Drayton Hall executive director to speak at Knox Museum

Aug 17, 2014
Photo by: Wade Lawrence Drayton Hall is located in Charleston, S.C.

Rockland — Knox Museum will present George W. McDaniel, Ph.D., executive director of Drayton Hall, a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Charleston, S.C., in a special presentation on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Montpelier, the big white house at the turn to St. George in Thomaston.

Advance tickets are $12 general admission, $10 museum members, and $15 and $12 at the door.

“Understanding Drayton Hall is relevant to our understanding of 18th-century America and its crucial paradox, the development of self-government in a culture based on slavery,” writes historic preservation author Jane Brown Gillette about America’s oldest unrestored plantation home that is open to the public. Today Drayton Hall stands as a leader in historic preservation, in southern plantation history, and in public education.

Considered one of the finest examples of Georgian-Palladian architecture in the United States, Drayton Hall’s main house is particularly noteworthy for remaining essentially untouched for more than 275 years, as well as for opening its doors for the public to visit without having a stick of period furniture on display. Its grounds too have not been restored to a specific period and display the imprints of seven succeeding generations, making it one of the most significant, undisturbed historic landscapes in America.

McDaniel, who has managed Drayton Hall for 20 years, will speak about the property’s architecture and decorative arts of the 18th century and tell the story of William Henry Drayton, a Revolutionary War leader from South Carolina, who served in the Continental Congress and who may well have known Montpelier’s Gen. Henry Knox. In addition, McDaniel will connect historic preservation to the present day by featuring selections from a recent program produced with The History Channel, in which videotaped oral histories of Drayton descendants convey their feelings about historic preservation and history education.

McDaniel’s appearance at Knox Museum is the result of a series of personal friendships between members of both Knox Museum and Drayton Hall, and through a mutual association with The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America, located at Dumbarton House in Washington, DC. His public presentation at Montpelier is part of a larger three-day board immersion into, and exploration of, broader issues pertaining to historic house maintenance, successful non-profit management, and the challenges posed by the continuing decline of history education in America.

History-buffs, educators, and armchair tourists alike should find Drayton Hall’s stories — of race, family, culture, sacrifice, innovation, and preservation — engaging, and are encouraged to attend.

Seating is limited and advance ticket purchases at knoxmuseum or 354-8062 are recommended.

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