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Morven Park Kicks Off Season with Open House

Free tours, new Visitors' Center and gift shop, and more are in store for this weekend.

The Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation, which operates Morven Park, has added new artwork and a Visitors’ Center that patrons can enjoy as  a new season opens at the historic Davis Mansion, home for 40 years to Virginia’s 55th governor, Westmoreland Davis.

The new Visitors’ Center entrance, reception area and gift shop will be on display during an open house Friday and Saturday.

It’s a much nicer reception area, which will help us better utilize the mansion,” said Assistant Director of Development and Communications Teresa Davenport.

Access to mansion tours will still be to the right side of the building. A small porch has been enclosed with glass, preserving the original woodwork. The enclosure highlights the exposed layers of stone, wood and stucco from one of the walls of the original 1780 fieldstone farmhouse, which was transformed over the decades into the Greek Revival mansion that exists today.

People also may notice more artwork on the walls. Davenport explained that when the Davis lived in the mansion, the walls might have been completely covered, practically to the ceiling, with artwork. The Davises, who lived at Morven Park from 1903 until Gov. Davis’ death in 1942, compiled an extensive collection of art during their world-wide travels.

“We have pulled out artwork that was in storage for the last 20 years, that once hung in the mansion when Gov. and Mrs. Davis lived there,” Davenport said.

Admission will be free Friday and Saturday onlyfor the public tour. Plus, guests will receive 10 percent off all purchases in the gift shop and a chance to enter a drawing for free admission all year.

For 2013, the mansion and the Winmill Carriage Museum will be open Thursdays through Mondays, noon to 4 p.m. through March, then 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. from April through October, returning to the winter schedule in November. Regular tours cost $5 for adults, $3 for children 6-12, and free for children 5 and under. The combination mansion/Carriage Museum tour costs $9 for adults and $5 for children.

The Westmoreland Davis foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to preserve and advance the ideals of Gov. Davis, offering programs that reflect civic-minded leadership, sustainable agriculture and the conscientious use of open space for the public good.

Visit the park's website at www.morvenpark.org.

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