Taylor House Museum Eyes Season Of Expanded Offerings

Taylor House Museum Eyes Season Of Expanded Offerings
Taylor House Susan and Melissa

BERLIN – The Calvin B. Taylor House Museum kicks off a busy season next week with an after-hours event for the Berlin Chamber of Commerce.

On April 27, the museum will open its doors from 5-7 p.m. for the Berlin Chamber of Commerce. The event is the first of a dozen special events scheduled at the Berlin museum this year.

“We’re really hoping to continue to strengthen those connections between commerce Berlin and this historic aspect of Berlin,” said Melissa Reid, a member of the museum’s board of directors.

The after-hours event will mark the debut of a new World War I exhibit in the museum. Though there has been a bit of local World War I memorabilia in the museum’s upstairs gallery, there will now be specific exhibit showcasing items related to local involvement in the war. It will feature cigar case figurines collected by an area resident who was an ambulance driver during the war as well as a uniform worn by a local soldier among other things.

“We’re looking for World War I items from local people if anyone has anything they’d like to donate or loan,” said Susan Taylor, the museum’s curator.

The Taylor House formally opens to the public May 18, International Museum Day. In an effort to accommodate more visitors, the museum will offer new hours this year. It will be open for tours Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In June, the museum will host what could eventually become its primary fundraiser, the second annual Afternoon on the Lawn. The event, essentially a tea party on the museum’s lawn, is set for 3-6 p.m. June 4.

“We got the idea with the popularity of Downton Abbey,” Reid said.

Like all of the museum’s fundraising events, the Afternoon on the Lawn is intended to raise money to help cover the museum’s operating expenses.

“They help with keeping the lights on and maintaining the building,” Reid said. “What we want to ensure is that this cornerstone of Berlin continues forward.”

While last year’s Afternoon on the Lawn was highlighted by the dedication of benches throughout the property, this year’s event will feature a photo display of the museum in its early days. Reid says “Celebrating Historical Vision” is the subtle theme at this year’s event. While it would have been easy to honor Ed Hammond for his efforts or the museum’s founding board members for their work, Reid said museum officials wanted to recognize all of the people who helped make the Taylor House a success.

“We were trying to come up with the best way to celebrate the people who came together to create this museum,” she said.

Reid said like board members, the people who raked leaves in the yard and scraped old paint off the walls had played a role in making the museum a reality.

“There were so many people involved that aren’t necessarily represented in that list of the board of directors,” Reid said, adding that that led museum officials to broaden their focus. “Instead of focusing on specific people we want to focus on the idea of civic pride. Without people just coming in and putting in sweat equity this museum wouldn’t have happened.”

Taylor agreed and added that in addition to the labor involved, area residents had raised $100,000 to get the museum started.

“The whole community’s been involved in different ways,” she said.

In June the museum will also launch its series of summer concerts. Concerts will be held on the lawn of the museum June 11, July 9, Aug. 13 and Sept. 10.

The Taylor House will host the highly popular Berlin Peach Festival Aug. 5 and will wind down the year with holiday events throughout December.

As the year progresses, Reid says she hopes to see the museum host more local school groups. To encourage them to visit, museum officials are trying to develop hands-on activities for students to do during their visits.

They’re also hoping for more area residents to volunteer their time as docents. The museum, which gets close  to 3,000 visitors a year, currently has 24 docents but could always use more, according to Taylor. She says they’re only asked to volunteer once a month.

“We always have new docents serve with old docents,” she said. “Hopefully it’s a pretty relaxed day for them.”

For information on this year’s events or how to volunteer, call the museum at 410-641-1019 or visit taylorhousemuseum.org.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.