Moton, LU Continue Pursuit Of Affiliation

Published 4:34 pm Thursday, February 5, 2015

FARMVILLE — The Moton Museum issued an update Wednesday on construction, the naming of the next executive director, finances and progress toward an affiliation with Longwood University.

Both Longwood and Moton continue work on the affiliation, which is not a done deal, Justin Reid stressed in a press release that was an in-house interview with the museum’s associate director.

“Absolutely not,” Reid replied to the done deal question. “Both sides are still doing their homework. All the final papers have not yet been signed or turned in.”

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Reid noted the museum’s community board—the Moton Council—and its staff will retain decision-making authority over property usage, programs, hiring, community relations and fundraising under any affiliation agreement.

“We’ll retain our independent 501c3 tax-exempt, non-profit fundraising status, as established by Moton Museum Founders, the Martha E. Forester Council of Women, in 1996,” Reid states.

The museum approached Longwood about developing a formal affiliation and the idea struck a deep chord with university president, W. Taylor Reveley IV, who told The Herald in June he believes it will assure the museum and its mission flourish “into deep perpetuity.”

Moton Council chair, Dorothy Holcomb, said this summer that “an affiliation with Longwood would help us ensure that the Moton story becomes as well known nationally as it deserves to be. We want to make sure this story is told, and I’m confident this is the best way for us to do so.”

Reid said this summer that “we’ve been working closely with Longwood faculty, staff and students for years now. Having a formal partnership in place would allow us to make even greater use of these resources. This is a good step forward for Moton, Longwood and the community.”

In Monday’s Moton update, Reid said the museum would also continue to partner with other colleges and universities, “especially our local institutions, Hampden-Sydney College and Southside Virginia Community College; and Virginia’s historically black colleges and universities.”

Reid also expressed faith Monday in “President Reveley’s vision of Longwood becoming a leading small, state-supported, liberal arts university, that’s safe, and more inclusive and welcoming to the whole community.”

As for who will be Moton’s next executive director, Reid said it will be “someone carefully vetted by the Moton Council, Board of Trustees and current staff. The formal search has not yet begun.”

And he added, “former director Lacy Ward, Jr., isn’t interested.”

The museum’s update also poses the question, How much money does the museum have?

And Reid replies, “Enough to keep our doors open and teach the school children and families who currently visit every month. Like churches and other community and charity organizations, we heavily rely on donations, grants, sponsors, and good-spirited friends and volunteers.”

He described the museum as “economically conservative. We strive to live below our means; we don’t spend it until we earn it. In the last year, we’ve become leaner and more efficient. Our highest paid employee makes a competitive Southside Virginia, beginning teacher’s salary.”

As for construction of the tar paper shack replica, that work should be completed by the end of April.