University of Lynchburg has accepted ownership of Historic Sandusky, a historic home near the College campus known for its role in a Civil War battle.
Sandusky will benefit from cost savings associated with being a part of a larger organization while LC students will have more opportunities to learn through hands-on work at the museum.
The College will own and manage the historic property and direct its programming while the non-profit Historic Sandusky Foundation will continue to lead the restoration of the house, raise funds for its future preservation, and engage the wider community. The museum will continue to be open to the public for tours, field trips, and other events.
“Our partnership with Historic Sandusky has been mutually beneficial,” said LC President Dr. Kenneth R. Garren. “By accepting responsibility for the property and its operations, University of Lynchburg will ensure that more students have the opportunity to participate in work at Sandusky while the general public continues to benefit from the preservation of this historic treasure.”
Leaders in the Historic Sandusky Foundation are excited to see the proposal move forward. “The partnership between the Foundation and University of Lynchburg fulfills the vision of Dr. Peter Houck and so many others supporters who worked hard to save Sandusky and develop it into a community resource,” said Ted Delaney, vice president of the Foundation. “We could not be more hopeful for the future of Sandusky.”
The Historic Sandusky Foundation and University of Lynchburg entered a partnership in 2011 as the foundation explored the possibility of deeding the property to the College. Upon reviewing the success of the partnership, the LC Board of Trustees agreed to accept the property and take responsibility for future operations on Feb. 20.
The new stage of the partnership will expand the experiential learning opportunities students have had at Sandusky in recent years, said Dr. Adam Dean, a University of Lynchburg history professor. “LC wants to make Sandusky a laboratory where students can take the skills they’ve learned in the classroom and apply them in a real-world environment,” he said.
Since the partnership began just over four years ago, LC students have worked on archaeological digs, museum management, and other projects at Sandusky. They have initiated new events, such as an annual Christmas open house and, most recently, a Haunted History tour last October that drew many first-time visitors to Sandusky.
“Using Historic Sandusky as a learning lab for University of Lynchburg has been major boost to our goals of preserving and interpreting this important Lynchburg landmark,” said Greg Starbuck, executive director of Historic Sandusky and a member of the LC history faculty. “University of Lynchburg is building upon the hard work of Sandusky’s supporters and volunteers which will take our efforts to new heights.”
“Our students have unbounded energy and enthusiasm has been a marvel to witness,” he added. “They’ve helped elevate Sandusky into a dynamic history center.”
Dr. Clifton Potter, president of the Historic Sandusky Foundation and a history professor at LC, is excited to see students continue digging for evidence of the historic home’s detached kitchen that once stood nearby.
The College will seek more opportunities for students from a broad spectrum of majors to be involved in a variety of ways, Dr. Dean said. Some students will have the opportunity to work for Hurt & Proffitt, a local civil engineering firm which recently moved its archaeology lab to Sandusky and already has hired some LC students to work part-time in the lab.
Originally built around 1808, Sandusky became entangled in the Civil War in 1864 when Union General David Hunter seized the house and used it as his headquarters during the Battle of Lynchburg. Restoration and its conversion to a museum began in 2001, when the Historic Sandusky Foundation formed.