FY17 Annual Report
Message to Our Supporters
Our mission at the Maymont Foundation is to keep Maymont accessible as a museum and park for the enjoyment, education, enrichment and inspiration of everyone, just as the Dooleys intended when they gave us this extraordinary gift over 100 years ago. While there are countless things to love within the 100-acre estate, the friendly and playful animals have made the Maymont Farm one of RVA’s most popular destinations for families and animal lovers for decades. That’s why we made a point to invest in and improve the Farm during Fiscal Year 2017. Following a nearly year-long facelift, animal-loving guests – and the animals themselves – were able to enjoy updated amenities as a result of the $3 million farm renovation, funded through the Spirit of Generosity capital campaign.
Thousands of guests turned out for the official Farm reopening in March, where they were able to explore a renovated barn and new classroom building, as well as feed their favorite animals. In addition, the completion of the Farm complex included the installation of Jack’s Vegetable Garden and Marie’s Butterfly Trail, as well as a new Rain Garden to be used for environmental education. More animal-related excitement was inspired by the arrival of new wildlife residents including two young female bison and two rescued North American river otters.
While the Maymont Farm and animals were front and center, we also celebrated important milestones for the Mansion including a historic structure study, the restoration of several pieces within the Mansion collection, and the publication of Dr. Mary Lynn Bayliss’ book “The Dooleys of Richmond: Two Generations of an Irish Immigrant Family in the Old and New South.”
During Fiscal Year 2018 and beyond, we look forward to commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Mansion’s completion and making progress on additional Spirit of Generosity capital campaign projects. As always, our goal is to provide Maymont’s guests with joy, wonder and special experiences in this truly unique place. Your support makes that possible each and every day.
FY17 Board President
Family Fun Returns to the Farm
The Farm at Maymont re-opened to nearly 13,000 excited guests on March 26 after a year-long renovation project, the first major upgrade since being built in 1983. Improvements include a facelift in the barn, handicap accessibility, additional outdoor paddocks, new restrooms, additional classrooms, a new play area, expanded parking, and installation of a rain garden and bio-retention area. This well-loved corner of the estate is a hub of activity and home to goats, sheep, chickens, domestic rabbits, donkeys, cows, pigs and horses. The project was funded through the Spirit of Generosity capital campaign.
Environmental Education Makes an Impact
The environmental education team offered new in-depth programs based on Project-Based Learning (PBL) and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives, focusing especially on underserved middle and high school communities in the Richmond area. A professional development workshop, with a concentration on Project-Based Learning opportunities at Maymont, was presented for 3rd – 12th grade teachers. Maymont also worked as a partner institution with Randolph-Macon College to help prepare female Hispanic students for leadership in the STEM workforce.
More than 42,000 guests were served by Environmental Education programs, a 25% increase over last year. SOL program attendance increased by 16 percent, and the number of Title 1 school children served in SOL programs also increased by 16 percent. Summer camp registration set an all-time record.
Gardens Grow Afresh
Upon completion of Farm renovations, the horticulture and grounds staff re-installed two special educational landscapes in the area, Jack’s Vegetable Garden and Marie’s Butterfly Trail. In addition, a new rain garden and bio-retention area were established adjacent to the Farm parking lot. The landscape, planted with hardy perennials and grasses, is designed to slow and clean storm water runoff while reducing the amount of phosphorous and nitrogen that seeps into the James River watershed. The rain garden is partially funded through a $200,000 grant from the National Fisheries and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).
A Legacy Lives On
Tremendous strides were made in preservation of the Maymont Mansion during the fiscal year. The development of a Historic Structure Report, an essential tool for preservation planning, included the creation of a full set of state-of-the-art measured drawings. Using a mixture of laser surveying and photogrammetry, a dense 3D point cloud of the building’s exterior and interior was created to document its precise shape, layout, elaborate interior detailing and overlapping building systems. Other successfully completed projects included reproduction of the Blue Drawing Room draperies and conservation of the Louis XVI-style salon suite. The publication of Dr. Mary Lynn Bayliss’ book “The Dooleys of Richmond: An Irish Immigrant Family in the Old and New South” was another landmark occasion for Maymont, marking the first-ever full-length biography of the Dooleys.
Long-Time Leader Retires
Associate Executive Director, Fred Murray, retired in March after 42 years with Maymont Foundation. He supervised countless projects during his tenure including the development of the Wildlife Habitats, the Farm and the Robins Nature & Visitor Center. He also managed various preservation and renovation projects for the estate buildings, gardens and grounds.
New Animals Arrive
Maymont welcomed several new animals in FY17. Among them, two young female bison arrived in October; five black-face sheep were introduced at the Farm for the re-opening in March; and two rescued North American river otters, named Louis and Ella, joined the animal family in May. In contrast, Maymont suffered some heartbreaking losses of long-time furry residents, including Maude the American bison (age 25), Pandora the female otter (age 17), and Neptune the male otter (age 19). All three of the well-loved animal icons died of natural causes related to their advanced ages. There was an outpouring of love, sympathy and support on social media following each loss.
The Awards Keep Coming!
- One of the Best Things To Do in Richmond (US News, Travel)
- One of the 25 Must-See Buildings in Virginia (USA Today)
- Top Wedding Venue of 2017 (Virginia Living Weddings)
- One of 8 Must-Visit Waterfalls Within 100-Miles of Dulles (DullesMoms.com)
- Best Wedding Venue (Richmond Times-Dispatch – RTD The Best, October 2016)
- Runner-up, Best First Date Spot (Richmond Times-Dispatch – RTD The Best, October 2016)
- Best Place to Eat Your Lunch Outdoors (Richmond magazine, August 2016)
Volunteers Give Their All
Maymont is incredibly fortunate to have so many generous people willing to give their time, talent and expertise to support the estate each year. In FY17 alone, 1,449 volunteers – including 55 community and corporate groups – gave 19,238 hours to host tours, paint fences, plant gardens, educate the public, support special events and much more. It was a bittersweet year, however, with the loss of five-time Volunteer of the Year, R. Ford Reid, who passed away in October 2016. A tree was planted in the Japanese Garden in his memory.
Maymont’s award-winning volunteers for FY17:
Presidential Lifetime Achievement and Outstanding Dedication, Volunteer of the Year:
Corporate Citizenship Award:
Sally Brown, Farm
Lynne Glasser, Mansion
Mary C. Sollog, Administration
Ken Venos, Gardens & Grounds
Libba Walter, Carriages
Kathy Warnkey, Nature Center
Rookie of the Year Awards:
Casey Blackburn, Children’s Farm
Sophia Butterworth, Administration
Dick Cullen, Mansion
Steve Gregory, Nature Center
Roger Lamanna, Gardens & Grounds
Julie O’Connel, Carriages