Friends of Philipse Manor Hall Enhance Visibility with PTNY Support

Friends of Philipse Manor Hall Board members talk with guests during the recent concert gala at the historic site.

Friends of Philipse Manor Hall Board members talk with guests during the recent concert gala at the historic site.

As one of the first groups selected for PTNY’s Friends’ Technical Assistance Program (TAP), the Friends of Philipse Manor Hall have been working with PTNY staff on board development and engagement, as well as to enhance their communications to attract new members and volunteers. The results have been fruitful; the Friends have had a busy year and people are taking notice.

Since last summer the Friends have added four new board members with diverse skills and expertise and have been hosting more events at the site, such as walking tours, free member-only docent-led tours of Philipse Manor Hall, and interesting and relevant lectures, all of which has increased their visibility in the community. In addition, the Friends purchased a banner to use when tabling at events, launched a new website that is updated regularly, and have been sending regular email communications. In June, the Friends hosted a successful fundraising concert gala.

One of the exciting things the Friends have done is organize three art exhibitions at the site’s community gallery:

  • Local sculptor Vinnie Bagwell’s Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden Exhibit to commemorate the enslaved Africans who resided at Philipse Manor Hall in Yonkers. The Friends sponsored the exhibit’s opening reception, making admission to the site during the event free.
  • A Photographic Exhibition of Yonkers in the Victorian Era with over 40 images of historic Yonkers, dating from 1860 through the end of the Victorian Era.
  • An exhibit featuring historic and folk art paintings by Madge Scott, a local artist whose work reflects her Jamaican heritage. The Friends chose pieces that reflected the African-American music showcased at the concert gala, including a portrait of Billy Holiday that Madge generously donated for the evening’s auction.

“The TAP program has been a gift to the Friends of Philipse Manor Hall,” says Shannon Daugherty, president of the Friends’ board. “The advice and guidance we’ve received from Laura DiBetta and PTNY has been invaluable as we’ve reorganized our board and built stronger connections in the community. As volunteers we have great enthusiasm for the Manor Hall, but we don’t always have the knowledge and expertise to translate that enthusiasm into effective programming. TAP gave us the tools we needed to focus on our strengths, pinpoint our weaknesses, and plan for the future.”

Next up for the Friends is participating in Yonkers’ annual Riverfest celebration, the organization’s annual membership meeting, and developing programs for 2015.

Launched in January 2013, the Friends Technical Assistance Program (TAP) provides one-one-one capacity building support to Friends group that support the state park system.

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