Since it’s the end of August and wedding season is upon us, we thought we’d sneak in a short interview with the man behind the proverbial curtain. I sat down with Sahand Miraminy, the man, the myth, the events coordinating legend to talk to him about his Cottage evolution, and how he balances singing, decorating, and running the entire site rental program from his (beautifully styled) office.
You’ve been working at the Cottage for over seven years now. What is your current title, and in your own words, summarize your role here at the Cottage.
I started at the Cottage on Valentine’s Day of 2011. You could say it was love at first sight! I’m the Events Manager for our award-winning site rental program. I manage private and corporate events from start to finish. Retreats, meetings, dinners, weddings, birthday parties, memorial services, workshops, you name it!
Walk us through a typical day of your job. Where are you on a Monday morning or a Friday afternoon?
Half of my time is spent at my desk eating pizza rolls while working on contracts and responding to inquiries. The other half is spent working an actual events or conducting site visits for potential clients. On a really busy day, I average 9 miles on foot between all of our rentable spaces!
What’s your proudest moment so far while working at the Cottage?
I’m just so proud of so much of what we do, and I’m incredibly proud to work for an inclusive organization that stands up for what is right.
How about the craziest thing you’ve seen during an event?
They might be reading this. Next question!
People are surprised when they see the Events Manager also singing the National Anthem at our naturalization ceremonies or various programs. Tell us more about your hidden talents.
Oh their poor ears! I’ve been singing and playing various instruments my whole life. Celtic harp anyone? I’ve had a lot of great experiences singing in various places — stages, YouTube, and even the Vatican! I put a lot of that on the back burner so I could go to school to pursue a career in the museum world. I recently picked up songwriting again though and it’s a great way to creatively express myself.
Tell us more about what’s coming up next for site rentals here at the Cottage.
Let’s just say we have some VERY exciting things coming soon to the site rental program. Guests will be able to experience the property in a way that has never been possible. Get ready, folks!
Favorite historic space on the grounds? Why?
One of my favorite spots is on the lower grounds where Lincoln and his family would have enjoyed carriage rides. The footprint of the historic roads hasn’t changed and many are lined with ancient trees. It’s only open to the public during our Freedom 5K race, and we have a number of people who sign up just so they could walk it and take in the view! Our next Freedom 5k is on September 22nd, so don’t miss out!
What’s one question you would ask Abraham Lincoln?
Do you like my beard?
What’s in your fridge? (Dare I ask?)
Lactose free milk. Every night before bed, I need milk and something. Cereal, cookies, or especially a cinnamon roll!
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, besides Lincoln (he’s already at the table), who would it be and why? What would you serve?
Mary Lincoln, only so they could just enjoy a meal together one last time. I’d serve Lincoln’s favorite: Chicken Fricassee, followed by Mary Lincoln’s famous almond cake. I don’t even think I would intrude and join them. Call me a romantic! (I’d like Willie to drop by for dessert.)
Lastly — and I ask everyone this — what’s your elevator pitch for why people should visit the Cottage?
It’s a place where you go to learn about a remarkable person, and yet you somehow walk away learning about yourself.
For further inquiries regarding site rentals, how one becomes a YouTube star, or if you simply want to talk about cats, you can email Sahand Miraminy at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find him eating pizza rolls at his desk in the Visitor Education Center surrounded by antique portraits of Lincoln he bought on eBay, moving tables and chairs for an event, or playing a sonata on the organ in Stanley Chapel.