Lecturers focus on old days, old ways

January 22, 2006|By Julie E. Greene

Washington County's Rural Heritage Museum is starting a lecture series Tuesday to help promote the 5-year-old museum and the county's rural heritage, says Leslie Hendrickson, museum administrator.

The hope is that the speaker series will bring more visitors to the museum, which attracted about 3,200 people last year, says Hendrickson with the Friends of the Rural Heritage Museum, which is at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center. The volunteer group runs the museum.

Many people born in the 1970s and 1980s aren't aware of the county's rural heritage and culture, such as that people often communicated news through church, Hendrickson says.


Lecture topics will focus on the county's rural heritage from prior to 1940.

They could include the Revolutionary War, the French and Indian War, the World Wars, sports, quilting demonstrations, gardening topics such as composting and growing root vegetables, and comparing veterinary practices during the early 1900s to now.

Veterinarians used to treat the entire family, not just the farm animals, Hendrickson says.

She also hopes to have a butchering demonstration this year.

For the first lecture, "Indian Names and Mountain Talk" at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, Washington County historian John Frye will talk about the origin of names of geographic features, such as Conococheague and Antietam.

The names for almost all of the county's geographic features have Native American origins, Frye says.

Mindy Marsden, executive director of the Washington County Historical Society, will talk about "Dating Old Photographs" at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16. This session will be interactive. People are encouraged to bring old photographs. Marsden will help date the photos based on clothing or items in the background.

Some lectures will take advantage of the museum's exhibits.

A large stone chimney will be installed in one of the two late-1800s log cabins, outside the museum, so period cooking demonstrations can be done at some point.

A German four-square garden for heirloom vegetables and flowers will be designed on the Ag Center's grounds and a related lecture will be held this year.

Admission to the lecture series is free. Each lecture is expected to last up to an hour with a question-and-answer period afterward. Light refreshments will be provided.

The museum also will continue to host art exhibits.

The first one this season will feature the work of art students who draw images reflecting the county's rural heritage. The exhibit will open April 1, the weekend of the museum's spring open house.

The museum's regular season is April through mid-December, but can be opened during the winter by appointment.

If you go ...


Washington County Rural Heritage Museum lecture series


"Indian Names and Mountain Talk" by Washington County historian John Frye at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24; "Dating Old Photographs" by Mindy Marsden, executive director for the Washington County Historical Society, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16


Washington County Rural Heritage Museum at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, 7313 Sharpsburg Pike




The museum is about eight miles south of Hagerstown on Md. 65 (Sharpsburg Pike).


For more information, call the Rural Heritage Museum at 240-313-2839.
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