#MoreThanASeat

Written by: Denise Doring VanBuren, President General
December 2, 2019

We are finally here! Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, when our focus will be the restoration of seats in DAR Constitution Hall, as we seek to have 1,000 of them adopted by the end of the year. I am exceptionally proud that thanks to a jumpstart by members of the Development Committee and many generous Daughters, we are already almost half way there. Tomorrow will be exciting, indeed, as we see how many more seats will be adopted toward our shared goal.

Our “#MoreThanASeat” campaign affords you the opportunity to adopt a seat for $300. Your generous support will be recognized on our headquarters President General’s Donor Wall, as well as the National Society’s Digital Donor Wall. You may choose to dedicate your seat in honor or in memory of someone or something – e.g. I chose to adopt mine in memory of my New York Patriot ancestors.

If you are active on Facebook, you may have seen dozens of members sharing how important DAR Constitution Hall is to them. Daughters described their personal stories via video to explain why, to them, it is, indeed, so much #MoreThanASeat!  I was inspired by their posts, and I hope that you were as well.  They were moved, in part, by the generosity of a Daughter who will anonymously match the first $10,000 to our Giving Tuesday campaign dollar for dollar.  I hope that you will join us in this campaign and double the impact of your participation through her generous gift, as we prepare to remove, reupholster, restore and reset the seats in our storied auditorium.

You may recall that a similar effort allowed us to refurbish the 4,000+ seats in DAR Constitution Hall during the 1990s. Twenty five years of use by an estimated 12.5 million people through thousands of performances, concerts, graduations and special events have taken their “wear-and-tear” toll on the seats since that last restoration. It is our hope that the small recognition plaques on the seats from that prior restoration will remain as part of the historic provenance of our auditorium. However, this cannot be confirmed until the restoration commences and experts examine the impact of adhesives, screw damage, wood condition etc. If they cannot be preserved, they will collected and entered into our archives for posterity.

The rows of chairs in DAR Constitution Hall represent so much more than a collection of seats. Each one is a witness to our past. Each one tells a story about the performances and people who have made history in our Hall. Each one is a reminder of the women who built our headquarters complex, sustained our Society through the decades and took pride in operating a world-class auditorium in the heart of our nation’s capital.

Last week, I shared a blog that provided a high-level overview of DAR Constitution Hall: The Next Act, a major component of our President General’s Project. It is the largest such effort ever untaken during one DAR administration, and I am so grateful to all of you who have expressed interest in being a part of this historic restoration – the first in a quarter century.

We have recently mailed our 16-page booklet, In the Spotlight: Restoring DAR Constitution Hall, illustrating many of the facets of the Phase III project, to all of our supporters who have contributed to similar projects in recent years. I hope that those who receive it will take time to review it and consider adding their support. Contributions to the campaign are tax-deductible, qualify for Heritage Club Credit and are completely voluntary, and I am so grateful to those of you who have the ability to be of assistance.  The booklet outlines many opportunities for individuals, chapters and states to participate.  Should you not receive the booklet before yearend and would like to know more about how you can be part of this historic legacy, please contact the Development Office at 1-800-449-1776 to request your copy.

Since our 1890 founding, more than 1 million Daughters have together accomplished astounding things. We have welcomed more than 1 million members; we are proud to hold the highest of genealogical and historical standards; we have served our nation and our communities in myriad and meaningful ways; we have constructed and operate what are considered to be among the world’s finest genealogical libraries and museums.

And, we have been outstanding stewards of a National Historic Landmark performing arts venue, which now requires our attention. Please join me by adopting a seat to begin our first major restoration in a quarter century.  It’s More Than a Seat – because ours is more than an ordinary society.

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