The Robert H. Smith Center at Montalto received an Award of Merit in the Historic Preservation Category from the Virginia Society AIA. Overlooking Monticello, on the adjacent hill known as Montalto, the Repose house was built c. 1903 for a Philadelphia land baron, J. A. Patterson. The current rehabilitation of the house creates a world-class extension of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies. Repose has been adapted and expanded to provide for multiple new functions as a meeting space, teleconferencing center, facility for visiting dignitaries and event space. This new facility has become the “upper campus” for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation property.
This past fall we had the opportunity to interact with many of our cultural clients and museum colleagues at the annual meeting of the AASLH held here in Richmond. At our booth, we posted a question for comment and discussion:
What are the Most Important Trends for Museums in the Next Five Years?
Here are some of the responses we received:
- Engaging Youth and New Communities
- Being an Entrepreneur
- Engaging Visitors – Making Material seem Alive/Exciting
- Social Media
- Engaging Audiences with the Semantic Web
- Having the “Real” Stuff
- Diversifying Revenue Streams
- Exhibits Authored by the Community
What is interesting about this list is that nearly every response addressed either financial conditions or a focus on visitor engagement. This points out to us that while funding streams are always an issue for museums, there may in fact be a shifting dynamic with an increasing focus on the visitor and visitor engagement at our cultural institutions. This is consistent with discussions that we have had with many of our cultural clients. With the economic changes happening in the last few years, enhancing the visitor experience, and engaging our visitors in new or unique ways is becoming a greater focus. Is the curatorial department taking a back-seat? We hope not, we all know that there is a fine balance to be maintained between increased visitation and good stewardship of collections. This is an interesting point of discussion, about which we hope to hear more from all of you in the museum community.
Steven Blashfield is the Director of G&HA’s Cultural Studio and was recently certified as CAP Assessor by Heritage Preservation for assessment of historic properties. He will be presenting at the Virginia Association of Museums, held March 17-20 in Newport News, VA.
Recognizing that conservation can and should apply to more than just our collections; trends in sustainability, when correctly applied, can have a real financial benefit to long range operations of our facilities. Going “green” is more than just jumping on the bandwagon – it is about forging new partnerships, using precious resources wisely, and setting a good example as leaders in our communities. We hope to see you at one of these venues.
Glave & Holmes Architecture announced The Robert H. Smith Center at Montalto, has been awarded LEED® Silver, established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, and overlooking Monticello, the rehabilitation of The Robert H. Smith Center at Montalto creates a world class extension of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.
Glave & Holmes Architecture’s work at Montalto included a complete restoration of the interior and exterior, the design of two sympathetic additions, incorporation of new systems, infrastructure and technology and the interior design. The new facility houses the executive Board Room for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
The Robert H. Smith Center at Montalto achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. By using less energy and water, LEED certified building save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.