and Press Releases.
The Center published, “Campaign 1944:  Everett Dirksen’s Bid for the White House.”

2008

The Center publishes Facing the Post-War World: Everett M. Dirksen Abroad, 1945

The Center receives major portions of the Ray LaHood Papers
2009
The Center joins with IPL and the Bipartisan Public Policy Center in Washington DC to sponsor a breakfast promoting civility for new Congress members
2011

Center staff begin the redesign of the Web suite, version 5.0
The Center holds the 20th Congress in the Classroom® workshop for social studies teachers
The Center publishes Of Fakers, Flip-Floppers, Bunglers, and Cowards: Everett Dirksen’s Campaign for the U.S. Senate, 1950 
Total hits to the Web suite in 2011 = 188,020,996

Total unique visits in 2011 = 2,607,538


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