Thursday, July 14, 2011

More on Reinventing the Historic House (while Saving the World)

Over a thousand readers perused the post on director Laurie Ossman’s strategies to improve Woodlawn’s future through partnering with restaurateur Michael Babin to create the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture.

Arcadia is dedicated to growing a sustainable food system and culture in the Washington, D.C. area, creating a rallying point and collaborative space for local efforts and initiatives around better food. By partnering with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Michael Babin wants to improve community health by providing education about good food and creating connections between local farms and the urban core, suburbs and surrounding areas.

Woodlawn gets a working farm, true to its agricultural roots. Michael gets access to primo land barely 15 miles from downtown D.C. Match made in heaven, yes?

But is this partnership so rare as to be unique? Many of the comments you’ve lobbed my way about this story have been along the lines of “that’s great, but it’s so specific to Woodlawn! How could a model like this work for my museum? What are the key factors for success?”

I recently visited Woodlawn to see the farm-in-progress first-hand, and invited Laurie and Michael to address these questions. Here are some snippets from that interview. (Background music provided by the helicopters of nearby Davison Army Airfield at Fort Belvoir):

Stay tuned for a longer excerpt from this conversation, which will appear in the September/October issue of Museum.

To explore ways museums can improve their financial sustainability and grow their audience through food-related projects, educate kids about healthy eating and help communities tackle food issues, join us in Pittsburgh on Oct. 13 for “Feeding the Spirit,” a national symposium on museums, food and community.

No comments: