The Loudoun Museum board of trustees will begin 2019 with a rosy outlook, and armed with a new lease from the Town of Leesburg.
Following a tumultuous second half of 2018, which saw its executive director terminated and its remaining staff resign, museum doors have been shut since the summer. But support for the museum’s restructuring remains strong on the Leesburg Town Council, which also doubles as its landlord because the town owns the buildings in which the museum operates.
The council and museum trustees recently discussed the need for a new lease, as the museum has been operating in a holdover position for 16 years. The original lease was executed in 1998.
The new five-year lease, agreed to Dec. 11 in a 6-1 vote, continues the rate of $1 per year, with the town responsible for repairs and maintenance to all major systems in the buildings. The museum is responsible for utility payments and all routine maintenance. The holdover provision in the new lease was removed by request of a majority of the council.
There were no specific operational performance standards included in the lease, although it does cite the expectation that the museum will be open to the public a minimum of 46 hours a week.
Museum board president Michael O’Connor said last week that expectations are that the museum will reopen in January, under the direction of the museum’s newly hired executive director, Joseph Rizzo. The museum is also in the midst of a capital campaign to pay for extensive improvements to the space.
Vice Mayor Suzanne Fox was the lone dissenter on the vote.