Annual Appeal 2017
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Dear Friends of Old Westbury Gardens,
Country houses represent an essential aspect of American history and Old Westbury Gardens is truly remarkable as one of the few that remain intact, retaining not only Westbury House and the gardens, but also its furnishings and works of art. Our commitment to protecting Long Island’s most significant historic landmark is unwavering and a long range strategic plan has set in motion key initiatives that will ensure Old Westbury Gardens will be preserved for generations to come.
This year the Gardens completed Phase II of the restoration of the South Allée. This character defining feature was originally designed as a three-tiered planting — a Hemlock Hedge, Flowering Dogwoods, and towering European Lindens as the overstory. While the Lindens remain in pristine condition, the Dogwoods were in decline and the Hedge was out of scale and severely damaged in Superstorm Sandy. A three-year effort was launched to replace the Hedge and plant hundreds of new Dogwoods. The project will be completed in spring 2018, and visitors will be enchanted to see the South Allée restored to its original splendor with the new Hedge and a profusion of pink and white Flowering Dogwoods alongside the majestic Lindens. As a result of this preservation effort, Old Westbury Gardens was awarded the prestigious Garden Club of America New York State Historic Preservation Commendation.
Also being completed this year is the restoration of the Service Wing Portico and Courtyard at Westbury House. An addition to Westbury House in 1911, the Service Wing was the main entrance for domestic operations. The original portico was removed in the 1970’s due to structural instability, and thanks to generous donors we are now restoring this important façade of Westbury House. The Service Wing entrance will serve as a hub for expanded house tours and community programming in 2018.
The Gardens has been in the planning phase to replace the 111 year old roof of Westbury House. Our roof, sheathed in Collyweston slate, is the only one of its kind in the United States. While procuring the original slate material last year, we learned that the mine, that had provided slate for illustrious buildings in the U.K. for 600 years, had been closed for 60 years and there were no other sources available. After I visited the Collyweston region last spring, we were excited to learn that in January 2017, the mine reopened and the Gardens can now proceed with the restoration of this unique and distinctive roof.
As we continue to enhance our preservation efforts, the Gardens expanded youth education outreach and developed creative new public programs designed to deepen appreciation and raise awareness of our historically significant site. In 2017, Old Westbury Gardens welcomed over 7,500 children, many of whom participated in our Environmental Education program designed to enrich the science concepts taught in the classroom. Our beautifully preserved site becomes an outdoor classroom where children can explore and learn about the natural world.
This year, for the first time, we hosted a major outdoor art exhibit featuring the works of internationally renowned sculptor Seward Johnson. The success of the exhibit was unprecedented and new and returning visitors came from all over the region. Exhibits like these, which complement the historic relevance of the Gardens and enhance the visitor experience, introduce a new audience to the beauty and splendor of Old Westbury Gardens and give our members and returning visitors a chance to engage with the Gardens in exciting new ways.
Finally, our most important - but little known - project is the restoration of the Old Westbury Gardens archives. Few historic houses have the depth and quality of records as those at Old Westbury Gardens, including architectural drawings for the buildings and grounds, 8,000 pieces of correspondence chronicling 150 years of American history, 2,000 photographs, and rare film footage of family life. Much effort has already been made to bring the archives up to modern standards by retaining a professional archivist, improving environmental controls, and increasing storage capacity. We are working to conserve imperiled documents, expand the information database and digitize collections. Restoring the archives is the foundation of the Gardens’ future and our opportunity to faithfully preserve and interpret all that is so special about Old Westbury Gardens and the history of Long Island.
The Gardens deeply appreciates your interest and confidence in the organization. Each year the Annual Appeal provides the all-important funds required to keep the organization moving toward our exciting future. Many have already made a donation to the 2017 Annual Appeal and we are deeply grateful. If you have yet to make a gift, we would love to count you as a supporter and partner so that we can ensure Old Westbury Gardens will continue to thrive and grow.
It means so much to have you as a friend of Old Westbury Gardens. Please visit the Gardens soon and experience the splendor of the holidays at our remarkable and unique Long Island landmark.
President & CEO
If you wish to mail a check, please make it payable to Old Westbury Gardens and send it to P.O. Box 430, Old Westbury, NY 11568. Thank you!
For a copy of our most recent financial report or our 990 report please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.