The historic site world is a relatively small and collegial one, populated with dedicated and caring professionals. So when a disaster hits one historic site, it’s felt by all of us. When word arrived of the fire at the Governor’s Mansion last weekend, my heart went out to not only to the Governor’s family and the staff there, but all those who have been touched or inspired by that beautiful building. Adding insult to terrible injury is the fact that this fire appears to have been the result of arson. This senseless act goes beyond the destruction of a landmark – its the destruction of our cultural heritage.
Most museum professionals are trained in disaster response and mitigation – which we at Villa Finale were thankful for when Tropical Storm Erin hit last year – but I cannot imagine dealing with something of this magnitude. And yet, the folks that I’ve talked with at the Governor’s Mansion seem to be handling this crisis with incredible grace and positivity. The staff at Villa Finale has offered its assistance documenting the damage if needed, and we look forward to lending a hand. In the mean time, I thought I’d share a statement from Richard Moe, the President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.preservationnation.org):
Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, issued the following statement today regarding the fire at the historic Texas Governor’s Mansion in Austin.
“The devastating fire at the historic Texas Governor’s Mansion is a heartbreaking tragedy for the people of the Lone Star State. I am confident that the remarkable energy of Texans will be directed to the complete restoration of this irreplaceable landmark – and to that end, the National Trust is ready to lend all possible assistance to our partners at the Texas Historical Commission, the Friends of the Governor’s Mansion, Preservation Texas and the Heritage Society of Austin. This is a place that truly matters – not only to Texas but to America – and we’ll work together to raise it from the ashes.”