Gunston Hall Appoints New Director

Gunston Hall Appoints New Director

The Board of Regents at Gunston Hall, George Mason’s historic home on Mason Neck, has selected David Reese to replace Thomas A. Lainhoff as director of the estate.

Lainhoff, director since 1992, leaves Gunston Hall this month. Reese will take over on February 1.

"Tom accomplished more during his tenure than any other director," said Judith Herdeg, First Regent of the National Society of Colonial Dames. The Society administers Gunston Hall for the Commonwealth of Virginia, which owns the estate.

"He really moved us forward and we are sorry that he decided to leave," Herdeg said.

"It was time," said Lainhoff. "My family and I have enjoyed our stay here, but I am ready for some different challenges." The Lainhoffs are moving to Lancaster County, PA, where Tom plans a sabbatical. "I have surgery scheduled to correct Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my hands, so some down time will help."

The Board of Regents, through a 10-member Search Committee, examined more than 130 applicants for the director’s position before choosing Reese.

FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS Reese has been the curator of Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor of New York, as well as the chief officer of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy. Prior to that, Reese was the director of the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden in Manhattan. It’s an interesting coincidence that David Reese, late of the Mount Vernon Hotel, soon will be moving in next door to Jim Rees, director of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Estate and Gardens.

Lainhoff’s contributions to Gunston Hall have been many and varied. He increased the size of the staff, as well as securing equitable benefits for all employees. He established productive relations with area schools, especially at Gunston School where he created a partnership program that is widely recognized. He also was instrumental in the realization of the George Mason National Memorial in the District.

Lainhoff also started the archeological program at Gunston Hall to gather information about the gardens and landscape as they existed during Mason’s time. A cut in the funds supplied by the commonwealth last summer, however, caused Lainhoff to suspend archeological activities until Gunston Hall can identify additional sources of funding.