Blogging Along the Brandywine

President
Ford once made the statement, “Our long national nightmare is over.”

I
woke up Sunday morning, feeling the same way. The sun was up, birds were singing,
an autumn breeze was clearing the air, and after 4 years, I was finally free.

It
all started in 1998 when I was winding down from 14 years with the Brandywine
Battlefield Park Associates, having served as president, vice president and
secretary. I approached Sanderson Museum founding curator Tommy Thompson about
becoming a guide at the 8-room history museum on Creek Road.

After
all, Sanderson had lived in the original Washington Headquarters – it would be
a perfect fit. And although I had never met the late Mr. Sanderson, I felt a
kinship as we both had a propensity for hording…uh… I mean collecting.

And
a museum with Andy Wyeth as its founding president … awesome! I signed on as a
guide.

At
one point I mentioned if there was ever a vacancy on the board, as former
B.B.P.A. president, I would be pleased to do whatever I could to help.

Less
than a year later museum President Richard McLellan stood in front of me with
an official looking envelope and asked,

“So Sally Jane, do you accept your
nomination to the Sanderson Board?”

“Yes,
yes I do!” I answered.

And
his next words will forever ring in my ears, 

“Congratulations
– you’re vice president!”

What?      

I
lay low through the next two to three board meetings. We only had one meeting a
year and a board that left all the work to McLellan.

I
began the task of re-writing the 1967 bylaws, instituted quarterly board
meetings and required the guides and other volunteers to keep track of their
hours.

Then
in the spring of 2005 McLellan made another one of those fateful statements.

“On
July 13, I turn 80 years old, and as of that date, I resign from the
presidency.”

And
that, dear readers, is how I became the fourth president of the Sanderson
Museum.

So
we created an emeritus board for members whose tenure had gone on past 15 years
and assembled a dream team.

We
honored our founders with a permanent bronze plaque; made necessary repairs;
hooked up to the township sewer system; installed a security system; computerized
our financial records; bought D&O Insurance to protect our volunteers;
started computerizing our museum collection; acquired an accountant and a pro
bono attorney; held monthly steering committee meetings; wrote a long term
strategic plan including new mission and vision statements; wrote a museum
guide handbook and made lots of new friends.

But
the board's wisest move was bringing Susan M. Minarchi on to the board.  

Have
you driven past the museum in the past few weeks?  Big change! Thanks to Sue’s experience as a corporate
project manager, this summer has seen the museum restored to its glory of the
1840’s along with all new signage.

And
since I was getting old being up way past 1:30 a.m., working at the Sanderson’s
on-line communication site, pretending to be organized and trying to keep my
sanity, I stepped down at the end of my second term.

And
that’s how board presidents are elected.

Yes,
I’ll still be on the Sanderson board, but wow…this feels so good!  Thanks Sue! 

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About Sally Denk Hoey

Sally Denk Hoey, is a Gemini - one part music and one part history. She holds a masters degree cum laude from the School of Music at West Chester University. She taught 14 years in both public and private school. Her CD "Bard of the Brandywine" was critically received during her almost 30 years as a folk singer. She currently cantors masses at St Agnes Church in West Chester where she also performs with the select Motet Choir. A recognized historian, Sally serves as a judge-captain for the south-east Pennsylvania regionals of the National History Day Competition. She has served as president of the Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates as well as the Sanderson Museum in Chadds Ford where she now curates the violin collection. Sally re-enacted with the 43rd Regiment of Foot and the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment for 19 years where she interpreted the role of a campfollower at encampments in Valley Forge, Williamsburg, Va., Monmouth, N.J. and Lexington and Concord, Mass. Sally is married to her college classmate, Thomas Hoey, otherwise known as "Mr. Sousa.”

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