Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fall 2010 Newsletter

To get the picture-filled version, download here.

Our annual New Moon Festival was a day of fun for the Hillsboro community! Although the weather was cold and rainy, a crowd of more than 50 came to watch Tears of Joy Theatre’s puppet show, Little One Inch.

Many of them stayed for home-cooked food, fresh-pressed apple cider, and a set by the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys. Thanks to all who braved the elements to support us, and a special
thanks to all those who volunteered!

Overall, our season was successful. 1152 guests took a tour of the Birthplace, and many more stopped to take in the beautiful scenery of the Little Levels. 20 volunteers were kind enough to assist with our various events around the Birthplace. A special thanks to all of them! If you’d like to volunteer at the Birthplace, please contact VISTA Emily Lassiter at We could always use a helping hand!

Over the summer, the Birthplace participated in the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Conservation Assessment Program (CAP), which has provided us with direction in determining our repair priorities. Facilities and collections assessors both identified areas of concern, which have been added to our list of critical repairs; our total funding needs top $100,000. Once we raise $100,000 in construction funds, the USDA’s Rural Development division has kindly agreed to match 15%, or $15,000.

Since the museum closed last fall, we’ve raised $22,640 in funds for repairs. This includes:

· $5,000 from the Snowshoe Foundation for regravelling our driveway and walks
· $5,640 in state development grants to repair leaking windows
· $6,000 from state senator Walt Helmick, to match the state development grant

We are also happy to announce that the Snowshoe Foundation has given us $5,000 for repairs during their 2010 funding season. We’ll use this money to install a French drain system, which will ameliorate the moisture problems that have accumulated over the years, including mildew and spalling damage to the brick foundation. Thanks to the Snowshoe Foundation for helping us achieve our renovation goals!

We recently applied for $3,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to apply vinyl UV ray-blocking filters to the windows of the Stulting house; their decision will be announced in the spring.

The Birthplace’s manuscript appraisal project, which was funded by the West Virginia Humanities Council, recently concluded. Willis VanDevanter, an appraiser who has worked with the papers of such luminaries as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Margaret Mead, examined Pearl Buck’s manuscripts. The manuscripts are currently held at West Virginia Wesleyan University. We expect a final report from Mr. VanDevanter soon and excitedly await opportunities to share this invaluable resource with the scholarly world.

In other news, we will be holding a Christmas open house this weekend. Please join us on Saturday, December 4th, from 1-4 pm. The Stulting home, birthplace of Pearl Buck, will be decorated for Christmas; volunteers will provide free tours. We’ll have refreshments, as well as Christmas crafts and gifts. We hope to see you there!

Over the winter months, if you’d like to contact us, please email

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