Back in the Office

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
November 21, 2014

After six weeks away from home while traveling to state visits, Board meetings, our Scotland trip and visiting chapters in six countries in Europe and the United Kingdom, it was wonderful to have two weeks catching up at home with family.  However, I always enjoy being in the office and returned to Washington this week.  The days were packed full of meetings, including building updates, Congress plans, project updates, a department head meeting, 125th anniversary plans and many others.  Curator General Jennie Rehnberg joined me for one afternoon to discuss Museum related topics.  I learned the Development Office is holding a contest to guess the final number of charter sustaining supporters we will have at the end of the year.  Your support of this automatic giving program is already making a huge difference!

The volunteers have begun decorating our buildings for the holidays in preparation for the Christmas Open House on December 10 in which we open the doors on 17th Street and invite the public for hot chocolate, cookies, holiday music, and of course, a visit from Santa.

The new DAR Museum exhibit, “Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia,” has attracted a great deal of attention and garnered some nice press since it’s opening in October. Some of the media coverage has included a piece featured on a Baltimore NPR affiliate radio program, a newspaper article highlighting one of the quilters on display who was from Frederick, Md., and a number of blog posts. And this week alone there were seven scheduled tours of the exhibit which keep the Museum staff and Docents very busy.

About 25% of our chapters have sent in dues for 2015 and the Organizing Secretary General’s office is busy opening envelopes, scanning the checks and remittance forms and entering the information into our database.  Please be sure your chapter’s dues are postmarked by December 1!

A highlight of the week was welcoming the Library of Congress Gershwin Awards to Constitution Hall for the first time.  Billy Joel was the recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song and the evening featured a star studded group of performers, including Tony Bennett, Boyz II Men, Gavin DeGraw, Michael Feinstein, Josh Groban (who told me he loves performing in Constitution Hall), Natalie Maines, John Mellencamp, LeAnn Rimes, Kevin Spacey and the Twyla Tharp Dancers.  It was a pleasure to welcome the 13th Librarian of Congress, Dr. James H. Billington and his wife to the President General’s Reception Room.  Other presenters included Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Senator Patrick Leahy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Candice Miller and Congressman Gregg Harper.

Almost every seat in Constitution Hall was filled – and this was an invitation only event!  It was such fun to share with the evening with Kala Harvey, a member of the España Chapter whom I met in Madrid, and a friend of her family, José Montero.  The evening began with “Everybody Has a Dream” and as I sat there looking at the capacity crowd, I was reminded of how crowded the Hall was when I first began attending Congress in 1980.  My dream is that we will again have that many members present at Congress to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our chapters.

After the finale featuring a rousing rendition of “Piano Man” including the entire cast, we were invited to a reception in the O’Byrne Gallery, Library and Pennsylvania Foyer.  It’s amazing to see how our building can be transformed for special events and a thrill to hear others comment on the beauty of our facilities.  The presentation will air on PBS at 9:00 P.M. ET on January 2.  I’ve already set my DVR to record it!

The next morning Kala and José returned for a too brief tour of the building. Kala became a Benefactor of the President General’s project in memory of her father, and it was an honor to personally present her Benefactor pin.

I absolutely love showing off our House Beautiful and sharing the story of the remarkable women who built and sustained it.  Thank you so very much for so generously supporting our buildings and our projects so that NSDAR can continue impacting the lives of so many.

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