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I love planning events almost as much as I love going to them (far less work), and I can confidently tell you that everyone needs an occasional reminder of what it means to be a good guest. Few people seem to care or realize that being a good guest is as much an art form as being a good host or hostess.

“Prepare to get schooled, LCPS!” I don’t think we realized the truth of this social media warning to the schools way back on the first day of the 2018-19 school year. The Morven Park Center for Civic Impact (MPCCI) team is always very optimistic and excited about the number of students we will reach, how our program will operate, and our adaptability in facing inevitable challenges, but this school year was unlike any other we’ve experienced!

The 2019 Historic House Summit: Sustainability, Governance and Relevance in the Environment, hosted by Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and the American Alliance of Museums, brought together approximately 50 participants from around the world who all felt that our institutions have a responsibility to be responsible stewards of not just the land and constituents we work with directly, but to respond to climate change and remain relevant, trusted educational organizations for our communities and beyond.

In this blog, Jackie Ly, Morven Park's Museum Engagement Manager reflects on some of her takeaways from the conference and highlights her presentation on avoiding workplace burnout.

The last inhabitants of Morven Park, former Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis and his wife Marguerite Davis, were well known for their support of the troops during World War I, which coincided with his time in office. Today, Morven Park upholds their legacy of patriotism and generosity by participating in the Blue Star Museum program. As an official Blue Star Museum, the Park will offer free admission to our nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families this summer.

“It is an honor to share Morven Park’s mansion and museums with our service men and women and their families this summer,” said Sheryl Williams, Morven Park’s Executive Director. “We encourage our visitors to make a day of it and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the gardens, hike through our two miles of woodland trails, or take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque grounds of the Park.”

During tours of the Davis Mansion, visitors learn about the lives of Westmoreland and Marguerite Davis, including their dedication to public service. Marguerite’s volunteer work with the Red Cross during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 inspired others to volunteer and offer aid to their fellow Virginians. Learn more about the pandemic and how it impacted Virginians in this latest blog post.

On a teacher workday last fall, my wife asked me to go for a tire rotation and check in on our kids during the day. I got up early, left the car at Costco, and decided to get some exercise. The forecast was for 75 degrees and sunshine, so I took a walk in a nearby neighborhood. As I proceeded on my morning walk, I was passed by a few joggers, said hello to several dog walkers, and saw a couple bicyclists.

After about an hour I started to realize there was something missing – there were no children out playing in the backyards or outside at all. There might be some families out of town with the extra day off school, but there were no kids to be found. Are all the kids still asleep at noon, or are they all at daycare? There were plenty of cars in the driveways, so my curiosity grew as to where all the children were in the neighborhood.

I have squealed with excitement on more occasions than I can remember—when I saw Robert Duvall in a Middleburg coffee shop; when the horse on which I had placed a one-dollar bet won the Gold Cup; when I finally perfected a baked French baguette (I burned a lot of bread and killed a lot of yeast in the process).

However, I have been rendered silent only twice. The first time was in high school when I had the opportunity to meet Justices Ginsburg and O’Connor. When I was introduced to them, all I could do was stare as if they were masterpieces at the National Gallery. The second time was last fall when Southern Living magazine informed us that Morven Park would be listed as a top wedding venue in an upcoming issue.

When we’re not planning, reworking, setting up, teaching, or cleaning up after one of our programs, the education team tries to catch up on articles and other press related to civics. An interview that recently caught our attention was from an episode of the podcast Recode Decode called “Why nonprofits should think more like tech companies.” As we listened, we couldn’t help drawing comparisons to our current programming here at Morven Park.

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