Goings and Comings at Villa Finale

Villa Finale has had an off-site storage unit for two years now.  Why? Because Walter Mathis, in his plan for Villa Finale as a museum and not a home, thought it would be nice for the future museum Director to have his or her own abode.  So, he kept 414 King William Street for that purpose, and before it was given to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, he used it as a sort of “attic” – filling it with items collected from various places or things that no longer had a home at Villa Finale.  After Mr. Mathis passed away and before the official transition of the site began, the contents of the house were moved to storage.  

After a lot of careful thought and some consternation, the Villa Finale Advisory Board and staff decided that it would be beneficial for the museum if we disposed of these un-accessioned items.  Every object a museum accessions (basically, agrees to keep permanently) must be given the highest standard of care the museum can muster.  As these items really had nothing to do with Villa Finale, it seemed logical to dispose of them rather than accession them and pouring limited resources into caring for and storing this unrelated group of furniture.  National Trust and Villa Finale policy states that the group must be sold at public auction. 

The staff and Board are prohibited from buying any of these things, as that would represent a conflict of interest.  For all those non-museum readers out there, conflict of interest is very serious business in the museum world.  For example, if the Chairman of the Board at the Cat Whisker Museum decided it was a great idea to put Morris the Cat’s full set of whiskers up for sale, and forced staff and board to concur, and then we found, at the Chairman’s next cocktail party, Morris’s whiskers displayed on his mantle, this would be a conflict of interest.  He is conflicting with the health and well-being of the museum for his own personal gain. 

That aside, yes, we are selling Mr. Mathis’s things, but they are in no way related to the museum proper.  And all proceeds from this sale will be placed in a restricted fund to be used only for the conservation of collections within Villa Finale. 

Vogt Auction Galleries will hold the auction next Tuesday, November 25th.   They have a great web site, www.vogtauction.com , if any reader wishes to have a look at the pictures of the things available.  They will also, per the usual, have a viewing, with champagne, from 11 a.m. until the start of the auction at 7 p.m.

Having something of Walter’s is appealing to some,  and if you are unrelated to the National Trust or Villa Finale, you are welcome to bid!  Which leads me to a way you can sort of  get a piece of Villa Finale, if you click on this link:    

Nest Fest | mySA.com

The headline alarmed the entire staff here, as we thought word had gotten out erroneously that we really were selling bits of the museum in an auction.  But, much to our relief, it was all about moulding!   Lowe’s is selling a number of beautiful mouldings, chair rails and crown and base moulding, inspired by those in select National Trust sites, including our own Villa Finale.  A very exciting prospect for those who need a “little something” to jazz up their ceiling!


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