Photo courtesy of Justin Knight and McGinley Kalsow Associates

Congratulations are in order—the Georges Island Visitor Center is winning an award! The Boston Preservation Alliance has named the center, along with 11 other sites, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Brewer Fountain on Boston Common, and the Fan Pier Public Green, as a 2011 Preservation Achievement Award winner.

The awards are presented for both historic preservation and compatible new construction. The Alliance is recognizing the Visitor’s Center for excellence in Rehabilitation/Restoration Preserving Boston’s Architectural Heritage. Georges Island is the home of the Fort Warren, a National Historic Landmark. The fort, which was active from the 1850s through World War II, served as a prison for Confederate soldiers in the Civil War. (It’s also the infamous home to the legendary Lady in Black). The new center is housed in the rehabilitated Mine Storage Building, and features an interpretive museum focused on the Island’s military role in protecting Boston Harbor over the last 300 years.

Sarah D. Kelly, executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, commended the project, saying, “The Boston Harbor Islands are truly outstanding natural and historical treasures, and the [Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation] and Boston Harbor Island Alliance have done the public a tremendous service by undertaking this exceptional project.”

Christopher Klein, author of Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands, reviewed the center when it opened last summer, detailing the representations of the lives of the Union soldiers and their Confederate captives, as well as enthusiastically endorsing the new playground and the outdoor Summer Shack outpost.

“Anyone who hasn’t been to Georges in a while will be amazed,” said Tom Powers, president of the Boston Harbor Island Alliance. We agree! With just a few weeks left of the 2011 season, now’s the time to take a trip to Georges Island and see this award-winning project for yourself!

Congratulations again to the project team behind the Georges Island Visitor Center, and especially to our hardworking friends at the Boston Harbor Island Alliance. The Boston Preservation Achievement Awards will be presented at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 6 at the Paramount Center in Boston. Tickets are $50.

For more information about Georges Island, check out Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands, by Christopher Klein.