Preservation Greensboro News
Blandwood Guild: Mission Accomplished!
3 April 2006 - To the toast of Champaign among a gathering of friends, the Blandwood Guild declared their mission accomplished and disbanded on April 2nd, 2006. The Guild has been a integral partner to Preservation Greensboro Incorporated (PGI) for 30 years, and its accomplishment of cultivating Blandwood Mansion as a major tourist attraction has been successful beyond the imagination of its founding members. The Guild will be replaced by a new organization with strategies and missions that will guide Blandwood into its next era.
The Guild was established in 1976 with the mission to assist Preservation Greensboro Incorporated with presenting the cultural and educational aspects of the National Historic Landmark property Blandwood Mansion. For thirty years, members of the Guild provided docent guides for the mansion, prepared and maintained the gardens, acquired and maintained collections, and developed programming for visitors. Never saddled with all work and no play, the group held countless fundraisers and educational tours across the region.
Volunteer members of the Guild assisted in the development of Blandwood Mansion as it is enjoyed today by thousands of visitors annually, but maturation of Blandwood staff and the changing nature of today’s volunteers encouraged organizers to think outside the box. “The field of historic preservation is completely different today than it was in 1976” says PGI executive director Benjamin Briggs. “In 1976 there were only a handful of universities that offered an advanced degree in the subject of historic preservation and today there are twenty-three. All of our full-time staff holds advanced degrees in the subject, and this has professionalized the organization in ways not possible thirty years ago.”
Although disbanded, the accomplishments of the Blandwood Guild will continue into the foreseeable future through the invaluable collections at the museum, and through annual allocations made through the Guild’s endowment. The endowment is housed with the Greensboro Community Foundation with funds restricted to specific projects, such as restoration of oil paintings, acquisition of new items for the museum, and improvement of the grounds. “PGI certainly appreciates these allocated funds for care and improvements to the museum. It is nice to know that these special projects will be taken care of in the future,” says Briggs.
Plans to establish an organization that will assist Blandwood in new ways are already taking shape. “With the work of acquiring a museum collection behind us, we are challenged to promote the museum in new ways” says Ashley Poteat, Blandwood Director/Curator. “The interpretation of Blandwood Mansion and its grounds is always changing, the new group will likely help determine new areas of interpretation, community involvement, and fundraising for the future.”
Those interested in assisting with the next level of historic preservation are welcome to contact Poteat, however, their job is already made easier with the work of the Guild accomplished. “The collections of Blandwood are really unrivalled in the state,” says Poteat, “we certainly have a great asset to promote in the future!”
Preservation Greensboro Incorporated is a nonprofit membership organization that saves our community's historic and architectural treasures. Established in 1966, PGI’s programs range from educational seminars and walking tours to annual awards, children’s activities and the news magazine, Landmarks. Its subsidiary organizations include the Preservation Revolving Fund, Architectural Salvage of Greensboro, Blandwood Mansion and Museum Shop, the Blandwood Carriage House, and the Blandwood Ball.