When the Museum board saw the opportunity to purchase the Worthington mansion and ten acres they didn’t hesitate. They envisioned saving an historic private home and turning it into a community asset as well as a public event center. What made all the difference from the very beginning was the belief in the project from outside the deeply committed board members, community, and friends of the Museum.
Early interest and later support was provided by the staff of Washington’s Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation, Rep. Steve Tharinger, elected officials in Jefferson County, and Washington State Historic Preservation staff. A stellar list of professional advisors worked with the volunteer projects managers every step of the way assuring that the restoration was as authentic as possible. We don’t know how to thank you except to say we couldn’t have done it without you.
Early funding for Phase I (the campaign to purchase the property) and Phase II came through the Seattle Foundation’s C. Keith Birkenfeld Fund and later the Washington State Department of Commerce Community fund. The support of these two generous funders gave private donors, members and a growing number of volunteers the encouragement to keep the “ten acres of possibilities” moving forward.
Work on Phases II and III (the exterior and interior of the mansion) received additional support from the Washington State Heritage Capital Fund, the Norman Archibald Charitable Foundation, the First Federal Foundation, the Pomeroy Foundation, and U.S. Bank. The Valerie Sivinski Washington Preserves grant covered the full restoration of the original fireplace and ceramic tiles.
A notable donation came from Taylor Shellfish, Inc. to the “Event-Ready: Let’s finish the Mansion” campaign. Other local and regional businesses pledged matching funds for several campaigns as well as private donors provided generous support during events.
More capital campaigns and fundraising events kept the project in the black. More companies, like the Peninsula Paint Centers, caught the energy of the volunteers and the sight of the mansion being restored and offered consulting as well as funding.
Not quite like Tom Sawyer’s fence whitewashing, people of varying interests and skills got involved and even more work was accomplished saving more capital for work only professionals could perform. Clean-up Fridays expanded into freshly-made scones and good fellowship after hard work. All this support was going on at a time when only the shell of the mansion was there to hold the vision of what it could become.
And become it did—when the Murdock Charitable Trust conducted a site visit prior to funding, Murdock staff joined board members and project managers on the newly constructed third floor with the mansard roof.
It was moments like these—sharing progress with visitors, funders, neighbors, and donors—that has brought the project to the coveted award and recognition it received in 2018.
Dr. Allyson Brooks, State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) announced the 2018 award winners for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation. For Preservation Stewardship Dr. Brooks said: