Historic Rosedale Board Director Honored
Historic Rosedale is pleased to announce that Board of Directors’ President Tom Spada has been honored with a 2021 Award of Special Recognition by the North Carolina Museums Council (NCMC). The awards were announced in late March at the NCMC Convention in Rocky Mount, NC.
NCMC Awards of Special Recognition honor an individual, group, or business affiliated with a museum in North Carolina who have demonstrated significant interest and support in the programs, goals, and policies or made significant contributions of time, money, or ideas to a museum in the state.
Tom Spada perfectly demonstrates the purpose of this Award of Special Recognition. Tom has been involved with Historic Rosedale for over 20 years in a wide variety of positions. He has been a facilities committee chairman, an on-site handyman, and an operational advisor. He has many times stepped in as an enthusiastic tour guide when needed and is without a doubt one of Historic Rosedale’s best ambassadors. He accomplishes all of this with a smile on his face and a can-do attitude – every time. He is a loyal financial supporter. It is rare to find Tom soliciting donations when he has not already matched the ask with his own donation.
Currently, Tom serves as the Board President of the Historic Rosedale Foundation. He has carried out this position for two terms with grace, enthusiasm, and attention to details. His talents were tested in April of 2021, when the Foundation’s Executive Director departed unexpectedly and the site was left with little staff and no leadership. Tom rose to the challenge by taking charge of the situation. He brought back previous staff members, put in an ungodly number of onsite hours, and helped to maintain a positive environment. He works with staff to assure programming continues, new ideas are generated, and financial solvency is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Without his efforts there was a distinct possibility the site would have simply closed its doors.
Most importantly, he has been instrumental in the goal of preserving and maintaining the circa 1815 house that is the centerpiece of our site. He is a skilled carpenter for minor repairs and enhancements and is adept at working with the contractors, restorers, and preservationists required in our business. He is also willing to craft new signage, build new exhibit displays, construct a garden arbor, or even attend to the site septic system when it goes haywire (That alone deserves an award!). These are often simple, unglorified, but highly essential and often over-looked tasks.
Board Member, Janet Levy had this to say about Tom’s commitment to Historic Rosedale; “Tom contributes many unpaid hours per week to Historic Rosedale. He is actively on-site at least three days/week, and on the phone or email tackling museum tasks almost every day. He is an activist with regards to Historic Rosedale, and this is appropriate given the small staff and big ambitions of the museum.”
Tom has also been instrumental in the foundation of Rosedale’s African American Legacy project. Head Gardener Elizabeth Medearis Myers noted this in her letter supporting Tom’s nomination. “Tom has helped strengthen allegiance to Rosedale’s Black heritage. He asked long time docent Barbara Jackson to form a committee to focus solely on Rosedale’s enslaved persons, to discover more about their occupations, their families and where life led them after Emancipation. Tom and Barbara formed The African American Legacy Committee, a committee dedicated to finding more information for transparent interpretation about the enslaved and freed blacks and their families associated with Rosedale. The research timeline ranges from the building of the historic house, which was completed in 1815, until the last two sisters, of the five generations, moved out in the 1980s.”
While it may seem like he spends the majority of his time at Historic Rosedale, Tom has a full life (and long history) outside of Rosedale. He has been married to wife Lynn for fifty-four years; in fact, it was Lynn, a former docent, who got Tom involved onsite. Tom and Lynn have three daughters and seven grandchildren. They live in Belmont, NC and are very involved with their church, Queen of the Apostle Catholic Church in Belmont. Before retiring, Tom served our country in the US Air Force for twenty-eight years, fighting in the Vietnam War. As he continued his career in the service he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, overseeing three squadrons. He is a devoted father, friend, and citizen.
Please join us in offering our sincere and grateful congratulations to Tom.