Last week a group worked very hard to get our annual newsletter/membership mailing printed, assembled and out the door. This issue is a compilation of the reports from the annual meeting and summarizes all that has been accomplished throughout the year. Sitting at home and reading the newsletter as a regular member would, I was awestruck at what is accomplished by a dedicated group of volunteers. Sometimes when you are in the thick of it all you lose track of the larger scheme of things.
The big new of the week…year….(maybe decade) – is the Society’s purchase of a building that will be dedicated to collection management and research. Proper collection space has been an issue for as long as I can remember – which is a loooong time! I have been on two building committees, a long-range plan and strategic plan where space was the number one priority.
Our new collection and research facility is two minutes away – just around the corner on US 1 in the center of Hampton Village. Over the winter the building will be retrofitted with an office/research area, collections work space and customized storage areas. No more crowded storeroom where we have to move three things to get to what we needed. When that is completed, the library/meeting area in the main museum building on Park Avenue will be given a face-lift and volunteer work space will be created in the former storage areas. We will get small luxuries like electrical outlets, good lighting and a place to keep work in progress. It will be a dream come true at a fraction what our new building addition was adding up to be.
The other “dream” part of this whole project is that we have a donor who is willing to match contributions made to the building fund dollar for dollar – so our affordable space alternative has become even more so! I want to thank the Building Committee and HHS Board who kept on the issue until a suitable alternative was found. By this summer, our 90th anniversary celebration will be going strong, and we should be ready to show off both locations. More on the building project can be found on our website.
I’d say it was a pretty good week!
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Every week I say to myself “If you wrote a weekly entry on Sunday nights it would be so easy to keep the blog up.” And another week passes and another.. Oh, I know it is Monday, not Sunday…but at least it is a start. On November 9, Thomas Dumont organized a flagpole dedication as […]
Just over a week ago, the museum was in a flurry of activity; in the kitchen we were printing our November newsletter, in the research area we were coordinating our membership dues notices and our 2014 member appeal letters for the annual mailing. We do one massive mailing a year to catch any address changes. Getting all 400 letters assembled with all the bits and pieces, then matching letters to corresponding address labels is quite a job even with mail merge. Once that mailing hits the post office we all breathe a sigh of relief – until next November.
Reading the November newsletter will make you tired! It contains a compilation of all the committee reports from the October annual meeting. The President’s letter shows the latest rendering of the proposed addition to the museum. My letter highlights all that we did last year for the 375th year-long celebration. The Building and Grounds article has a picture of the renovated schoolhouse. The list of all those people who volunteer in some fashion for the Society is really impressive. (You can access all our newsletters on our website ).
Out in our workshop, volunteers worked repairing and painting the Mace skiff that was donated to the museum in September, getting it ship-shape to be on our float in the Hampton Christmas Parade. Inside, where it is much warmer, we worked on cataloging recent acquisitions: a collection of toys used by the Edgerly family; some antique quilts, a stunning cloak and Windsor chair from the Sanborn-Thomson family; women’s undergarments, a quilt, daguerreotypes and books through the Smith family line; and deeds and receipts from the Mace family.
Visitors to the museum included descendants of Stephen Bachiler and Timothy Dalton. We fielded phone calls from California from other Bachiler descendants looking for information and planning a 2014 visit.
Christmas came early with the delivery of our new color printer/copier/scanner. This machine gives us the ability to do so many projects in-house and pulls us into the digital age. We have relied on hand-me down copiers for as long as I have been at the museum (25 years!). Now we can print our own newsletters, posters and brochures, scan oversize documents and use its OCR (optical character recognition) capabilities. It is thanks in part to a donation in memory of Olga Casassa and Hazel Simonds by the Casassa family that we were able to purchase this equipment. We waved a fond farewell as the old copier was rolled out the door.
No two days at the Tuck Museum are ever the same. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Yesterday (September 15) we were getting ready for our last walking tour of the season when a couple of women stopped us and asked where 40 Park Avenue was. This is the place we told them. On further questioning one of the women opened a piece of paper and showed us an address, a name, […]
A local documentary premiered by Joshua Silveria, who by day is a social studies teacher at Timberlane High School. Last summer Joshua came into the museum looking for information on clamming. The volunteers on duty told him about a seacoast industry long gone by – salt marsh farming. Intrigued (or feeling out-numbered) he decided to research it further.
We helped him search for local photographs and recommended folks that might know about haying and local ecology. After interviewing Ellen Goethel, a marine biologist; Harold Fernald a local historian; Eric Small from the Seabrook Historical Society and Alex Herlihey from the Rye Historical Society he went to work writing the script. Our own members Chet Riley and Ben Moore provided some of the narration.
The video was shown to a packed house. Beautiful photography, great editing, music and sound effects made time fly by, and the audience’s enthusiastic response proved that all his hard work was worth it. Now we have a wonderful piece to let all ages know about this by-gone practice.
Visitation at the museum drops down in the winter but our parking lot is always full. Instead of showing guests around, our volunteers spend this time working their various pet projects. We have one person that is gathering all kinds of information from personal property books tracing ownership of the many hotels and business (and getting juicy tidbits of historical happenings); another is researching the Civil War soldiers in Hampton in preparation for our 375th celebration in 2013; while another is going through old records and bill heads from the Lane Store in Hampton Center. All this is happening while we “regulars” work on the cataloging of the collection and the day-to-day operation. With email and cell phones we don’t even let our vacationing volunteers off the hook. There is just nowhere to hide anymore.
We are wrapping up a project for the 401 Tavern on Lafayette Road- when finished almost 100 photos from the late 1800s – early 1900s will be on permanent display. Covering both town and beach activities; they are of the people, places and things that make Hampton so unique. They show vacationers enjoying the beach, the trolley that took these thousands of sightseers there, and images that capture life in a small town village. Most of these photos have not been seen by the general public. A number of us worked on this project and we all had our favorites. It is well worth a visit to the 401 to see these unique photos (and have a great meal at the same time).
Last summer, Joshua Silveria, a high school history teacher, stopped into the museum. As a hobby he makes documentaries (award-winning ones I might add). Joshua became interested in the salt marshes that dominate our NH coastal area and decided to make that the focus his next project. We have enjoyed working with him throughout the process, finding old photos, interviewees and historical resources. We will be hosting a “premier” showing of his work for the public on Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 PM at the Lane Library. I have had a sneak peek and it is very impressive.
Wait until you see what the spring brings….
The volunteers at the Tuck Museum never cease to amaze me!
Such is the case with one of our newest volunteers, Elly Becotte. Knowing that she had volunteered for years at the John Greenleaf Whittier Home in Amesbury, MA, I asked her if she would be willing to collect Whittier’s poetry from the Hampton/seacoast area and assemble it in one place. She did that and more! Elly created a 66 page booklet of his poetry called “John Greenleaf Whittier in Hampton: Poems from a Place of Beautiful Pines.” With each poem, Elly set the stage for understanding the context of the piece and illustrated it with charming sketches.
The booklet is now available for sale at the museum and through our website for $8 (plus postage). A book signing is in the works.