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Morven House to Undergo Massive Makeover

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The Morven House The Morven House
The house will get some new rooms during the renovation The house will get some new rooms during the renovation
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A historic property in Albemarle County is getting a total makeover.

The Morven House, now owned by the University of Virginia Foundation, is more than 200 years old.

Thomas Jefferson purchased the land for the house back in 1795.

Now, the house is getting some upgrades including additional rooms and accommodations that are more suited to the 21st century.

“So if you come back in a year and a half from now, what's Morven going to look like? Well, the good news on a great renovation is that the bones of the house are the same, but it's better,” Stewart Gamage, the director of programs at Morven House, said. “You get a better bed, a better bathroom, and a better place to have breakfast.”

Renovations are expected to begin sometime in spring 2019.

The house will remain closed until the changes are completed sometime in 2020.


News Release from University of Virginia's Office of University Communications:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Oct 16, 2018 — The University of Virginia is launching the “First Lady’s Food Lab,” a new program and facility at Morven Farm, in recognition of the food security work of former Virginia first lady Dorothy S. McAuliffe.

The First Lady’s Food Lab will serve not only as a physical space, but as a program network for food justice-related initiatives at the University and within the Charlottesville and Albemarle communities. Its creation recognizes McAuliffe’s leadership, which resulted in the General Assembly’s approval of almost $5 million over five years to support the expansion of school breakfast programs. The new funding has helped schools across the commonwealth provide 10 million more meals per year. The food lab’s creation was announced last November at UVA’s Women’s Global Leadership Forum, part of the University’s bicentennial programming.

The dedication will take place Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. at Morven. The program will include remarks by UVA Rector Frank M. “Rusty” Conner II; Virginia’s current first lady, Pamela T. Northam; and McAuliffe, who will be accompanied by her husband, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe. A reception will follow from 4:45 to 6 p.m. in the Morven Kitchen Garden.

The event’s sponsors include UVA Dining Services, UVA’s Bicentennial Commission and Champion Brewery. The First Lady’s Food Lab advisory committee includes Dorothy McAuliffe, Renee Grisham, Bruce Murray and Stewart Gamage.

Inaugural programming for the First Lady’s Food Lab was designed by UVA’s Morven Summer Institute Fellows, a new summer fellowship initiated earlier this year. That programming focused on the identification of community partners, as well as the exploration of a future incubator farm at Morven that would provide farmers, who lack the capital to purchase land, the opportunity to develop skills in farm business planning at Morven.

University program partners include the School of Nursing, the Curry School of Education and Human Development, the Center for Global Health, the Social Entrepreneurship program at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Center for Cultural Landscapes.

Community partners include Stone-Robinson Elementary School’s fourth- and fifth-grade science classes, the City Schoolyard Garden initiative, the Charlottesville Food Justice Network, the International Rescue Committee and the Local Food Hub. Community program partners will participate in the launch.

Donated to the UVA Foundation in 2001 by philanthropist John W. Kluge, Morven’s 3,000 acres provide the University a destination for critical thinking and global discourse. Morven’s landscape offers grounds for experimentation, teaching and research for future scientists, innovators and policymakers who will address pressing local and global food challenges facing the world today.

Morven made the commitment to support the next generation of food innovators through the 2011 creation of the Morven Kitchen Garden, a one-acre living laboratory dedicated to providing student leadership opportunities in sustainable market farming, inspiring community participation in local food systems and offering an outdoor classroom for agricultural research.

In addition to supporting food access initiatives with meeting and classroom space, the First Lady’s Food Lab will network with partners across the community to strengthen initiatives in food security.