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Supervisors send $156K Loudoun Museum’s way

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors extended another lifeline to the Loudoun Museum May 19 by agreeing to a new set of funding for the long-ailing nonprofit. Supervisors approved $156,000 in tourism-restricted tax dollars for the museum contingent on the nonprofit agreeing to a forthcoming memorandum of understanding drafted by the county.

The Leesburg-based exhibit, the only general history and cultural museum of Loudoun, holds more than 8,000 local artifacts.

A portion of the new funding will go toward hiring a new development manager. Additionally, the county plans to offer development services to the museum through the MOU that will contain specific terms and conditions, including fundraising and revenue metrics.

The motion passed 6-2-1, with Supervisors Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run) and Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) opposed. Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) was absent due to an overseas economic development trip.

“We've dealt with this every year for several years, and we've never made progress,” said Vice Chairman Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn). “They've missed their plan. We've put more money in, they've missed their plan, we've put more money in. I do like some of the things that would go into the MOU, like 'give or get' – if you're on the board of the Loudoun Museum, either raise the money or write a check out of your checking account.”

Despite his reservations, Buona said he's willing to give it one more chance.

Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg), the former mayor of Leesburg, said she hopes the money helps the museum get on the right track. Last year the county allocated more than $90,000 to the museum.

“I think the Loudoun Museum can be a marvelous attraction for the county and the town,” said Umstattd. “I think if the museum works closely with county staff and meets the standards that are set out, it can reach that goal.”

Alanna Blumenthal, the museum's curator and only full-time paid staff member, called the museum and its 50-years worth of collected history a “rare gem” in a 2015 interview with the Times-Mirror.

“I just feel like the community needs it,” Blumenthal said. “It would be a waste of so much hard work and potential. It’s the kind of thing that if it’s gone you can never get it back.”

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