If you visit a travel review website such as TripAdvisor or Yelp and search for Drayton Hall, a recurring theme is the enthusiasm for Drayton Hall’s historic house interpreters. Since the house opened to the public in the 1970s, millions of people experienced the house through an interpreter-led tour. This month we are saying goodbye to two interpreters, Denise and Betsy.
Denise Brown has been an interpreter at Drayton Hall since 2006. She has given countless tours where she unfolds the story of the people who lived and worked here in each room. Through the years she has perfected her tour to reveal the mysteries, paradoxes, and stories of Drayton Hall.
Here’s what our Curator of Education Rikki Davenport said about Denise: “My first house tour was with Denise. I watched her captivate and hold the attention of thirty people as she told the story of a house and the people who were part of its history. I remember thinking that I had a lot to live up to if this was the standard for Drayton Hall. I have visited countless house museums across the country and I always compare their tours to the quality of Denise’s tour. Without a doubt, Denise is the brightest star among them all.”
We will never know the magnitude of the impact she has had on our guests over the years, but here are a few reviews collected from TripAdvisor.
“Our tour guide Denise Brown was very knowledgeable and her passion was infectious. She answered all questions and made the tour a lot of fun.”
“Denise was extremely knowledgeable. She was able to give a plausible explanation for everything in the house based around that knowledge. You could almost picture what the house would have been like all those years ago.”
Betsy Kleinfelder has worn many hats at Drayton Hall. Working at Drayton Hall off and on since 2004, Betsy has given public house tours, created a special preservation technology tour, led educational programs, and supervised the site on the weekends. Her specialty is in conservation technology and historic house museums, and she holds an MS in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania. She has also worked at Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia, the Hermann-Grimma and Gallier houses in New Orleans, and the Sustainability Institute in Charleston.
Drayton Hall Preservation Technician Joe Mester, who created the preservation technology tour with Betsy, said the following: “A tireless preservationist, Betsy has served Drayton Hall and Charleston in innumerable ways. From the intricate removal of mud dauber nests from the house’s historic woodwork to conducting energy efficiency tests, she has imparted a testimony of joy in inspiring the lay person to engage in historic preservation.”
Below is praise for Betsy from recent visitor reviews on TripAdvisor:
“Our tour guide Betsy was very knowledgeable and answered many of the questions that were asked during our tour.” “We had a really interesting visit and an excellent guide, Betsy, who told us all about the house and grounds history.”
We wish Denise and Betsy the best of luck in their future endeavors, and thank them for their dedication to Drayton Hall over the years.