Eight years after it was created to help restore Baltimore’s Washington Monument and the public squares around it, the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy has named its first executive director.
Lance Humphries, a Mount Vernon area resident and architectural historian who served as chairman of the conservancy’s restoration committee, has been named the permanent executive director of the non-profit organization.
Humphries was the Conservancy’s lead representative in guiding a $5.5 million restoration of the Washington Monument, which reopened last July 4 after being closed for several years. The project, which allowed visitors to climb 227 steps to the top for the first time since 2010, has received more than a dozen local and national preservation awards.
The Conservancy has raised more than $8 million in capital funding and has commissioned a master plan by Olin of Philadelphia to guide restoration of the four squares around the monument. Working with the city of Baltimore, it also maintains and schedules events for the four parks.
The Conservancy also has brought the monument into the 21st century by giving it an online presence for the first time, including a Facebook page and video camera that enabled people to follow the progress of the restoration work.
“Lance has been a leader in this organization since its founding in 2008,” said Henry H. Hopkins, president of the Conservancy’s board of directors.
“As chair of our restoration committee, Lance led our award-winning Washington Monument restoration effort and served as the articulate spokesperson for the organization,” Hopkins said. “We are extremely pleased that he has assumed this important leadership position.”
A Michigan native, Humphries attended the College of William and Mary and then the University of Virginia, where he received a doctorate degree. He moved to Baltimore in 1995 to complete his doctoral thesis on Robert Gilmor Jr., an art collector and president for nearly 30 years of the Board of Managers that built Baltimore’s Washington Monument.
Hopkins said Humphries’s knowledge of the history of Mount Vernon Place and his command of “best practices” in the preservation field made him an ideal choice to lead the Conservancy.
“The goal of the Conservancy is to make Mount Vernon the world-class attraction it deserves to be,” Hopkins said. “That goal will take a significant investment from both public and private sectors. We are pleased that under Lance’s leadership, our first restoration project was so expertly handled, and that it has garnered so many restoration and preservation awards. Mount Vernon Place deserves the highest caliber of care and treatment.”
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