Letter to the Editor: Gunston Hall Belongs to the People
Author believes Gunston Hall administration is misinformed
In a recent article about Gunston Hall, a reader suggested, quoting Mark Twain, that this dog does not hunt any more.
Those of us, who have first hand, day-to-day, knowledge of Gunston Hall over many years, know that things are not right at Gunston Hall. Since the Commonwealth contributes a substantial portion of the operating money to Gunston Hall, any tax paying citizen should try to find out what we are getting in return.
As has been clearly demonstrated in the press recently, we are getting an arrogant, uninformed First Regent, who steps to the direction of the Director. As has been mentioned, he has commendable curatorial skills; however from a managerial point of view of this plantation, he has indeed not benefited Gunston Hall. The skills of a curator cannot automatically be transferred to management. A good manager would have listened to others who have expertise in other fields. Instead, anyone who had any ideas not in line with those of the Director was targeted for dismissal or ridicule.
As for the First Regent, she has made several statements to the press, which clearly demonstrate her lack of knowledge. She recently made the comment that the former Education Coordinator was “just a volunteer”, who had no educational background. The facts are that this same person has a master’s degree in Museum Education and was a long-time Virginia State employee. The First Regent also previously stated that the former farm manager left because he no longer wanted to do farming. There is written evidence to the contrary.
One cannot blame the First Regent for her lack of knowledge about Gunston Hall, after all, during a twice-yearly visit she only gets to see the surface and hear what others tell her.
Contrary to the Board of Advisors, which was recently summarily dismissed by the First Regent, the Board of Visitors of Gunston Hall does have a statutory obligation to report to the Governor about the performance of the Regents. They should be comprised of people who have the welfare of Gunston Hall at heart and whose appointments to that position should not be based on rewards for monetary contributions to the Colonial Dames of America. Has anyone seen the reports that the Board of Visitors is required to supply to the Governor every year regarding the performance of the Regents? If you do, please tell me.
After all, the underlying issue is the fact that Gunston Hall belongs to the People of Virginia and not to the Regents and we should have some say of what is done with our tax money.