Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Liberty Hall Incorporated

  • FRANKFORT, KY
  • www.libertyhall.org

Mission Statement

Liberty Hall Historic Site (LHHS) serves as a learning center that engages the public in exploring the history, politics, social and cultural life in early Kentucky through the homes, gardens, documents, and artifacts of Senator John Brown and his family.

Main Programs

  1. Children's Programs
  2. Family Programs
  3. Adult Programs
  4. Exhibits
  5. Library & Archives
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Visitors to our museum and gardens are local, national, and international. The majority of the museum's educational programs and special events participants are from the Bluegrass area and Louisville.

ruling year

1964

Principal Officer since 2013

Self-reported

Julienne Foster

Keywords

Self-reported

LHHS, John Brown, Gray Lady, Historic House, Garden

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EIN

61-0469278

 Number

0634634317

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

History Museums (A54)

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

Libraries, Library Science (B70)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

2013 Accomplishments1) We re-branded LHHS with a new color and font scheme, unifying and modernizing our look. Using the new branding, we created print materials (a rack card and member brochure), a museum store identity, on-site outdoor signage, and off-site banners advertising our site and programs. We also created a new website and expanded our social media presence. 2) We created four thematic evening tours: Senator Brown's Neighborhood (a walking tour), Our Beloved Ghost, Life and Liberty, and Kentucky Made.3) We continued to restore and re-interpret rooms in Liberty Hall, curtains were added to the Parlor on the first floor and a second floor bedroom was re-installed as Mary Mason Scott's bedroom, circa 1880. 4) We evaluated the collections for insurance purposes and raised funds to conserve a Paul Sawyier oil painting, using the Power2Give website. 2014 Accomplishments1) We installed three exhibits and a demonstration garden. Exhibits included: Kentucky Made: Decorative Arts from the Liberty Hall Collection (opened March 15, 2014), Dresses of Liberty Hall (March 15-July 5, 2014), and Paul Sawyier's Works (Sept. 12 and Sept.19). A Monarch Butterfly Way Station was also installed in the garden. 2) We worked creatively to acquire the financial and human resources needed to accomplish our strategic goals. We hired five part-time staff. We received $20,000 from the Kentucky Bar Foundation to create the Senator John Brown Library & Archives. Funding was also received from the Snowy Owl Foundation, the Allstate Foundation, the Society of Colonial Wars, Anonymous, and Heritage Preservation, Inc. to implement a Conservation Assessment Program grant. 3) We were recognized for our preservation and educational excellence. We received the Ida Lee Willis Award for Preservation from the Kentucky Heritage Council and the Education Award for the Kentucky Made exhibit from the Kentucky Historical Society. 4) We initiated several new educational programs: home school workshops, Girl Scout workshops, and a QUEST scavenger hunt. 5) We hosted special events for over 3000 people including the National Society of Colonial Dames in America-Kentucky Chapter's annual and region II meetings, the Museum of the Early Southern Decorative Arts' annual meeting, the Early Kentucky Home Life Seminar featuring textile historian, Rabbit Goody, and free family events for the 4th of July and Halloween.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Children's Programs

Margaret Wise Brown Preschool Story Time-Preschool 4 and 5 year old classes are invited to sign up for a monthly story time. Each month features a book by Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon and a descendant of John and Margaretta Brown, and an activity. Held seven times a year. Free.Homeschool Workshops-These two-hour programs feature interactive tours of the historic buildings and grounds, hands-on activities, and other activities that explore early 19th century life.Girl Scout Workshops-Scouts earn the Playing the Past badge. Girl Scouts will become a girl or woman in the Brown household and explore historic room settings, see and sketch early 19th-century clothing styles, and sample period chores and games. The event will culminate with a tea party.Seeds, Weeds, and History Camp-A week long camp, children in grades 2-5, participate in history and garden-related activities.

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Program 2

Family Programs

Thematic and general tours-Brown Family History Tour, Senator Brown's Neighborhood Walking Tour, Life and Liberty Tour, Our Beloved Ghost Tour, and Kentucky Made tour.Old Fashioned Fourth of July-Celebrating our nation's birth with games, crafts, and patriotic pedals contest! Free.Ghosts in the Garden-Trick-or-Treating in the garden and dramatic portrayals of four Liberty Hall ghosts! Free.

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Program 3

Adult Programs

Book Signings and Presentations- Local and national authors who have written about early Kentucky or the Brown family are invited to speak, sell and sign their books.Early Kentucky Home Life Seminar-An annual program, the Early Kentucky Home Life Seminar, is an informative annual seminar that focuses on different aspects of early Kentucky life. Previous seminars have focused on furniture, food, and textiles.Winter Tea-Held in February, the winter tea features Liberty Hall's very own House Blend Tea, made by Elmwood Inn. There are two seatings-one is held at noon and consists of a 5-course luncheon tea and the other is a high tea at 4 pm. A short program is held after the tea. Last year's program was a brief talk about wedding gowns in the 19th century and a display of 3 gowns.

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Program 4

Exhibits

Rotating-Dresses of Liberty Hall and Paul Sawyier's Works are past exhibits. Pen, Paper & Portraiture: Highlights from the Library & Archives is an upcoming exhibit.Permanent- Kentucky Made: Decorative Arts from the Liberty Hall Collection features some of the finest furniture, silver, textiles and fine art from the collection.Traveling- The Brilliant Browns: A Kentucky Family is a 4 banner traveling exhibit

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Population(s) Served

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Program 5

Library & Archives

The Senator Brown Library & Archives contains over 3,000 volumes of books, 150 manuscripts, and 700 photographs. Works of nonfiction in history, government, philosophy, gardening, cooking, and genealogy are displayed alongside a fine collection of early federal publications, books in French, family bibles, and classic fiction. The earliest books in the collection date to the mid-18th century. This important collection is currently being inventoried and cataloged, the Library & Archives will eventually be open to the public for appointment only research.A sneak peek of the library materials will be on a view in an exhibit entitled: Pen, Paper & Portraiture: Highlights from the Library & Archives opening April 2015.

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Population(s) Served

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Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    We have outlined six goals in our strategic plan, they are:Goal 1: Preserve, conserve, and manage the LHHS collections for the benefit of current and future generations.Goal 2: Promote life-long learning through educational experiences designed for a variety of audiences.Goal 3: Maintain and improve LHHS buildings & grounds.Goal 4: Develop a financial plan that supports LHHS and ensures continued growth.Goal 5: Develop the necessary human resources for implementation of LHHS objectives & tasks.Goal 6: Position LHHS as a relevant cultural resource.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Our three-year strategic plan was developed by staff and board members and through the implementation of this plan we hope to reach our goals. The plan is re-examined several times a year in order to update the status of completion of each task. The objectives and tasks in the plan are achievable and the staff and board are held responsible for accomplishing them.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    LHHS is fortunate to have a wealth of internal strengths and resources which make long-term goal attainment possible. The Board of Directors is very dedicated to the success of the organization. As evidence of their commitment, the 22 person board has a 100% annual giving rate. The board is composed of members of the National Society of the Colonial Dames in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Colonial Dames recently received an award from the Kentucky Heritage Council for preservation service, in honor of the organization's excellent work toward preservation at LHHS. The LHHS staff is equally dedicated. Currently those employed in the four professional positions (director, educator, curator, PR/marketing) possess a combined 80 years of museum experience. An independent Conservation Assessment was conducted in 2014. The report covered topics of ownership and operation and noted that the education and experience of the full-time staff make them ideally suited for their positions. Further, it was noted that their enthusiasm and strong working relationship was apparent. The report also found that the depth of experienced part-time staff and volunteers contribute substantially to the museum. In addition to a strong staff and board, internal financial resources provide the baseline funding needed to maintain the LHHS buildings and grounds. These resources include a well-managed endowment. Annual distribution from these investments provides one third of the operating expenses. Funding from the NSCDA-KY provides an additional one third of the budget. The current trend in raising the remaining one third needed to operate the Site is positive. Donations are on the rise, an indication of confidence in the organization's direction and mission. Not resting on current successes, the board's Development Committee is moving forward with efforts to develop a fundraising plan and a marketing plan to include planned giving, membership, and annual fundraising appeals and events. Externally, LHHS has developed creative partnerships with local organizations which are critical in accomplishing our long-term goals. One example is the relationship with our neighbor, The Kentucky Bar Foundation. In recent years, the KBF has generously allowed our organization access to the property for such things as spillover event parking. Most recently KBF committed $20,000 grant toward the preservation of Senator John Brown's Library & Archive. A recent grant from the NEA also gave LHHS an opportunity to partner with local schools, including Kentucky State University, toward the development of an art in public spaces cell phone tour for the City of Frankfort. In addition to working with local schools and businesses, a recent move on the part of the Board of Trustees has been to gain more community input and connection by inviting community members who are not themselves members of the Colonial Dames to work on committee projects for LHHS.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Not available.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Not available.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Visitors to our museum and gardens are local, national, and international. The majority of the museum's educational programs and special events participants are from the Bluegrass area and Louisville.

Funding Needs

1) There are several structural issues at both houses. Per a 2014 conservation assessment grant, an architectural assessor identified two high priority issues at Liberty Hall. The ca. 1810 smokehouse behind Liberty Hall needs to be restored, as it is the only existing out building on the site. The cost of this project is estimated at $15,000. The floor boards on the Liberty Hall back porch need to be replaced with either old growth, reclamation, or highly rot resistant species. The flooring then needs sand/stain or painting to blend repairs as well as enhance the longevity. The foundation requires numerous new concrete footers poured for all wooden support posts (maybe as many 16) as well as some partial repairs. Brick support piers also need repointing, with at least one needing major structural repairs. The cost of this project is estimated to be $15,000-$20,000. At the Orlando Brown House, the kitchen needs to be remodeled and updated to become a certifiable catering kitchen. And the handicap ramp at the Orlando Brown House needs to be repaired; ramp repairs are estimated at $5,000.2) Handicap accessibility at Liberty Hall is needed. A feasibility study needs to be conducted.3) General conservation of our 4000+ collection. An art conservator surveyed 18 oil paintings in the collection and the estimate to conserve them all is: $128,000.4) Event sponsorship is needed on all fundraisers and special events: Bourbon and Browns fundraiser, Early Kentucky Home Life Seminar, Old-Fashioned Fourth of July, Ghosts in the Garden event, and Harvest Dinner. The total sponsorship need is $40,000.5) General operating support is also needed. In addition to distributions from investments and support from the NSCDA-KY, LHHS must generate funding for ongoing operations every year. The cost of doing business is ever increasing. In 2014 $95,000 was needed.

Accreditations

Affiliations + Memberships

American Association for State and Local History

American Association of Museums - Member

photos


External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

LIBERTY HALL INC
Fiscal year: Apr 01-Mar 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Liberty Hall Incorporated

Leadership

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  • Address, phone and website
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Julienne Foster

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"As the finest example of Federal-era architecture in Kentucky, Liberty Hall's authenticity is unparalleled. Nowhere else in the state can general visitors and school children be immersed in early Kentucky domestic life, slavery, politics, decorative arts, and horticulture; all so seamlessly intertwined and carefully preserved than at Liberty Hall. Liberty Hall is the 1796 home of Kentucky's first senator. Sometimes called the ""Father of Kentucky"" for his leadership in making Kentucky a state, John Brown worked for over 20 years on many of the issues that came before Congress, particularly those regarding westward expansion. Although overshadowed in name by another John Brown (the abolitionist) Senator Brown was critically important in shaping our state and our nation as the first US senator of the West. Today Brown's home is Frankfort's only historic house museum, an anchor within the capital city's historic downtown district. As the town's largest public green space, with diligently maintained 19th century orchards and gardens, and displays of native trees, plants, and flowers, the 5-acre site attracts visitors from around the country and delivers a uniquely Kentucky experience. Guided tours, special events, and year-round programs showcase the results of a 12 year/$1.2 million dollar restoration effort. Using the latest technology for recovering information about how the home originally looked, period wallpapers, floor covers, woven textiles, and window treatments have been recreated. The restoration has been accompanied by professional staffing and new interpretation methods designed to increase the Site's value to the state as a learning center for early Kentucky history, politics, social, and cultural life. Recent award-winning exhibitions have resulted in national recognition for an impressive collection of original furnishings including early 19th century paintings, silver, and furniture; some of which are considered masterworks. Senator John Brown's Library & Archive is equally impressive. Funded by a grant from the Kentucky Bar Foundation and scheduled to open in 2016, the library contains over 7,000 rare books, photographs, letters and journals, including Brown's personal copy of the constitution from 1799. LHHS is an organization on the ""grow."" With a willingness to adapt to change, institute successful new educational programs, and plan lively special events, we are making the study of Kentucky's past a Kentucky past-time. "

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Leslie Miller

Genealogist, National Society Sons of the American Revolution, Louisville

Term: Apr 2014 - Mar 2016

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?