Tag Archives: Sarah Pope

The Menokin Project at William & Mary

On Friday, September 18th, the Menokin Foundation hosted its second guest lecture at William & Mary’s Earl Gregg Swem Library. The first lecture of the series was on the archaeology of Menokin, featuring Dr. David Brown and Thane Harpole from DATA Investigation as guest speakers.

A capacity crowd came to hear speaker Sarah Pope, Class of '90.
A capacity crowd came to hear speaker Sarah Pope, Class of ’90.

This past Friday, Sarah Pope talked about the Menokin Glass Project, and photographer and Menokin board member, Hullie Moore, talked about his photos taken of Menokin. Friday’s lecture saw a capacity-filled room as guests listened to the preconstruction work that has been done at Menokin this summer and learned of the vision for the next few years.

The lecture series is in conjunction with the Menokin Project exhibit currently on display through October 6th in the Botetourt Gallery of Earl Gregg Swem Library. (More information on the exhibit can be found on the Swem Library website.) Prior to coming to William & Mary, this exhibit was on display at the Octagon House in Washington, DC. The debut of this exhibit on the Menokin Project was earlier in 2014 in Boston where the lead architecture firm developing the glass concept for Menokin – Machado Silvetti – is based.

The Menokin Project exhibit featured a combination of photography and an exhibition on the work of the Menokin Foundation and its innovative approach to the rehabilitation and interpretation of Menokin.

Former law school classmates, Moore gave a personal tour of his photos to Pres. Reveley.
Former law school classmates, Moore gave a personal tour of his photos to Pres. Reveley.

The photography portion of the exhibit, “Through Their Eyes: A Photographic Journey” was an artistic journey through the camera lenses of two photographers — Frances Benjamin Johnston and Hullihen (Hullie) Williams Moore. This collection spans over eight decades of Menokin’s history, as well as the changes in technique and the advancements in photo-technology from 1930 to 2014.

L/R: Helen Murphy, Sarah Pope (Menokin Executive Director and Class of '90), Hannah Rennolds (Class of 2017) and Penelope Saffer.
L/R: Helen Murphy, Sarah Pope (Menokin Executive Director and Class of ’90), Hannah Rennolds (Class of 2017) and Penelope Saffer.

Special thanks to Menokin’s past and present board members who attended the lecture on Friday, including: Helen and Tayloe Murphy, Hullie Moore, and Penelope Saffer. Special guests also included an appearance by William & Mary’s President, Taylor Reveley, the Dean of Swem Library, Carrie Cooper, Smithfield’s Charles Griffith, Joanne Berkley of Norfolk, and many others from around the Williamsburg and Northern Neck communities.

The Menokin Project exhibit will continue to travel to other regions following William & Mary. More information on the next location and lectures associated with the exhibit will be shared soon. A book featuring the photography in the exhibit is available on our Shop page.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the exhibit, please let us know: 804-333-1776 or menokin@menokin.org.

Moving Menokin’s Puzzle Pieces Into Place

By guest blogger Catherine Emery

PART I  Nothing brings a place alive like the work of many hands. Phase I of the Menokin Glass Project is underway as three interns dived deep into the Menokin stone databases to identify and locate cut and carved stone from the historic building.

Under the supervision of Encore Sustainable Design Architects Nakita Reed and Ward Bucher, the summer interns did a terrific job of updating files, re-tagging stones and finally moving them to giant, life-size print outs of the Menokin HABS drawings.

The students, Bethany Emenhiser, Sarah Rogers and Chris Cortner, came from around the U.S. and were attracted to Menokin’s innovative approach to preservation. But has the job been easy?

Only if you think moving 250 100-500 lb stones in 90 degree heat is light-weight work.

“It was fun to finally be able to move the stones to their proper places on the HABS drawings after spending weeks documenting and tagging them,” said Bethany Emenhiser, “but it was a long, hot day.”

Bringing in summer interns to help with preconstruction work was something of a no-brainer.The Menokin Foundation and its project partners were able to save essential funds and the interns gained valuable experience in the field, learned best practices for documentation and assessment of historic materials.

Though the preconstruction work has just begun, the progress is visible. Stop by Menokin and you’ll immediately see sorted stones atop the giant canvas drawings, a visual reminder that soon those same stones will be returned to the house.

Follow this link for PART II of this series.

Menokin 2015 Speaker Series Off To A Great Start

Neither rain, nor cold, nor dark of night can keep a history-loving crowd from its appointed rounds.

That was the case last Friday evening when an overflow assembly of 120 people gathered at Rappahannock Community College’s Warsaw campus to here Dr. Richard S. Dunn speak about his recently published book, A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia.

Earlier that afternoon, some of Menokin’s Trustees were on hand to greet Dr. Dunn and his family as they arrived from a previous engagement in Charlottesville. Sarah Pope, Executive Director, made a brief presentation about Menokin and it’s revolutionary preservation plan to conserve and interpret this National Historic Landmark.

Guests, staff and trustees mingled with the Dunns, giving them a taste of Northern Neck hospitality, and some personal insights into the Glass House Project.

Then it was off to RCC. People came from far and near to attend the lecture. With space at a premium, many arrived early to get a good spot. The auditorium was full to capacity, with an overflow room taking those who were unable to make reservations.

The lecture wrapped up with a Q&A from the audience and a book signing.

Guests then attended a lovely reception hosted by Catherine and Tayloe Emery at nearby Mount Airy. Because Mount Airy and owner John Tayloe III were a focus of the book, it felt most appropriate for attendees to gather there to engage and be inspired.

The lecture was video-taped and I’ll be sure to post a link to you tube as soon as it’s ready to share.

Find out about upcoming events in the Menokin Speaker Series.


Changing of the Guard

The Menokin Foundation bid farewell to three long-serving trustees, exiting officers John Guy (Vice President), John Boidock (Treasurer) and Rusty Brown (Secretary). Delayed because of snow in January (remember January?!?) the ceremony took place at the April meeting at the Menokin Visitor’s Center.

The three were honored over lunch with the gift of a signed, framed photographic print of Menokin by current trustee and well-known photographer, Hullie Moore. Tayloe Murphy and Sarah Pope made the presentations. All three shared colorful and personal stories about their time spent at Menokin.

To meet the current Board of Trustees visit our website at menokin.org.

Exploring the Relationship Between History and Modern Architecture

The Menokin Foundation is pleased that its historic site is the focus of a Harvard Graduate School of Design studio course for this spring semester. The course ─ Ruins, Memory and the Imagination — is taught by Nelson Robinson, Jr. Professor of Architecture, Jorge Silvetti, who leads 12 graduate students through the complex design and interpretive issues surrounding the historic Menokin site.

The Menokin Foundation owns and operates a 500-acre site that was the plantation home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and is located in the heart of Virginia’s Northern Neck region.  Foundation President W. Tayloe Murphy, Jr. commented on the studio, “I have always taken pride in the Foundation’s firm belief in incorporating education and learning as parts of its mission.  We offer learning opportunities for everyone whether their interests lie in history, architecture, nature, art, or conservation.  This current collaboration with Harvard takes the educational opportunities available at Menokin to a whole new level.”

Students explore basement of the Menokin ruin.
Students explore basement of the Menokin ruin.

Over the course of the studio, which concludes in May, multiple historical layers will be sorted out and revealed by the graduate students enrolled in the studio as central themes of interpretation at Menokin:  the existing architectural ruins of an eighteenth century structure and the stories they imply—dense chapters of American history in its revolutionary years, with its cultural manifestations inscribed in the institution of The Plantation and its architecture;  the earlier layers of pre-colonial aboriginal occupation of the site by the Rappahannock Indian Tribe; and the current cultural significance of an imposing natural landscape rich in geological strata, flora and fauna.

Professor Silvetti commented on the timely opportunity that the Menokin partnership offers the Harvard Graduate School of Design and its students, “In no other time as in the present have we found Architecture in such perplexing contradictory relationship with History: on the one hand the practice of architecture is under intense social and political pressures to relate positively to  ‘a history’, while on the other, the discipline of architecture has become utterly indifferent, even oblivious to history itself.”

The students, who hail from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ghana, China, Korea, and Russia, will each develop a design project to include: a Conservation Research Laboratory; a Visitors Center; Visitors Waterside Harbor; as well as the design of all elements necessary to structure and present the Menokin site narratives to the visitor.  The students will present their projects to a juried panel in early May at Harvard.

Students enrolled in the studio are from around the world.
Students enrolled in the studio are from around the world.

“This studio could be titled ‘The Architect as a Story Teller,’” smiles Professor Silvetti,but that’s the instructor’s title and the students should find their own title for the narrative they would develop.”

Menokin Foundation Executive Director, Sarah Dillard Pope, commented, “It’s been a pleasure working with Jorge Silvetti and this young, talented, international group of designers.  This academic exercise offers the Menokin Foundation an opportunity to showcase their talents.  The studio also draws attention to our professional team’s efforts to devise innovative preservation and interpretive solutions for the Menokin site.”