BERLIN — From Pocomoke to Ocean City, Berlin to Ocean Pines, there’s something happening at every corner of the region during Worcester County History Week, scheduled for Oct. 10-16.
History Week evolved from an annual tour of historic homes presented by the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum begun in 2017.
This year, along with the continuation of the home tour, events are planned at the Sturgis One Room Schoolhouse Museum and the Delmarva Discovery Museum in Pocomoke, the Julia A. Purnell Museum in Snow Hill, the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum in Berlin, the Ocean Pines Association, and the Worcester County Libraries and Worcester County Tourism.
Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum Curator Christine Okerblom is among the organizers of the expanded event this year.
“History week opens the door to our region’s past, allowing residents and visitors alike to learn more about Worcester County’s rich history,” she said. “Our local libraries, museums, and historic sites have come together to create Worcester County History Week. We hope that this weeklong event becomes a fall tradition for all who attend.”
Among the scheduled events, Alec Staley, the local history librarian for Worcester County Libraries, will host educational sessions both in Snow Hill and Ocean Pines.
“Worcester County Library is excited to join History Week, and to show our commitment to preserving local history,” he said. “The first libraries in Worcester County were the Friendly Library in Berlin, the Snow Hill Library, and the Pocomoke City Library, all operating in the early 1900s. These libraries were all independently operated by donations or through a subscription service.”
Later, Staley said, Ocean City formed a small, independent library around 1950.
“It was not until December 8, 1959, that Worcester County Library was formed into a publicly funded system that now includes the Snow Hill, Pocomoke City, Berlin, Ocean City, and the relatively new Ocean Pines library,” Staley said. “During History Week, we will be showing old photographs, documents, and newspaper clippings to celebrate Worcester County Library’s history, and our deep connection with the community.”
The full lineup of events, as of this week, are:
Oct. 12: Delmarva Discovery Museum (2 Market Street, Pocomoke City), Ocean Pines Players Theater Company Brings History to Life, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Regular admission. Experience an interactive play, featuring a historical Marylander and hosted by the Delmarva Discovery Museum.
Oct. 13: Delmarva Discovery Museum, Storytelling by Cheryl Doughty of the Pocomoke Indian Nation, 11 a.m. Regular admission.
Oct. 10-16: Sturgis One Room Schoolhouse Museum (209 Willow Street, Pocomoke City). Donations accepted The Sturgis Museum will offer discounted annual memberships and tours. The Sturgis Museum, retaining its original integrity, speaks of life and education in a rural, African American community.
Oct. 16: Julia A. Purnell Museum (208 West Market Street, Snow Hill), FiberFest! Traditional Arts and History Festival, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Discover local fiber and traditional arts, history, and culture at the annual festival held at the museum grounds in Snow Hill. The event will include food trucks, craft vendors, live music, craft demonstrations, animals, and more.
Oct. 10: Calvin B. Taylor House Museum (208 North Main Street, Berlin), Homecoming Harvest, 2-5 p.m. Free. A community outreach event celebrating past, present, and future generations of Berlin families. Genealogy records and census records for research will be available, and oral histories will be collected. The event will also include performances by local musical groups.
Oct. 16: Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, Ocean Pines Players present “Clara Barton,” 2-4 p.m. Free for members, $10 for nonmembers. The Ocean Pines Players will perform an original play about the life of Barton, to coincide with a newly displayed artifact of a letter written by her. An exhibit by the NABB Research Center will be on display. The museum will also offer free admission to all Eastern Shore locals during History Week.
Oct. 10: Ocean Pines Association (Community Center, 235 Ocean Parkway, Ocean Pines), History Panel, 2-4 p.m. Free. The History Panel will feature guest speakers with a long history in the Ocean Pines community. Attendees at the event, which will be free and open to the public, will hear first-hand accounts of the speakers’ experiences as Ocean Pines evolved from a small resort community to a thriving, year-round home and vacation destination.
Oct. 13: Worcester County Libraries, History of Libraries in Worcester County, 5 p.m. (Snow Hill branch) and Oct. 14, 2 p.m. (Ocean Pines Branch) Free. Some of the libraries in Worcester County date to the early 1900s. Join Local History Librarian Alec Staley in learning about the history of the local libraries.
Oct. 16: Worcester County Tourism’s Harbor Day at the Docks. This free waterfront festival celebrates the county’s rich history and maritime heritage, as well as the exciting sport fishing and commercial fishing industries. Event highlights will include seafood cooking demonstrations, crab-picking contests, fish-cleaning demonstrations, local angler displays, nautical artisans, educational exhibits, entertainment, food, and fun children’s activities.
Oct. 11-15: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum (813 South Atlantic Avenue, Ocean City) presents History of our Surfmen, 1 p.m. Offered for free, the museum will take a close look at equipment that was used by the United States Life-Saving Service to conduct a rescue. This program will be held inside the museum’s boat room.
Open Nominations: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, Annual Spirit Award. The museum invites locals to submit nominations for the Spirit Award, honoring those who have helped preserve local history. Both individuals and organizations are eligible. Visit www.ocmuseum.org for nomination requirements.
Open Submissions: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum’s Lou Parsons III Memorial Photo Contest. Lou Parsons was a beloved member of the Ocean City Museum Board for many years. In honor of Parsons, the museum will host a photo contest. Visit www.ocmuseum.org for requirements. Online entries will be accepted until Oct. 1. A winner in each category will be announced on Oct. 16, along with a grand prize winner.
Oct. 10: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, Historic House Tour, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets, $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers, are available at www.ocmuseum.org The Ocean City Museum Society will host its third annual Historic House Tour. Spend the day discovering the history of everyone’s favorite beach town. This event will allow guests to step into the past and tour some of Ocean City’s oldest homes, churches, and establishments. At each location, an educator will be on-site to discuss the unique history of the building.
Oct. 11: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, Fall Photo Opportunity, Oct. 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free, stop by the museum for a unique, fall photo opportunity. Pose with a display of fall flowers, pumpkins, and hay located on the boardwalk in front of the museum’s shark display. A staff member will be onsite to take each family photo.
Oct. 12: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, Book Signing and Reading with Local Author. Free admission; book purchases are an added charge Local author Maria Grosskettler will sign copies of her newest book, “Tracks.” In addition to reading a selection from her book, she will share her experience of researching Berlin history.
“I am a local author, but also a local historian. Researching the history of Berlin truly created this story,” Grosskettler explained. “It is powerful to look through archives and learn about people who once walked the streets of Berlin. I took what I learned from history, crafted a story, and shared it with the world.”
For the author, a love and appreciation of the town radiate throughout the story. Her husband, the son of two Ocean City Boardwalk business owners, was raised in Berlin. With decades of memories and vast knowledge, his contributions spawned countless plots in the mind of his wife.
“I’ve always had an imagination and always have been a storyteller but hearing so many stories from my husband about growing up here in small-town America threw me right into the project,” she explained. “We’ve actually joked lately to some of our friends that we wonder what other couples who aren’t writing a book talk about! It’s been a really great process since I am a history lover, and he loves this town.”
Grosskettler, an elementary school teacher in Annapolis, is passionate about encouraging children to read in an age where phones and games win much of their attention. By ending each chapter with a cliff-hanger and working hard to hook young readers, she hopes that kids never forget the value of literacy and old-fashioned storytelling.
“We have to find ways to keep our students reading for life,” she said. “By writing from different perspectives and making each chapter new and exciting, I hope I reeled them in.”
Oct. 13: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, Preserving of the Past, Free limited space is available, and registration is required. Visit www.ocmuseum.org. Join Assistant Curator Cara Downey and local history librarian Alec Staley in learning how to preserve old photographs and paper.
Oct. 15: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, Paranormal Event. Tickets are available at www.ocmuseum.org. Space is limited.
Follow along with the Dead of Night Paranormal team and experience the spirits that occupy the Ocean City Life-Saving Station during evening hours.
Oct. 16: Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, History Comes to Life, 1-4 p.m. Free. Actors from Ocean Pines Players will portray figures from Ocean City’s storied past. Meet Zippy Lewis, who made a living selling shipwreck remains. Ocean City’s first doctor, Dr. Townsend, will share what it was like being the only physician in town. Last but not least, meet Laughing Sal, known as the Laughing Lady. More info: www.ocmuseum.org
For more information on Worcester County History Week, visit www.facebook.com/WorcesterCountyHistoryWeek.