The Executive Director of the Menokin Foundation, a 1769 National Historic Landmark site in Virginia, will have the opportunity to fulfill the dream of completing what is being called “the most engaging preservation project in America.”
The groundbreaking Menokin Glass Project is leading the charge for new ways to think about historic preservation and interpretation.
Menokin, located in the Northern Neck of Virginia, is a 500-acre property that includes both pristine conservation land and the remains of the ancestral home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, an early Virginia statesman and signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife Rebecca Tayloe Lee.
The Menokin Foundation seeks a creative thinker with strong historic preservation interests and an entrepreneurial spirit to continue to foster this pioneering project, to complete the capital campaign, and to shepherd an ambitious programmatic vision for the cultural and environmental resources that comprise Menokin.
HISTORY AND PLANS FOR THE MENOKIN GLASS PROJECT
Already in a collapsed state when it received a National Historic Landmark designation in 1971, the Menokin house continued to be neglected until 1995, when the Menokin Foundation was created. The Menokin Foundation acquired the house, 500 of its original thousand acres, and more than 80 percent of the house’s original fabric, which remains on-site in storage. Over the past 20 years, the Foundation has worked to stabilize the house and protect it from further environmental damage. Now, with world-renowned architectural firm Machado Silvetti – the talent behind the new additions at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and the Getty Villa Expansion – the Menokin Foundation is poised to construct a ground-breaking, 21st-century glass structure that will preserve, protect and interpret the original house without nostalgically reconstructing it as another tour-bound, furnished historic-house museum.
The project has already attracted national attention, including a profusely illustrated article, Eight of the Most Anticipated Projects Announced in 2014 in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects: http://tinyurl.com/hazl3b5. A description of this model project has also appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch. Programs and field schools are being offered during all phases of the cutting-edge preservation project so that all can learn from this complex initiative.
THE MENOKIN PROPERTY COMBINES A HISTORICAL SITE AND A WILDLIFE REFUGE
Menokin is situated in the history-rich Northern Neck of Virginia, birthplace of three U.S. presidents: Washington, Madison and Monroe. This beautiful property sits on Cat Point Creek, a tributary of the Rappahannock River, and one of the most unspoiled water systems in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Three hundred and twenty-five acres of the 500-acre plantation are protected by a conservation easement as part of the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge (http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Rappahannock_River_Valley/about.html). The property offers
birdwatching opportunities, hiking trails, and waterways for recreational boating. Newly improved water access on the site allows kayakers and canoers to easily get onto Cat Point Creek. Programming possibilities beckon in the burgeoning field of environmental history as well as in current nature and conservation issues.
Open year-round to the public, Menokin welcomes 4,000 visitors annually and upwards of 1,400 schoolchildren, students and summer-campers.
The annual operating budget approaches $500,000 and is projected to grow significantly as the Menokin Glass Project continues to gain momentum. Current staffing provides for an Executive Director, three full-time staff and one part-time executive assistant.
A Visitors Center on site includes a large conference/multipurpose room, staff offices, and a storage room housing the original woodwork from the house. An adjacent Conservation Barn houses the excavated structural elements from the house and also serves as space for conservation workshops.
Explore the Menokin Foundation website, and the blog, www.menokinrubblewithacause.com as well as social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. A virtual tour of the property and buildings are available on Google 360 http://tinyurl.com/jluh4yp and an in-depth YouTube channel.
STRATEGIC PLANS AND GOALS
In 2015, the Menokin Foundation launched a 3-year, $7-million capital campaign, of which the first $2 million has already been raised. The project comprises stabilization of the house and will provide for the full exterior rehabilitation of the existing fabric. The Menokin Glass Project will provide opportunities to re-hang original millwork within the house in a traditional manner; additionally, a scrim-covering on the glass will allow video projection and high-tech exhibition opportunities.
The Foundation has created broad plans for two later phases of the project. The goal of Phase II (2019-2022) is to finish interior conversion into a museum space, to build two outbuildings (based on original structures) and to reconstruct the terraced gardens around the original house. Phase III (2022-2025) as currently envisioned will increase the endowment and expand the Visitors Center.
The Menokin Foundation offers its next Executive Director an exciting opportunity to grow an ambitious, innovative and multi-faceted historic preservation project into a nationally recognized site for historic preservation field research, local conservation programming and creative storytelling. The Foundation envisions the long-term creation of a scholarly and cultural center for interpreting the many layers of history and presenting its environmental-conservation resources in engaging and innovative programs. The incoming ED will complete the capital campaign, implement the construction project, and spearhead the development of broader programming initiatives on the 500-acre estate. Programming will bring to life the technology and tools of archaeology and architecture and will create historical narratives about the region’s inhabitants, including the indigenous Rappahannock, colonial Virginians, and the enslaved. As opportunities allow, this programming will align with issues in play today to ensure Menokin’s continued relevance and wide public interest. The Foundation also sees its long-term programming as an economic catalyst for the region.
Ideal candidates will:
- Align with the Menokin Foundation’s forward-thinking Board and be keenly interested in this innovative, non-traditional historic-preservation project.
- Have the leadership skills and fundraising experience necessary to successfully manage and complete an ambitious, $7 million capital campaign; specifically, to:
- Lead Menokin’s fundraising efforts, working closely with the development coordinator and the Board, to cultivate and solicit major individual donors, corporations and foundations.
- Complete the current capital campaign and significantly grow the geographic reach, diversity and sustainability of funding sources for today and for the longer-term future.
- Have the experience or familiarity to oversee a sizable construction, renovation, or historic-preservation project, including managing multiple players such as project engineers, architects, archaeologists, subcontractors and vendors.
- Demonstrate a deep commitment to the local community and its manifold histories and work with the education and marketing staff to further engage the Northern Neck’s diverse population in Menokin programs through strategic outreach efforts.
- Work closely with the Board and staff on Menokin’s efforts to develop a strong regional presence through program development, fundraising, marketing, and historic preservation and conservation advocacy.
- Represent and raise the profile and visibility of Menokin to donors, partners, government officials and the public.
- Strategically guide staff and volunteers to produce a financially sustainable portfolio of activities around history, architecture, preservation, conservation and more.
- Oversee the day-to-day operations of the site, the construction project, staff, and programs including setting financial, construction and programmatic goals and analyzing the results; and creatively meeting goals, in close collaboration with the Board and Advisory Councils.
- Be committed to stewarding the Menokin Glass Project’s Phase I through to completion in time for Menokin’s 250th anniversary in 2019.
REQUIRED SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE
- Bachelor’s degree – advanced degree preferred – preferably in historic preservation, non-profit management, land-conservation or a related field.
- 7-10 years of progressive professional experience, to include a minimum two years (at least 5 years preferred) at a senior-management level with staff management and budget responsibilities.
- Strong leadership skills, with an entrepreneurial spirit and management capability; proven ability to inspire and motivate staff, volunteers, donors and potential partners.
- Knowledge of historic preservation best practices and how to partner with nonprofits and key agencies and organizations at the national, state, and local level.
- Demonstrated experience overseeing complex projects through to success, including meeting financial goals, project deadlines, and coordinating the work of key staff, partners and players, preferably including project engineers, architects, subcontractors and vendors.
- Previous success in fundraising, in particular, broad experience with major donors, foundations, corporations, and government funders.
- Excellent and persuasive communication skills, both written and verbal, including public speaking experience; social media presence a plus.
- Outstanding interpersonal skills, judgment, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate and build coalitions with a wide range of individuals and organizations at the local, regional and national levels.
Compensation is competitive and dependent on experience.
ABOUT THE NORTHERN NECK OF VIRGINIA
The Menokin Foundation is located in the beautiful tidewater region of Virginia’s Northern Neck, an unspoiled, four-county peninsula between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers, only two hours from Washington, D.C. and one hour from Richmond (and Richmond International Airport). Known for its Colonial and Civil War history, the region is also home to 3 state parks, the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge and numerous historical sites, including several other colonial-era plantations, both public and private. The 4-county region boasts nine wineries and a growing number of microbreweries, and it offers great access to recreational waterways. Menokin is a designated site on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historical Trail, which traces explorer John Smith’s journeys up the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers in 1608. Watermen still ply the coastal waterways for Virginia oysters, and birding enthusiasts will experience wild turkeys, waterfowl, songbirds and one of the largest concentrations of bald eagles on the Eastern seaboard.
Menokin is located near Warsaw, VA, the county seat of Richmond County and the home of Rappahannock Community College. Across the Rappahannock River, in the Middle Peninsula, is the historic town of Tappahannock. Not far away are many historical destinations, including Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, and a bit further west are the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains and the Shenandoah Valley.
HOW TO APPLY
Nominations welcome. Apply in confidence: Email cover letter, résumé (Word document preferred), salary requirement, and names of 3 references with contact information by March 25, 2016 to Connie Rosemont, retained search consultant, Museum Search & Reference, Marilyn Hoffman, Principal; SearchandRef@museum-search.com. EOE. References will not be contacted without prior permission of the applicant.
- Warsaw, Virginia, 22572, United States
- February 8, 2016
- Executive Director
- The Menokin Foundation
- 5-7 Years