Berlin’s Taylor House Museum Promotes Junior Historian Program

Berlin’s Taylor House Museum Promotes Junior Historian Program
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BERLIN – A new program at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum is using historic artifacts to engage local children.

Junior Historians, a program started in late 2022 at the Taylor House Museum, was created as a way to both take advantage of the array of artifacts within the facility and inspire an interest in it among area children. As officials continue to organize and review museum collections, they’re continually finding interesting artifacts. Not all of the items can be on display all the time. Junior Historians is giving local kids a chance to get an up-close look at some of those artifacts.

“We don’t want them just sitting on a shelf,” said Melissa Reid, president of the museum. “If we’re not presenting them back to the community what’s the point?”

Junior Historians, which is held roughly once a month, was created late last year after the Taylor House received a $12,000 grant from the Miller History Fund administered by the Maryland Center for History and Culture.

“We were one of the select museums on the receiving end of this money,” Reid said.

Because the museum offers story time for young kids, Reid said officials wanted to use the grant to create some programming for older kids, those in the 7- to 15-year-old range. Last year, Junior Historians let them explore iron gall ink. They observed historic documents and then practiced writing with quills. This month, they pored over the museum’s old maps and even examined the survey tools used by William Pitts.

“We talked about the compass rose and they went outside and made a map of the property,” Reid said.

Next month, the Junior Historians program will give kids a chance to use the ice cream maker that was included in the museum’s inventory and talk about other foods from the 1800s. In April, they’ll get to make rag rugs and talk about historic textiles.

“You didn’t just go to Walmart,” Reid said.

She said each session gives kids a chance to look at the museum’s artifacts but also includes a hands-on activity.

“If we share something and they make a craft it’s rooted more in their brain because of the experience,” she said. “We’re hoping it’s inspiring another general to appreciate history.”

While the museum’s regular season doesn’t begin until May, volunteers are staying busy enhancing exhibits and exploring ways to make the facility even more visitor friendly. Reid said one project underway was an effort to gather and preserve more information about Calvin B. Taylor. While some of the artifacts on display are his, Reid said the idea was to create more of a specific exhibit. “People know of him because of the bank but he was really a beloved figure in Berlin,” she said, adding that he had been involved in the community as a teacher and lawyer as well. “Like Rev. Tindley he’s a good example of the best of Berlin.”

Another project underway is an initiative to create QR codes for particular aspects of the museum. Officials would like to see one QR code that could provide a link to information regarding the museum’s furniture, for example, while another could provide a link to information regarding the Covington family.

“QR codes are a way for people to tailor a tour to their own interests,” Reid said, adding that it would also supplement the information docents could provide. “We’re going to pilot that program this summer with a few QR codes.”

For more information about the museum and a full schedule of this year’s events, visit its website,

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.