Keeping up appearances
When federal money runs out, ingenuity is called for
“THE past is never dead. It's not even past,” wrote William Faulkner in “Requiem for a Nun”. In his house, Rowan Oak, you can almost touch the typewriter on which he tapped out those words. It sits on a desk in his study, protected merely by a rope across the door.
Rowan Oak stands in a glade near the centre of Oxford, Mississippi. Faded signs and keen volunteers direct visitors round the property in which the writer lived for 32 years. Wonky floors, spartan bedrooms and the author's pipe, boots and spectacles await them. Those who forget the cash for the $5 entry fee can squeeze inside anyway with the promise of a cheque to follow. After all, as Faulkner noted, “Money has no value. It is just how you spend it.”
But Rowan Oak needs more spending. Though it was restored in 2005 at a cost of $1.5m, more than a third of which was covered by the University of Mississippi, which owns the site, the house now “needs a paint job really badly”, according to its curator, William Griffith. In addition to maintenance, however, the fees collected from around 30,000 visitors a year have to pay the electricity and phone bills. “It's a tough business,” he admits.
Securing sufficient funds to keep historic sites up to scratch is tricky across the South. Almost a third of Rowan Oak's renovations were paid for by Save America's Treasures, a competitive grants programme started in the Clinton years. Congress's decision in 2011 to stop funding the programme has hurt house museums most, according to Stephanie Meeks, head of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private charity. “It was the only bricks-and-mortar funding scheme run by the federal government,” she says.
And keeping crumbling old buildings together is expensive. Around $12m in the past four years has gone on maintaining 26 historic sites across America run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “It's tremendous work to keep these places looking nice,” says Toby Aldridge, the resident guide at the childhood house museum of another great southern writer, Flannery O'Connor. But renovations in 2007 have improved visitor numbers since, he says, and a student helped with the paint analysis for the green-and-gold living room. So far this year more than 2,600 people have come, already more than in 2013. The author's childhood books, such as “Five Little Peppers and How they Grew”, are on display—a far cry from the raw rural tales O'Connor would write herself.
但维修这些摇摇欲坠的房屋开支不菲，国家历史建筑保护信托负责的26处遗迹维修在过去四年里花了将近1200万美元，另一个南部作家弗兰纳里奥康纳的童年故居负责人托比说，让这些地方看上去光鲜亮丽真不是一项小工程，但2007年的修缮工作之后，游客数量确实增加了，同时一个学生也在帮忙规划金绿色客厅的粉刷工作。今年的游客数量已达到2600人，比2013年多，一些作家童年读的书如“Five Little Peppers and How they Grew”也在这里展出，他们与奥康纳写的乡村故事迥然不同。
Andalusia Farm, near Milledgeville, was O'Connor's home when she wrote most of her stories. The museum that is now there once got money from Save America's Treasures, but now uses timber from its 544-acre (220-hectare) estate for repairs to keep costs down. It also depends on donations from individuals to cover its $220,000 operating budget each year. The farm's director, Elizabeth Wylie, has expanded an annual bluegrass festival at the site, started a supper club and opened a reading room to try to attract more locals. “Innovation is the watchword,” she says.
Ms Meeks agrees. The greatest threat to house museums is other house museums, she says—especially as America has around 15,000 of them. Her organisation is exploring partnerships with restaurants and shops at certain sites as a way to find extra income and draw more visitors. But private philanthropists help most. A recent $10m gift for Montpelier, the estate where President James Madison lived in Virginia, will pay for, among other things, rebuilding the site's slave quarters. Other houses are less fortunate in their friends. At Rowan Oak, “We barely make it, but we do make it—just like Faulkner,” Mr Griffith says.
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2.according to 根据，按照
The route that the boatmen choose varies according to the water level.
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3.such as 例如；譬如；诸如
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