Hampton, of the county's community services department,
confirmed that an agreement ending the nearly four-year-old
dispute has been reached. It will be 'ratified' at an event in
the mansion on Mar. 8, she said.
Executive Thomas Gordon, in a statement, hailed the agreement as
paving the way to "make Rockwood the first-class museum it
deserves to be." He previously has referred to Rockwood Mansion
Park, off Washington Street Extension just north of Wilmington,
as the 'crown jewel' of the county parks system.
it's great," said Rose Abbott, president of the volunteer
organization. She said the group intends to remain in existence
with the intention of "helping the advisory committee and the
dispute arose a few years ago when the county began a major
redevelopment of the 72 acre property which had received minimal
attention under previous administrations and was operated then,
mostly on a volunteer basis, by the Friends.
furnishings became a bone of contention when the advisory group
decided that the museum, once the home of the Bringhurst family,
should be 'interpreted' as of 1895. Most of the items in the
Friends-assembled collection had been acquired later than that
by the Bringhursts, who had moved there only a few years
earlier. Victorian Age refer to the reign of British Queen
Victoria from 1837 to 1901.
Historical and esthetical considerations aside, the Friends
admittedly were miffed that the organization was not given an
instrumental role in developing the county's plan for the
property. As a result, the Friends pulled the furniture out and
put it into storage. Both the organization and the county
claimed ownership. Although litigation was threatened, the
dispute never reached that stage.
to the agreement, released by county spokesman Tom Hubbard, some
of the furniture and other items in question will be taken
out of storage and put back into the mansion. The rest will
remain in outside commercial storage until the planned visitors
center is constructed on the property. A portion of the
collection not on permanent display will then be stored in the
center. Abbott said the organization will then help to "weed
out" items that would be inappropriate or are in too poor a
condition to be displayed.
county has agreed to hire McKelvey Museum Services to determine
which items will be taken from storage for immediate display, to
keep the rest of the collection intact for four years and to
"defer to the professional guidance, advice and expertise" of
the advisory committee concerning ultimate disposition of the
rest of the collection.
agreement provides for the committee to be increased from seven
to nine members with Gordon appointing the additional two
members from a list of candidates provided by the Friends
which will include the organization's directors and up to five
Friends organization has agreed to give up any claim to
ownership of the furnishings, which Abbott acknowledged had been
given to or purchased for the museum, which the last Bringhurst
heir had left to the county as a public resource.
organization also agreed to give up any claim to about six acres
along Shipley Road, which the county agreed will remain "an
integral part" of the park.
The organization will be allowed to
keep its treasury to pay for continued storage of the
furnishings and to finance additional acquisitions, programs and
other activities benefiting the park and museum. It will be
required to furnish annual reports detailing such spending.