Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bacon’s Castle Charrette



a final, intensive effort to finish a project, especially an architectural design project, before a deadline.

At the beginning of the year, Bacon’s Castle went “dark”, meaning we are not offering tours to the general public for all of 2011. Preservation Virginia has been using this twelve month period to study and reevaluate the interpretation and use of the entire forty acre site; including the vernacular outbuildings, slave quarter, grounds, farm land, 17th-century garden and Jacobean brick house. When Bacon’s Castle reopens in March 2012, it will serve as a sustainable resource and a vital destination site that will positively impact Surry County.

How do we know this? Well, because we are asking Surry County residents to take part in this new phase in the life of Bacon’s Castle. Seems simple enough, since this community of 7,000 residents has relied on Bacon’s Castle for four centuries. This site has served Surry County as a site of commerce, as a working plantation and later home to generations of tenant farmers, and in the 20th century as a tourist site drawing thousands of visitors to the region annually. Going forward we hope to continue to serve as a community resource. Clearly, Bacon’s Castle and Surry County are integrally linked in the past and the future.

On October 26th, Preservation Virginia held a charrette, inviting experts in the fields of sustainable agriculture, 17th-century architecture, museology, tourism, archaeology, and more to talk with Surry County business and government leaders and Preservation Virginia staff. Our intention was to find out what Surry County needs and what we can provide. By the end of a full day of touring the site and facilitated discussion we are a step closer to reopening Bacon’s Castle as a productive part of the Surry Community and a fantastic resource for tourists and locals alike. The long-term survival of Bacon’s Castle depends on community engagement and we look forward to working with Surry county residents and leaders as we plan for new programming at the site.

We will keep you posted as we prepare to reopen the site to visitors soon!

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