Despite the unexpected loss of our Executive Director in
2015, Stratford Hall is thriving. We achieved success in our mission of
education, preservation and research.
In fiscal year 2016, we began work on content that will be a
new tour on (re)discover Stratford
mobile devices: the African American story at Stratford Hall. This will be the
first new offering beyond the core suite of tours, and will provide visitors
with a fuller story about Stratford Hall. Information from Stratford’s
collections, library and archives and from what is known about the experiences
of other African Americans in Tidewater Virginia will be used.
We had a nearly 3 % increase in the number of visitors (27,176)
compared to the previous year, with a 20% increase in participants in our
school tours (1,745). Stratford Hall continues to offer an array of programs
for lifelong learners. These include more traditional history programs, but
also ones that deal with paleontology, wildlife, race relations and family-fun
Collections and furnishing work for the Dining Room and
Alcove continues in the Great House. These spaces are being returned to an
appearance that will represent the late 1810’s, and provide a context for us to
discuss the Lees who last owned Stratford. Architectural investigation and
preservation work began on the Southeast Chamber and adjoining room. After
restoration, thorough interiors research, and re-decoration, these rooms will
resemble their appearance in 1807.
Additional archaeology was conducted in fiscal year 2016
that will help inform the plans for the East Garden, and that will help
transform the West Garden into a work yard.
Other operations, including the Lee Family Digital Archive,
a flagship initiative, the DuPont Library and support areas (including lodging and dining, farming,
etc.) continued on course.
After the tragic and unexpected death of Executive Director
Paul Reber, Capt. Carter B. Refo (USN ret.) led the organization while a
nationwide search was conducted by the firm Russell Reynolds Associates. In April, John S. Bacon,
previously a member of the senior leadership team at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, was named President
of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association.
(Title changed from Executive Director.) Bacon assumed responsibilities in
Successful Closure of
Capital Campaign – December 31, 2016 will mark the end of our capital
campaign. Fundraising success has largely been achieved but we hope to raise an
additional $450,000 in commitment to Stratford’s unrestricted endowment.
Grow the Annual Fund
– Annual operating support must grow in order to keep pace with the increased
audience we are reaching. We hope to raise $1 million for the Annual Fund in
fiscal year 2018.
Continue Work on
Chief Projects – work on the Great House will continue as well as the
gardens and landscape, and other initiatives.
Assessment – With new leadership, we will begin a period of assessment to
mark our progress and evaluate opportunities that are available.
Stratford Hall is located on Virginia's historic Northern
Neck in Westmoreland County. The Great House was built by Thomas Lee
in the 1730's. It was home to two signers of the Declaration of
Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, and Revolutionary
War hero Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee as well as the birthplace of
Robert E. Lee. The Robert E. Lee Memorial Association purchased the
property in 1929 and still owns and operates the site.
Now, Stratford Hall encompasses some 1,900 acres along the
Potomac River, is still farmed and has a public dining room, guest suites,
research library, visitor center and gift shop. Guided and self-guided mobile
tours are offered, as well as a wide array of special programs. Visitors can
also hike our nature trails, walk through the restored gardens and view the
cliffs from Stratford’s overlook high above the Potomac. Stratford welcomes
some 28,000 visitors annually.
While the Stratford story initially focused on the life of Robert
E. Lee, the site’s interpretation now encompasses four generations of the Lee
family and the freed and enslaved people who lived at Stratford Hall.
The organization is governed by a national Board of
Directors, and has the counsel of a National Council. The staff includes an
executive director, a full complement of library, collections and preservation
specialists as well as landscape professionals, educators and docents.
John S. Bacon has served as President of the Robert E. Lee Memorial
Association since June, 2016. Bacon previously was with the Colonial
Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia, for 28 years.
Bacon also served the Greater Williamsburg Area as chairman and board member
of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Alliance, chairman
and board member of the Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee, and
board member of the United Way of Greater Williamsburg and the Greater
“Stratford Hall’s mission, centered on the leadership of generations of the
Lee family, and the range of opportunities on site are gems, and I am excited
to help convey that identity to current and future audiences,” said Bacon about
his appointment to the position. “The historic site arena is challenging but
immensely important and enriching, and Stratford Hall, with its exceptional
grounds and riverfront, has fascinating stories to tell and memorable
experiences to offer.”
Bacon holds a BA in history from Amherst College and a law degree from the
University of Virginia.
In addition to guided tours and school programs, Stratford Hall
is offering over 30 special programs this year. These range from birding and
outdoor discovery programs to Lees & Independence to our annual Wine &
Oyster Festival. Other programs focus on the African American experience at
Stratford Hall and race relations. Stratford Hall also offers a highly-regarded
teachers institute. Sponsorship of programs depends on the individual budget
for each, but there are opportunities ranging from $500 to $25,000.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Stratford Hall continues to chart its course in the ever-changing landscape of museum operations. Knowing that previous operating models are no longer relevant, we continue to attract new visitors and donors through innovative programming, social media and through our network of existing Stratford Hall supporters. We continue our strategies to develop more earned income through our Gift Shop, Dining and Lodging and Gate operations. Evaluation of new programs, operations and equipment is considered to determine if they are sustainable.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia7501 Boulders View Drive, Richmond, VA 23225804-330-7400 | www.tcfrichmond.org