how are donations being used at harriton house…. really?

Harriton House was a slice of heaven for me for me and many people for more than 40 years. I started to visit Harriton when I was 12. I am now 59.

Harriton became a historic destination of some note all because of the former Executive Director Bruce Cooper Gill. He gave them what? 45 years of his life? Did they ever even honor him appropriately for essentially making Harriton amazing and into Harriton? He gave them decades of his life and HE is the reason people discovered this place. And with him, you knew how every penny was spent, didn’t you? And when you made a donation large or small, he took the time to personally say thank you, didn’t he?

What Harriton House USED to look like before the
historically accurate fence disappeared.

That lack of style in ED transition appalled many people, didn’t it? (“ED” not for erectile dysfunction but rather Executive Director.) They wondered then what the board of the Harriton Association and the successor ED was thinking? Especially the President of the Board? So what are they thinking now? I mean you have to wonder about things given how it just doesn’t look so hot over there, so many trees were removed etc, right? It looks sloppy over there. Kind of like a sock that really needs darning, right?

Below enjoy photos of how wonderful the flowers once looked at Harriton and there were once community gardens too. So much has changed, hopefully these photos remind people of what could be again with different leadership.

So many questions now exist about Harriton House and the Harriton Association don’t they? Four employees if you count the lawn tractor guy who lives in one of rental structures, right? Remember when they were going to have a new website in 2023? It’s August, 2023…don’t rush…

I can’t see the differences in The Harriton Association’s filings because the latest IRS Form 990 that is available online is from 2020 for calendar year 2019. (See, GuideStar, ProPublica, etc.) So I have to wonder where their finances are today? Donations up or down? Are the events making enough money under new ED? Who paid for the “field trip” today?

How is taking all employees on a field trip actual “continuing education”? In my opinion, the answer is it is not. Welsh settlers, Quakers, and Pennsylvania Germans are rather different. So while it is a nice sentiment it feels like Harriton is not really “open” as it should be.

The Goschenhoppen Folk Festival is amazing. No one needs an excuse to check it out. But why can’t a small non-profit encourage their employees to go on their own time?

(I do feel however, that the Goschenhoppen Historians Christmas Market is even BETTER. definitely check THAT out!)

The events under new ED have been a snooze fest and I truly hope they improve because Harriton was always such a gem. So maybe lack of activity at the old farmstead is why the field trip for grown ups?

Maybe Lower Merion Commissioner Scott Zelov can wax poetic about things at Harriton? Isn’t he the commissioner who attends their board meetings? Speaking of board meetings, what about board minutes, where are theirs kept publicly? They are a non-profit organization so who has them? Have they changed their bylaws over the past couple of years? Are things being run properly in as far as a non-profit goes? Is there proper financial oversight and accountability? Is there oversight in general?

Maybe my concerns in the end will amount to nothing, I surely hope so. But I remain steadfast in my opinion that the Harriton Association needs some shaking up on the board including a new president of the board, and that this current ED is simply not the right fit. Being a historical reenactor does not make them a good ED does it? More to running a historic site than playing dress up around the region right?

Thank goodness my rights which were assisted in happening once upon a time by Harriton’s Charles Thomson allow me to express my opinions.

Thanks for stopping by.

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