June 4, 2023

Jensen Receives Historic Preservation Award

Beate Jensen, cultural resource manager at Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

Beate Jensen, cultural resource manager at Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

Beate Jensen, cultural resource manager for Gari Melchers Home and Studio, received the Annual Historic Preservation Award by the Stafford County Historical Commission on May 21, 2019, for her exemplary efforts to restore, safeguard and interpret the grounds at Gari Melchers Home and Studio. Joanna Catron, assistant director and curator of GMHS, read the following tribute to her colleague at an awards presentation before the Board of Supervisors:

If today the storied structures and grounds that comprise the 18th-century property known as Belmont are perceived as unusually authentic, well-maintained and a delight to the senses, it is due in large part to the expert care and dedication given to it for the last 20 years by Cultural Resource Manager Beate Jensen and the staff who serve under her direction. From the first, it has been Ms. Jensen’s ambition to provide a faithful representation of the 27-acre site coinciding with the period of Gari and Corinne Melchers’ residence there for the edification and enjoyment of visitors and future generations. Under her stewardship, and in partnership with the Garden Club of Virginia and other organizations, public and private, Beate has safeguarded the historic integrity of the property, developed and implemented a prioritized plan for practical and appropriate restoration where needed, and provided engaging educational and interpretive experiences. 

Beate extensively researched the history of the property and its site design for restoration and improvements to the historic smokehouse, horse stable and cow barn; to gates, fences, stone walls, piers, stairs and walkways; to garden ornaments and other man-made features; and to historic planting beds, roses and trees. She also supervises a maintenance program of tree pruning, feeding and disease prevention, and created a wildlife habitat.  She oversaw design and installation of outdoor lighting, new roofs for dependencies and upgrades to lightning protection of buildings and historic trees.

With the assistance of student interns and university colleagues, Beate began a long-term effort to catalog and map all natural and man-made grounds collections at Belmont. She authored the first comprehensive history of the 1790 house and a guide to dinosaur prints on the property, and has been an advocate for African American history in Stafford County through preservation and interpretation of the Fannie Roots House.  She is a frequent speaker on historic gardens and preservation matters and regularly represents Gari Melchers Home and Studio at professional conferences.