Sunday, June 16, 2024

JYF Board Gets Update on Museum Construction, Student Visitation, Plan for New Logos

The plan for the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees received an update Friday on the construction of its new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, which has run into a few very minor setbacks but is still on track for completion in 2016. The Board also heard an update on education programming, which included news that student visits were slightly lower last year, and it learned that JYF will be creating new logos soon.

The new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown (ARMY), which will eventually replace the current Yorktown Victory Center, started its first phase of construction this year. It will eventually be an 80,000-square-foot facility with expanded exhibit galleries, classroom and event space and expanded outdoor exhibits, all located on the current Center’s 22-acre site.

JYF Executive Director Phil Emerson explained that the new museum will be 25 percent larger than the current Victory Center, and will have 64,000 square feet of living history area in the new outdoor camp, compared to the current 16,000 square feet. It will also have 77,400 square feet of new outdoor farm area, compared to the current 64,000 square feet.

The new facilities can host over 400 guests, and will have 3,000 square feet of classroom space with a total of five classrooms that can be consolidated into one space with sliding walls. The new space will also have four theaters. New parking spaces will accommodate 206 cars and 21 buses.

JYF Deputy Executive Director of Administration Jeff Lunsford gave the Board a brief construction update at its Friday meeting.

The project is still in its first phase, which includes demolishing the parking area on the Water Street side of the property (which started in July) and installing new landscaping in some areas. Staff and signage will help visitors navigate the construction areas and some extra programming and exhibits during construction will increase the value of guests’ tickets during the expansion process, he noted.

Construction has paused briefly now due to utility conflicts regarding water line placement, Lunsford said. He expects the issue with Newport News Waterworks to be resolved very soon and anticipates work will start again by December.

Lunsford also said that, due to a miscommunication with construction crews, a mature vegetative buffer near the water consisting mainly of loblolly pines was accidentally demolished.

The team overseeing the project plans to move trees from another part of the project over to replace what was lost, and the team will look for other savings to help augment the landscaping. Lunsford said the team will improve communication with construction crews moving forward.

The next phase of work – which will include the demolition of the remaining parking lot, the construction of the new museum and the addition of more parking spaces – will be completed by the summer of 2014. Although the current farm site will be reduced by 20 percent, the existing facilities will remain open during this period.

The third phase, when the current visitor orientation, gallery and maintenance buildings will be demolished and the picnic area and new farm site will be improved, should be completed by the winter of 2015.

The final phase should be completed by late 2016. Visit the JYF website for more information about the project.

Structured Education Programs

JYF Director, Outreach Education and Special Services Pam Pettengell offered the Board an update on JYF’s structured education programs including student participation levels over the last year.

The Foundation offers two types of programs, on-site education and outreach education. During the 2011-12 school year the outreach program served 90,639 students in 105 districts, which was higher than the target of 86,800 students.

The on-site program served 202,127 students, slightly lower than the 209,337 students reached the year previous. Pettengell noted that this trend was expected, as school systems were still dealing with funding issues. Cost affected travel, she said, as did school schedules, testing and other school and district travel restrictions.

This is in line with the visitation numbers JYF reported earlier this year: paid visitation at the two living-history museums totaled 586,341 in 2011, a decline of 1.5 percent from 2010, while admission sales amounted to $5,167,050, an increase of 4.2 percent.

Teachers offered excellent reviews of the on-site program, Pettengell said. Projections for the current academic year are 80,000 students for the outreach program and 195,000 for the on-site program, which reflects the expected continuing trend of reduced school travel.

Pettengell said JYF helps school systems coordinate bus services for visits and it tries to reduce the high cost of bus travel for school groups.

Board members seemed concerned about the trend, and asked how they might be able to help (many Board members are state elected officials). Pettengell suggested they talk to school divisions in their areas.

Teachers’ evaluations of JYF education programs are very high, according to a report included in the Board agenda packet. Over 99 percent of teachers would recommend both the on-site and outreach programs to others.

New Logos

Emerson told the Board that the Foundation plans to create new logos for the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and for Jamestown Settlement, to support on-site and off-site identification and promotion of the museums.

A Request for Proposals will be sent out soon to designers, with recommendations expected to go before the Board next May. The new logo for the Settlement will be implemented next summer or fall, with the new ARMY logo out in 2016 to coincide with the new building’s completion.

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