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School is back in session and the Morven Park Center for Civic Impact (MPCCI) education team is eager to be back in the classroom, honoring the civic engagement legacy of Westmoreland and Marguerite Davis by providing free civics lessons that demonstrate the impact one individual can have on his/her community.

In addition to the classroom supplies found on a typical back-to-school list, Morven Park’s list contains some rather unusual items.

For many people, “Polo” brings to mind Ralph Lauren ads featuring a beautiful Argentine man (by the way, his name is Nacho Figueras and, yes, he really does play the sport). Or, it’s a preppy shirt that stirs debate regarding whether or not the wearer should pop the collar (the answer is no, unless you have the chutzpa of Katherine Hepburn). For some of us, however, polo is an exciting sport! If you would like to join this special group, I have put together a little primer so you will be the smartest person on the picnic blanket at Polo in the Park.

Thanks to Indiana Jones and other fictional characters, the term archaeology often conjures images of archaeologists bravely entering dusty tombs full of traps and cursed artifacts. The goal of these daring figures is usually to secure priceless treasures that—in the wrong hands—could lead to the downfall of civilization, or “To acquire archaeological fame and fortune!” as stated in the movie Curious George. Real archaeology isn’t quite as dangerous as it is depicted in the movies (although poison ivy and ticks are not pleasant), but the thrill of discovery and the expansion of knowledge is always exciting.

Surrounding Morven Park’s historic mansion is a landscape full of clues about the people who previously occupied the property. Archaeology, which is the study of past human culture through material remains, is one of the key methodologies used to understand these clues at Morven Park.

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.

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