Lipscombe joins Gaineswood staff as collections specialist

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; After former Gaineswood director Matt Hartzelle left last year, the historic home has been re-staffing its site with both a new director, Eleanor Cunningham, and beginning last month Bruce Lipscombe, who will be in charge of the site&8217;s collection.

Lipscombe comes to Demopolis after working with the Historic Waco Foundation in Texas, a house museum organization with four different historical homes. Although her original career ambitions were to become a lawyer, a shift in her educational track lead her to the industry in which she has worked for the last 17 years. She specializes in museum collections and interpretations.

For Lipscombe, the best part of her job is using a site&8217;s historical artifacts to tell both the specific story of the place and the broader history of that site&8217;s place in time. Gaineswood in particular, which garners a national following from tourists, is a place with almost 70 percent original artifacts, a fact Lipscombe said is rare.

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One of the things Lipscombe said she has gleaned from her experience working with historical artifacts is the particular significance of each item, even if there is not monetary value associated with it.

In addition to its particularly high percentage of original artifacts, Lipscombe said Gaineswood is truly significant because it is known as one of the most unusual and best Greek revival structures in the nation. Another boon to the local site is its location and visibility in the community.

Lipscombe will primarily work at the Gaineswood site, but will also manage the collection at Magnolia Grove in Greensboro, as part of their affiliation through the Alabama Historical Commission.