Haas-Lilienthal House Declared "National Treasure"
|Illustration by Michael Murphy|
The Haas-Lilienthal House has just been declared a "National Treasure," an honor bestowed on the Victorian residence by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The purpose of the designation is to highlight historic and architecturally significant sites across the country. The house is the sole cultural institution in San Francisco to earn the accolade, which comes with perks that may prove vital to the house's future.
Mike Buhler has been working closely with the National Trust for Historic Preservation for months, benefiting from the organization's unparalleled expertise in heritage tourism and historic stewardship. The executive director of the San Francisco Architectural Heritage, who owns and operates the house, is quick to point out that the city's only Queen Anne-style Victorian open to the public is not on a sustainable path. Site rentals have steeply declined since 2000, and maintenance needs far exceeds revenue from visitors.
This is a distressing trend: Historic house museums in every state are facing a crisis. "We benefit from their national perspective, which pinpoints which approaches have worked across the country, and which have not," Buhler explained. "The trust, in selecting us, hopes to create a replicable model to chart a new path." With the Trust's help, the San Francisco Architectural Heritage team is hard at work on a new business plan that will ensure the house, which faces critical deterioration that must soon be addressed, will be financially viable in the future.
|William Haas, a Jewish immigrant from Bravaria|
|A sitting room in the Haas-Lilienthaal house's own dollhouse, which was enjoyed by Alice Haas, her daughters and niece for nearly 40 years.|
The Haas-Lilienthal House is located at 2007 Franklin (at Washington), S.F. Admission is $8.