Historical Society looks for new space

Quarters in Town Hall too cramped for growing collection of artifacts

May 29, 2002|By Carolynne Fitzpatrick | Carolynne Fitzpatrick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With a growing collection of artifacts, the Mount Airy Historical Society is looking for a bigger space in which to exhibit and store mementos of the town's past.

The 65-member nonprofit organization, formed in 1998, now exhibits and stores artifacts in donated space in the Mount Airy Town Hall.

"We've collected enough artifacts that we're kind of running out of space," said Travis Norwood, the society's president. "We're looking for bigger quarters. We're looking to see what's available."

He said the group is hopeful that larger donated space can be found.

"We're kind of in between nowhere," Norwood said. "We want to continue our mission to maintain the historical concept of the town. But we are running into a problem with space. We have so many things to show the public."

Because of the lack of space, the society has to change exhibits often. The organization would like to display more items and keep some artifacts on display for longer periods, he said.

Since its inception, the society has received everything from photographs to newspaper and magazine articles to artifacts - including cigar boxes from town grocers in the early 1900s, tea kettles purchased at a local hardware and an oil lamp used in a former grocery store.

Other items being sought by the society include: photos of town founder Henry Bussard; photos of former mayors Lycurgus Clary, Gassaway Molesworth and Frank J. Lewis; council election results from 1894; old telephone books; bills of sale from local businesses from the 1800s through 1930; Mount Airy High School yearbooks from the 1920s through the 1940s; holiday cards from 1930 and earlier; and antique kitchen utensils.

People can donate artifacts, articles and photographs to the association by submitting an application.

"There are all kinds of ways to donate," Norwood said, noting the society accepts money to help purchase preservation materials and other items. Volunteer help also is needed.

The Mount Airy Historical Society is open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and on special occasions. Information: Travis Norwood, 301-829-0489.

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