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Preservation Greensboro tunes to bluegrass

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Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Blandwood, the four-acre estate in downtown Greensboro that was the home of former Gov. John Motley Morehead, houses the offices of Preservation Greensboro Inc. and its flagship mansion and museum shop.

But the nonprofit does more than operate the museum, and it wants the community to know more about its programs.

To raise awareness about its work, and to raise funds to support it, Preservation Greensboro in September has been hosting a Sunday bluegrass series for families.

In addition to music and kids’ activities, the series will highlight the work of Preservation Greensboro, including its initiatives to salvage and resell architectural items, and to broker the sale of historic properties.

“We do so much more than run the property” at Blandwood, says Daniel C. Craft, president of Craft Insurance Center and president of the board of Preservation Greensboro.

Formed in 1966, Preservation Greensboro operates with an annual budget of $350,000 and a staff of two people working full-time and one working part-time.

With an endowment totaling roughly $200,000,  receives funding from the city of Greensboro and Guilford County, from an annual fund and private grants, and through the Blandwood Ball, a fundraising event it holds every other year and is next scheduled for 2010.

The group also generates revenue from a museum shop it operates at Blandwood and from renting the Blandwood carriage house for special events.

And its Architectural Salvage initiative generates roughly $60,000 a year from the sale of items such as doors, mantels, molding and bathroom fixtures salvaged from
historic properties.

Preservation Greensboro also operates the Development Fund, a revolving fund that works with owners of historic properties to help facilitate the transfer of the properties to other owners, sometimes serving as an intermediary that buys and resells the property.

The group consults on restoration or other preservation activities involving up to 100 properties a year.

The Development Fund, for example, is looking for a buyer for an historic one-family house in East Greensboro donated to it in July.

Preservation Greensboro also offers programs ranging from educational seminars to walking tours.

The group aims to raise $15,000 from this month’s Bluegrass series, which the group plans to make an annual event.

Held each Sunday in September, Bluegrass@Blandwood features live music from bluegrass, folk and Americana bands, plus concessions, along with free activities for children.

The Blandwood mansion and museum shop also are open for the series, and Preservation Greensboro volunteers are available to talk about the group’s annual fund drive
and its programs.

“We need to expand what we can do for historic properties in Greensboro and Guilford County,” says Craft.

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