Last year, the Board of Supervisors set terms for the Loudoun Museum: Restructure and start raising money or lose out on $156,000 in county government funding.
On Wednesday, county staff members reported the museum has met those milestones.
Supervisors had set quarterly milestones for the museum, including redefining the board’s responsibilities and tripling the amount of money its members must contribute, setting the stage for future growth, and hiring an executive director. That director, Leslie Mazeska, said she is “very excited” about the museum’s plans and prospects.
“We established a number of things that will help the museum position itself to be on the right track to being able to obtain sustainable funding for our programs moving forward,” Mazeska said, “And also just to increase our visibility in the community getting people coming through the doors.”
The museum could also be changing up its exhibits and website. It’s also considering what to do with its newly available second floor, which until recently held part of the museum’s collection in storage.
“Right now we have, as of last week, a big empty space on the second floor here, and we’re really trying to figure out what we want to do with it,” Mazeska said. “It’s a beautiful room.”
Leaders of the museum, located at the corner of Loudoun and Wirt streets in downtown Leesburg, have also been talking with prospects for new board members, and hopes to announce new members in January.
“We’re going to be bringing on, I’m hoping, a very dynamic group of new folks to sort of take charge and kind of lead the way into the new direction that we’re looking to go,” Mazeska said. She added she’s “very excited, and I really do think that we’ve got some folks that are excited about joining us and really want to see the museum kind of take on a whole new life.”
The new Memorandum of Agreement with the museum has further steps for the organization: the museum must raise $50,000 beyond county funding and the $3,000 required contribution of each board member; it must seek help from professional resources and stakeholder advisory committees for recruiting board members and writing its bylaws; it has to increase its programming and outreach; and it has to create plans for museum and board development. If it meets all those benchmarks, as it did last year, it will win another $156,000 from the county.
That will include reaching out to the community about how to celebrate the Loudoun Museum’s 50th anniversary.
“This is the community’s museum, this is the history of Loudoun, it’s for the people here in Loudoun County,” Mazeska said. She noted since the Museum’s founding in 1967, Loudoun has seen its population multiply and shifted from an agricultural economy to a county that sees 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic pass through its technology corridor.
“I’d love to see us do something that shows the history of Loudoun from when the museum started to where we are today,” Mazeska said. “Because I think we’ve probably seen the biggest change in the county in that 50-year period.”