For Lindsey McKinney, joining the McDaniel-Tichenor House staff as the new executive director of the historic home’s managing trust was a bit like coming home.
McKinney grew up in Oconee County, but her parents were Walton natives and they often visited the House for various events and historic tours.
Now, she’s coming back to Walton, after years in sales and marketing positions with various firms, to take the reins with the historic home and work to maintain its position as one of the premier historic locations in the region.
“I feel blessed and lucky and honored to be chosen to do this,” McKinney said. “I want to really help to preserve this house and build a loyal supporter base so it will continue to be around for a long time to come.”
Since taking on the role, McKinney has gone on a deep dive into the House’s extensive legacy.
“I’ve really gotten into the history of the House,” McKinney said. “I’ve read everything I could find about the House, about Gov. (Henry) McDaniel and his granddaughter, Emily, who’s legacy was to leave this place for the entire community. I’m really enjoying it.”
McKinney isn’t planning to change much right now: many of the House’s various functions will continue, particularly the Governor’s Bash event, but also the various summer camps, Easter egg hunts and other events, both sponsored by the House and by outside organizations at the House.
“We want to continue to hold amazing events here,” McKinney said. “We’re within walking distance of downtown Monroe, so this will continue to be an asset for the downtown district. We want this space to be a true jewel in the community.”
McKinney has bigger plans for the future, too, such as a possible collaboration with the Monroe Museum, and plans for future restoration efforts to keep the House the historic marvel it is.
“We have a lot of work to do keep the House as it is meant to be seen,” McKinney said. “That’s a major priority.”
Still, McKinney is working to get to meet people in the area and set up a vision for the future.
“I want to get to know more people in the community,” McKinney said. “Over the next few weeks I look forward to working with the board to establish a vision and purpose for both enjoyment and sustainability of the McDaniel-Tichenor House.”
Through that process, she hopes to create a long-term plan for what the House can be in the area and statewide.
“In the future, my dream is for the McDaniel-Tichenor House to not just be known in our local community but a landmark and source of pride for the entire state of Georgia,” she said.
Overall, McKinney wants to maintain the House as an essential part of the landscape.
“I want to raise awareness of the House in the community,” McKinney said. “We are here for everyone.”