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Tributes to Retiring Governor Helen Scott Reed

After nearly 40 years of service to the Trust, Helen Scott Reed of Richmond, VA, will step down from the Board of Governors at the end of 2019. Invited to join the board in 1980 by then-president Wendell Garrett, Helen Scott has served the organization with distinction. As highlighted in the Winter 2017–2018 issue of the Trust’s Magazine, she was the primary driving force behind the creation of the Study Trip Abroad program in the 1990s and has led dozens of programs across Europe to the delight and benefit of our members. Helen Scott also served as the Board’s Treasurer (1992–1995) and Secretary (1995–2013). Some of her countless admirers reflected on her contributions.


Welcoming, warm, and with boundless energy, Helen Scott Reed provides unlimited background material readily shared to enhance every learning experience. She is never impatient with those less knowledgeable and has typically visited tour sites in advance, which results in insight into regional history and culture extending beyond the decorative arts. Helen Scott is a unique person we will always feel thankful to call a friend.

—Molly and Jim Weaver, Pepper Pike, OH


Helen Scott Reed is the ultimate traveling companion. We know from experience, having traveled with her overseas and in the United states. Not only cheerful and witty, she’s a well-informed art and architectural historian who shares folders of articles relevant to the sites and figures we are studying on the bus while she talks about the myriad subjects at hand: Zuber wallpaper, Robert Adam, Meissen porcelain, Angela Merkel, anything she imagines we would enjoy and profit from understanding in closer detail. This is not good-bye! We hope to see her and travel with her for years to come.

—Cynthia Redick and Robin Bent, Bethesda, MD


For as long as we have been members of the Trust, Helen Scott has been a tour de force. An ardent Virginian proud of all things Jefferson and American, her heart is in the European decorative arts. As soon as she could convince the Trust Board of Governors (particularly John Sweeney) that we needed to venture abroad (to see where Americans got their inspiration, of course) she was off and running. In her 80th year, she hasn’t slowed down a bit and remains voracious in her love for culture. She particularly relishes the hunt to see the most unique object or place, no matter how obscure it is or how long it takes to get there. Her enthusiasm for discovery led to many an overly ambitious itinerary that Trust tour guides frantically tried to curtail. She wanted everyone in the Trust to share in the excitement and to experience what she saw. Helen Scott led our tours with her bold persona, her magnificent gregarious laughter, and her generous warmth.

—Kelly and Randy Schrimsher, Huntsville, AL


I met Helen Scott in 2009 on my first Study Trip Abroad. Due to the economic downturn, the trip barely had enough registrants to be viable, but off we went to Maastricht and the Netherlands, all nine of us! The weather was not great, and I knew no one. What a welcoming presence Helen Scott was! She had an impressive knowledge of the decorative arts and European history, which she shared with us, and a fine sense of humor. On the coach, she passed around a treasure trove of information, and in the evenings regaled us with stories about her previous experiences in the places we were exploring. It turns out that Helen Scott has been almost everywhere at least twice! I have been privileged to travel with her many times over the past ten years, and have benefited from her guidance and camaraderie. I will miss you, Helen Scott, and am comforted knowing that I will continue to see you and that you will keep traveling.

—Christine Mumm, Sperryville, VA


There are a few things to know about Helen Scott, and get everyone chuckling:

1. All roads lead to The Hanseatic League

2. How can you forget those 5×7 cards being passed around the bus, each with the latest trip’s new details penned around the borders. She is curious beyond all reckoning, and around her it’s contagious!

3. There is not anyone she doesn’t know or is related to. When we joined the Trust, we soon met and were mesmerized by the rather formidable Helen Scott. We continue to be dazzled by her tremendous knowledge of Europe across centuries, and her very keen eye for details that we have passed by. She is amazing! Our hope is that she stays very involved with the Trust, even as she takes a holiday from our board. We love you Helen Scott Reed!

—Dee and Chuck Akre, Washington, VA


On trips she’s been called autocratic,
Her commentary like a museum didactic,
But we love her indeed
Our Helen Scott Reed,
AKA Queen of All Things Hanseatic.

—Ralph Harvard, New York, NY


New Study Trip Abroad Scholarship Named in Honor of Helen Scott Reed

In recognition of Helen Scott’s contributions to the Trust’s Study Trips Abroad, the Board plans to create a scholarship in her name to be awarded each year to allow a student of European decorative arts to participate in the program. Gifts in support of this scholarship will be gratefully received.

A print version of this article was published in The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, one of our most popular member benefits. Join today!

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