|On December 12, 2017, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors directed staff to develop an implementation plan for a new operational model for the Gibson House property and historical collection. Under this model, the property would be operated as a cultural and historic center for the Yolo County community, by the non-profit YoloArts, and the historical collection would be managed by a County Curator with the assistance of the Yolo County Historical Corporation (YCHM) to be shared in multiple changing exhibits at both the Gibson House and beyond.
The implementation plan seeks to further define the operational model, roles and responsibilities of the parties involved, estimated costs, and a timeline for the transition. Along with the implementation plan, proposed MOUs are provided for both YoloArts and YCHM. The MOU with YCHM has not completed negotiations, and therefore is provided in Attachment C in its current state with recent additions from YCHM shown in track changes.
A Gibson House Work Group was formed to assist in the development of the implementation plan. This work group included representatives from the County Administrator’s Office, District 3, District 4, YCHM, YoloArts, General Services, and the County Library/Archives. The work group has met four times since the December 12, 2017 Board meeting. County staff also met with representatives of the Gibson House volunteer groups for the educational program (on January 11, 2018) and the gardening group (on March 7, 2018). The Gibson House Ad Hoc Committee also provided advisement.
In addition, the County hosted a community meeting on March 22, 2018 to gather input from the public regarding the implementation plan. Approximately 60-90 individuals attended the meeting with the majority from the City of Woodland. While some attendees expressed support for the plan, many expressed concerns desiring that the Gibson House continue as a historical house museum operated by YCHM. Furthermore, many advocated for additional community outreach sessions. Given these sentiments, and prior Board direction, staff thought it important to bring all of this information to the Board as a comprehensive report prior to proceeding further with either implementation planning or additional community sessions. A summary of the interests and concerns expressed by the attendees are included in Attachment D: Community Feedback Summary. In addition, the main concerns expressed as well as staff efforts to mitigate those concerns in the implementation plan are discussed later in this report.
Gibson House Ad Hoc Committee Recommendation
The Gibson House Ad Hoc Committee also conducted a review of the implementation plan and supplementary documents to provide a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. The committee supports the plans for the operation of the Gibson House as a cultural center and the YoloArts MOU, feeling that both accurately reflect the County’s objectives to increase the preservation and visibility of the historical collection, maintain and enhance educational programming, and increase community participation. However, the committee had concerns with the YCHM MOU believing it did not effectively support the implementation plan to preserve and exhibit the collection. Rather, the committee felt the proposed MOU should have a structure more akin to that of a “friends of” organization, whereby the activities conducted and funds collected would be more focused on the preservation and promotion of the collection. The County has several models of this structure, such as the “friends of” organizations associated with the County libraries and archives.
As a result, the recommendation of the committee is to move forward with the implementation plan, making adjustments as needed to the portions that refer to the currently proposed YCHM MOU, and to approve the MOU with YoloArts to operate the Gibson House as a cultural center that incorporates historical components, art, and culture. Instead of approving the MOU with YCHM, the committee recommends that the County continue to work with YCHM to develop a proposal similar to a “friends of” organization.
During 2016, staff conducted a review of the historical collection and operations at the Gibson House due to initial concerns regarding the condition and maintenance of the historical home and collection. These concerns included the discovery in years prior of deteriorating and pest-infested native American baskets stored in the attic, the serious deterioration of the very few Gibson Family pieces in the collection, such as Mrs. Gibson’s ballgown worn to the McKinley inauguration, their family quilt, and Mr. Gibson’s ranch banner for his prized steers used at the State Fair. Additional concern was raised over facility improvement needs and the understanding that the collection had grown to over 11,000 items, of which a large portion is not available for public view but held in storage in facilities on the property.
A report regarding the condition of the collection was conducted by an outside third party in 2016. The contractors found the collection to be in crowded conditions that could result in damage to some pieces and that certain storage facilities on the property were not suited for long term preservation.
Based on the staff and third party review, long-term sustainability concerns emerged regarding proper preservation of the collection, mansion and facility repairs, and the operating budget. At that time the County explored alternative management options and reached out to YoloArts as a potential partner for facility management. The staff findings of the review were discussed with the then YCHM Executive Director, Dave Flory, and were ultimately presented at a public YCHM Board meeting on February 16, 2017. The review was then brought to the County Board of Supervisors on February 21, 2017, and staff was directed to explore an operational partnership with YoloArts to assist in long term sustainability. On April 6, 2017 the County put out a press release to further notify the public of the exploration efforts underway.
That exploration was conducted by a Gibson House work group which included the directors of both YCHM and YoloArts. The review resulted in two potential operational models for the future of the Gibson House property and County historical collection. Plan #1 incorporated both YoloArts and YCHM in different operational capacities while Plan #2 was to continue with YCHM exclusively. The County applied no restrictions on the discussion of the proposed plans among the boards of the two non-profits.
The Yolo County Board of Supervisors reviewed the plan options on December 12, 2017 and expressed concerns over the feasibility of YCHM’s ability to generate an additional $240,000.00 or more in revenue as was proposed under Plan #2. Ultimately, the Board directed staff to develop an implementation plan for Plan #1 to operate the Gibson House as a cultural center, a venue encompassing the very best of Yolo County’s rich history, art, and diversity.
Under the operational model proposed in December 12, 2017, the Gibson House would be operated as a cultural center for the Yolo County community by YoloArts. The County historical collection would be managed by a County curator in partnership with YCHM to develop a countywide museum with pieces exhibited at the Gibson House and in various locations throughout the community.
Overall through the new operational model, the County seeks to accomplish three objectives in the following ways:
Objective 1: Increase the preservation and visibility of the County historical collection
Objective 2: Maintain and enhance educational programs
- Hire a qualified curator to manage the collection and its preservation in partnership with YCHM.
- Conduct a full review of the collection to determine condition of pieces and to develop a plan to address preservation needs.
- When not on display, place collection items in more suitable storage to ensure their preservation in the County’s newly established conservation and collection facility onsite at the Gibson House property.
- Provide multiple changing exhibits at the Gibson House and at various locations throughout the County to increase visibility of pieces held in storage and to create access for a wider audience in a variety of venues.
- Provide ease of access to the collection for researchers.
Objective 3: Increase community participation at the Gibson House property
- Continue educational programming at the Gibson House property and expand it to additional age groups and topics of study.
- Maintain historical education as a key component at the Gibson House property by displaying collection pieces onsite (including the downstairs of the mansion), continuing the 3rd grade school tours, and incorporating collection pieces into various activities at the property.
- Convert one of the barns on the Gibson House property to a multi-use space to serve as an onsite classroom.
- Increase education regarding County and regional history in the community through multiple collection exhibitions and the activities of YCHM.
- Reassess the scope of the County collection in order to cultivate a collection and historical exhibitions that represent all facets of the Yolo County community.
- Include a greater variety of topics and opportunities for public participation through operation of the Gibson House as a cultural center, promoting history, art, and the culture of Yolo County.
- Expand educational programming at the Gibson House property.
- Encourage use of the property by the public and non-profits for private events through continuing and actively promoting rentals. This includes the continued use of the property by YCHM to host a number of history focused events each year.
- Improve ADA accessibility to allow greater access for the community to facilities on the property.
Operational Model Roles and Responsibilities
The details of the model, including the roles and responsibilities of parties involved, are detailed below for the cultural center and countywide museum as well as a description of how a partnership between the two would be structured.
As a cultural center the Gibson House would be operated by YoloArts in a way that promotes and cultivates the history, art, and culture of Yolo County. This would be incorporated into the programming provided throughout the property with the purpose of promoting lifelong learning to the community.
The operation and administration of the Gibson House property, including the mansion, administration building, outbuildings, and grounds, would be conducted by YoloArts with the use of the former garage storage area, now the collections and conservation facility, retained by the County. Staff for the organization would operate out of the administration building on the property. This would be provided by the County without a rental fee, as is currently the practice with YCHM, in exchange for YoloArts’ operation and management of the facility as a cultural center for the community. YoloArts would be responsible for revenue generation necessary for the operation of the property and its programming.
In administering the cultural center, YoloArts would also oversee all activities at the property including public programming, private event rentals, educational programming, exhibitions, and gardening activities. The mansion would retain a display of the Yolo County historical collection and also utilize the space for public and/or private events. It is intended that the property serve as a multi-use space to assist in providing flexibility in programming options. The two barns on the property would have the ability to be used both as classroom and gallery space. The outbuildings would continue to be utilized for educational displays.
Educational programming would be a key aspect of the cultural center. The third grade history tours would continue on the property and be overseen by YoloArts. It is the intention of YoloArts that educational programming would be expanded over time to additional K-12 grade levels and age groups as a means of facilitating life-long learning.
History would remain as a core component of the cultural center. Some artifacts from the Yolo County historical collection would remain on display at the property particularly on the bottom floor of the mansion, where pieces may be rotated to exhibit different items. YoloArts would also work with the County Curator and YCHM to incorporate history and the collection into various activities at the property. YCHM would also have access to the property to host events each year to showcase history.
YoloArts would be responsible for the general maintenance of the Gibson House grounds and facilities. As the owner of the property, the County would be responsible for funding any capital improvements and any repairs that exceed general maintenance. To assist in funding capital improvements, YoloArts would place a portion of revenue received from private event rentals into a County fund to be used for capital improvements. The County and YoloArts will also conduct annual assessments of the property to help monitor the facilities and plan for long term improvements. Similar to the current arrangement with YCHM, the County would pay for any water and utility costs up to $23,000 annually.
The management of the County historical collection would move, under this model, to a County Curator who would work with YCHM to best preserve the collection and promote the history of Yolo County through multiple changing exhibits at the Gibson House and at various locations throughout the community. In this way accessibility of the collection would be increased with a variety of display locations and exhibits of items that have traditionally been held in storage. Opportunities would also be provided for individuals to more easily access the collection for research purposes.
The role of the Curator would be to manage and preserve the historical collection. This position would be housed under the County Library where the County Archives, dedicated to preserving historical records, is located. YCHM would assist in advising and assisting the County Curator. Specifically, YCHM would provide strategic planning oversight of exhibition and events that promote Yolo County history, review and provide recommendations to the County Curator regarding collection policies, provide educational outreach and/or programming regarding history, establish community partnerships and collaborations, and conduct fundraising events of which a portion would be provided towards preservation and exhibition of the historical collection.
In order to implement this model, the current collection items must be reviewed, deaccessioned when appropriate, and moved to more suitable storage when not on display. It is the intent that during this process the scope of the collection will be reassessed to develop a collection that encompasses and represents all facets of the Yolo County community. A Collections Review Committee, made up of appropriate experts in the field, would be formed by the County Curator to assist in guiding the review and deaccession process. YCHM would appoint two experts to this committee. The new humidity and temperature controlled collection and conservation facility at the Gibson House property will allow for proper storage of collection items onsite. YCHM would also contribute funds for proper storage materials and shelving for the collection. All movement of items will be overseen by the County Curator with advisement on the movement of particularly fragile or large items by the Collections Review Committee and YCHM.
With YoloArts occupying the administration building at the Gibson House, YCHM would move their offices to the County owned property at 508 Gibson Road, Woodland, CA. This property currently is operated by YCHM as a rental property, however, it originally served as their administration space. Similar to the arrangement with YoloArts, YCHM would utilize the property rent-free in exchange for their advisement and assistance in promoting and exhibiting Yolo County history and the historical collection. YCHM would be responsible for the general maintenance of the grounds and facilities at the property. As the owner of the property, the County would be responsible for funding any capital improvements and any repairs that exceed general maintenance. The County would also pay for any utility and water costs.
In this model a partnership occurs between YoloArts, the County Curator, and YCHM regarding the historical component in programming at the cultural center. The three parties would meet regularly each year to discuss collaboration opportunities at the Gibson House property. This would include discussion on potential areas to incorporate exhibitions of history or the collection in various activities on the property during the year. Additionally, YCHM will be able to utilize the property rent free for a specified number of days annually for historical events. In this way the historical component of the cultural center will be strongly preserved by having artifacts onsite, history focused events by YCHM, and the incorporation of history and collection items in various activities at the property.
One-Time and On-Going Costs
There are one-time and on-going costs to the County associated with this operational plan as shown in Table 1. One-time costs for FY 18-19 include capital improvements to the property up to $172,195 to improve ADA accessibility and address some facility needs. Tenant improvements at the property would be paid for by YoloArts utilizing the $270,500 currently held in the County treasury but pledged to YoloArts. A breakdown of these construction costs is provided in Appendix A. If any of these funds remain unused after two years, then it would be placed into a capital improvement fund for the property. Repairs for mold are also needed at the 508 Gibson Rd. property, estimated at $4,275. Additionally, another one-time cost would be the funding of the full-time County Curator position. The request is to fund this position for two years. However, it is the intent that, if successful, this position would be retained with available funding. The one-time costs for capital improvements and the curator position were approved by the Board of Supervisors in the FY 18-19 budget.
On-going costs would include future capital improvements and large repair costs as well as the continuation of utility and water payments for the Gibson House and 508 Gibson Rd. properties. Both entities would provide a portion of revenue towards capital improvements at each of their respective properties to assist the County in funding those improvements. Additionally, the County has traditionally paid for the utility and water costs at the Gibson House property and would extend this to 508 Gibson Rd. where YCHM would reside. The County would pay up to a specified limit ($23,000 for the Gibson House and $2,880 for 508 Gibson Rd.). Costs above the limit would be the responsibility of the non-profit entities, however, this limit may be increased with any subsequent rate increases.
A projected budget for management of the historical collection is not provided at this time, as it is imagined the focus of the curator position and collection activities for the next 1 ½ to 2 years would be the review and deaccession of the historical collection; which must occur before programming and exhibitions can occur throughout the County. A portion of funding provided by YCHM would be used to pay for storage materials associated with this review and a percentage of YCHM fundraising revenue would be utilized for collection preservation and exhibitions to offset those costs in the future.
Table 1: One-Time and On-Going County Costs
*May increase pending any increases in rates
|Capital Improvement Costs at Gibson House
||ACO Funds, Contingency, and/or General Fund
|Capital Improvement Costs at 508 Gibson Rd.
||ACO Funds, Contingency, and/or General Fund
|County Curator Position (2 years)
(2 year total including benefits)
|Water and Utilities at Gibson House*
||General Services (water)/ General Fund (utilities)
|Water and Utilities at 508 Gibson Rd. property
||General Services (water)/General Fund (utilities)
|Future Capital Improvements
||$25,880 + future capital improvement costs
Community Feedback Meeting
On March 22, 2018 the County held a facilitated public meeting to gather input from the community on the implementation plan. Multiple methods to provide feedback were available, including public comment, written notes, and email. During that meeting many attendees expressed concerns over the implementation plan (See Attachment D: Community Feedback Summary). These concerns and County efforts to mitigate are as follows:
- Desire to have Gibson House remain a house museum
The main interest expressed by the majority of individuals at the meeting, was for the Gibson House to remain a house museum operated by YCHM. This model was presented as one of the two operational models to the Board of Supervisors on December 12, 2017. Due to the financial sustainability concerns presented in the model, the Board directed staff to develop an implementation model for use of the property as a cultural center.
Without changing the structure of the model, the Gibson House Work Group sought to modify the implementation plan to ensure components of history were preserved at the Gibson House property through the continued display of some historical artifacts onsite, the preservation of the historical buildings, the continuation of historical education tours, YCHM use of the property for a specified number of history focused events annually, and the incorporation of history and collection displays into various activities at the property through regular meetings between YoloArts, the County Curator and YCHM.
- Want the historical collection and Gibson House facilities preserved
Attendees expressed concern over preservation of the historical collection and the historical facilities at the Gibson House. Particularly, a fear of where the collection would be moved, how the collection would be moved, and fear that the historical buildings would be significantly altered or damaged.
The garage has been recently converted by the County to a humidity controlled collection and conservation facility so that pieces not on display can remain stored onsite but in a proper environment. All movement of items will be overseen by the County Curator with advisement on the movement of particularly fragile or large items by the Collections Review Committee and YCHM. Preservation of the facilities, particularly the historical mansion, is a priority. There are no plans to make significant changes to the structure as the intent is for the interior style and architecture to remain reflective of a historical home and any future changes, particularly to the interior of the mansion, must be approved by the County. YoloArts will also provide a percentage of private event rental revenue to put towards capital improvements at the property to assist in this preservation.
- Concern over how the mansion will be utilized
If the Gibson House mansion is not utilized as a house museum, there was interest in what exactly the downstairs and upstairs of the building would be utilized for and concern as to whether such use may damage the facility.
As previously stated, there are no plans to make significant changes to the structure of the mansion. It is the intent that the architecture and style remain reflective of a historical home. The downstairs will continue to display historic objects, but with a reduction in the number of items currently displayed to provide greater room and flexibility for use of the space for events. Due to the difficulties in ADA accessibility, the use of the upstairs has not yet been determined.
- Desire for greater outreach in the process that led to the models presented at the December 12, 2017 Board meeting
While the purpose of the community meeting on March 22nd was to gather input from the community on the future of the Gibson House, many attendees expressed frustration that further community outreach and input was not gathered prior to the Board’s decision on December 12, 2017.
The process that led to the meeting on December 12th included a Board meeting on February 22, 2017, meetings with YCHM, and several meetings that included the executive director of YCHM. The March 22nd community meeting helped to serve as a method for feedback on the current plan. If the implementation plan is approved by the Board, YoloArts, as stated in their original proposal, would conduct outreach during the 2018-2019 fiscal year with stakeholders and the community, using individual interviews and focus groups, to assist in strategic plan development for the cultural center. Additional methods of feedback moving forward may be requested by the Board of Supervisors.
Next Steps: Transition Timeline
If the implementation plan is approved by the Board of Supervisors, the transition timeline for implementation (provided in Attachment A) would be utilized which is split into two parallel categories: the transition of operations of the Gibson House and the review and eventual exhibition of the historical collection.
Gibson House Transition
To transfer operation of the Gibson House, the entities involved would need time to change their administrative locations and construction improvements would need to occur. Specifically, YCHM would provide a 60 day notice to the tenants of 508 Gibson Rd. and move the organization to the property approximately two weeks after. Until they move into their new administration building, YCHM would continue to operate the property, however there are no events scheduled to occur until September. During this time an MOU with YoloArts would be finalized. Construction for capital improvements and tenant improvements would occur between June and September of 2018. It is anticipated that YoloArts would begin overseeing the currently scheduled events in September, occupy the administration building by October, and at that time begin scheduling events for 2019.
Due to the size of the collection, it is estimated that the first 1 ½ to 2 years would involve reviewing, properly preserving, and deaccessioning (when appropriate) the collection. Therefore, in July the County Curator would work to form the Collections Review Committee. The group would work to establish an updated scope for the collection, finalize a detailed plan for review of the collection, and organize volunteers to assist. Additionally, the Curator would begin moving collection items out of the West Barn to the newly converted collection and conservation facility storage space so that renovation of the barn may occur. Review of the collection items would occur in the collection and conservation facility.
During this time it is envisioned that YCHM would assist in advisement on the review efforts, review of new collection policies, executing history based fundraising events, and development of a strategic plan for historical events and exhibitions in Yolo County. Once the collection review comes to an end, attention would turn to planning exhibitions throughout the County.
To assist in preparing a plan for the review of the collection, the County has utilized a current staff member with a master’s degree in museum studies. Thus far, the staffer has met with various organizations to determine the potential for collection review assistance or future exhibition and partnership opportunities. Some examples are provided in Table 2.
Table 2: Potential County Collection Partnerships
|Native Sons of the Golden West/ Parlor 30
||Possible display of county historical collections in former retail space downtown which is also the Parlor 30 headquarters
|Sacramento State Public History Program
||Possible interns for Fall 2018 to help with collections review
|Sacramento Valley Historical Railways Museum
||Loaning exhibition items for the county collection to the railway museum
|UC Davis Museum of Anthropology (Gorman Museum)
||Facilitating research on the county’s collection and having a staff member on the collections committee
|West Sacramento Historical Society
||Possibly having one of their board members on the collections committee.
|Winters Historical Society
||Possible exhibition or curatorial knowledge exchange with the organization