Shake-up Underway at Loudoun Museum

Changes are underway again at the Loudoun Museum in downtown Leesburg, as the organization’s board of trustees recently bid farewell to its executive director and the museum—for now—remains closed.

Board president Michael O’Connor confirmed that Leslie Mazeska, who was named executive director of the organization only last year, was terminated by board action in late June. The museum also remains closed as the board undergoes a “very active process” to get the museum back up and running.

“We [the board of trustees] have been brought into this organization to right a ship that needed to be worked on, and bring the Loudoun Museum up to a standard that this Board of Supervisors and quite frankly the Town of Leesburg would be proud of,” O’Connor said.

In order to do that, he added, the museum needs staff that “knows what they’re doing, maintains professional processes, and has a true love of the history of Loudoun County.”

“We’ve closed the museum until we have the appropriate staff and until we have a comfort level in the people that are running the organization—that goes for board members and staff,” O’Connor said.

In recent years, with the museum in danger of shuttering, the Board of Supervisors agreed to provide financial support. Last fall, supervisors voted to give the museum $156,000 if they met certain fundraising benchmarks. At that time, Mazeska reported to supervisors that the museum was indeed meeting those benchmarks and expressed excitement over its future, including several events and a new exhibit this year to celebrate its 50thanniversary.

The Loudoun Museum was founded in 1967 and set up first in the 1764 log cabin silversmith shop on Loudoun Street and later expanded to two town-owned buildings along Wirt Street. The museum’s collection includes documents signed by George Washington and James Monroe, as well as letters exchanged between freed slaves writing home from Liberia to their former masters, historic maps, fine arts, photographs, postcards, textiles, furniture and tools.

But even with its current closing, O’Connor said the museum’s future is not in doubt. He said both the board of trustees that was put in place by the Board of Supervisors and the supervisors themselves are “committed to make this successful.” An annual museum budget review with county government is expected to be scheduled shortly, he added.

krodriguez@loudounnow.com

One thought on “Shake-up Underway at Loudoun Museum

  • 2018-07-15 at 10:33 am
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    The Loudoun Museum the way it is structured and operated is a lost cause and is just wasting valuable space in a building that, frankly, the town of Leesburg could house some of its employees or sell at a premium. Did the Supervisors ever ask to see how much the museum raised or did they just take Ms. Mazeska’s word that they were “meeting their fundraising goals?” The County Board is wasting $156,000 on this, when that money could go to better use – -i.e. helping a non profit that helps the needy. It is a static exhibit and most of the collection is stored in one of the county-owned houses on Edwards Ferry Road that is destined for removal for the new courts complex. The only reason the Museum continues to operate (and get rent free from the Town) is due to the political influence of its board members and some of its contributors. That should not be a reason to keep this going and changing staff is not going to make much of a difference because that has been tried before.

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