Purnell Museum’s Season Opens With Historic Summer Exhibit

SNOW HILL — When the Julia A. Purnell Museum reopens on April 2 for the 2013 season, a new exhibit will be on display featuring the museum’s collection of historic bathing costumes. Summer at the Shore also includes information and artifacts related to Ocean City and Public Landing.

The museum has a fine collection of swimwear, from women’s wool bathing dresses from the late nineteenth and early 20th century, to suits from the 1950s and 1960s. These artifacts (some of which have not been previously exhibited) will form the base of the exhibit.

Also included are photographs of Ocean City in the early 20th century and Public Landing during its heyday, and an array of beach-related artifacts from the museum’s collection, as well as several items generously loaned from the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum. The exhibit has interactive elements such as telescope pictures with historic beach photos from the museum’s collection inside.

“Many of our visitors are aware of Ocean City’s long history,” said the museum’s Claire Otterbein. “But fewer know about Public Landing when it was a popular resort.”

Public Landing, just outside Snow Hill on the Chincoteague Bay, was a thriving resort in the early 20th century. It offered vacationers a long pier with games and amusements and a bathing beach. It was a popular destination until the hurricane of 1933 devastated it.

Summer at the Shore was created with funds from a mini-grant received from the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council. The LESHC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose purpose is to preserve, promote, and protect the historical, cultural and natural heritage of Maryland’s Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties.

Also new this year at the Purnell Museum is a temporary exhibit entitled Read All About It: Books, Magazines & More. This display includes publications, scrapbooks and objects related to reading and writing. Both new exhibits will be on display starting April 2.

Beginning April 2, the Purnell Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults and free for children, courtesy of the Berlin-Ocean City Optimist Club. For more information, contact the museum at 410-632-0515.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.