Calling all treasure hunters

May 04, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

You'd be surprised what one could find in a restored barn north of Hagerstown.

A full-size, working replica of a Gutenberg press, hundreds of rare Bibles and historic documents signed by Martin Luther, John Calvin and George Washington - these are just a few of the holdings the Christian Heritage Museum plans to share with museum-goers this weekend during the third annual Washington County Museum Ramble.

The museum is using the ramble weekend to debut its collection to the public, says museum curator Norman Conrad. Those who visit the Christian Heritage Museum this weekend will get to see the replica 15th-century Gutenberg press in action and witness a page being printed.

On Saturday, May 6, and Sunday, May 7, 17 of Washington County's 37 museums and historical sites will open their doors to share their collections. Most locations will offer free admission and many museums are planning new exhibits or special activities to coincide with the ramble.


The participating venues "are coordinating efforts for this particular weekend," says Bill Knode, president of the Washington County Association of Museums and Historical Sites. The museums focus on a vast range of topics from rural heritage to fine arts to American history.

The ramble weekend offers Washington County residents and visitors to the county an opportunity to get to know some of the area's museums and to spend time at museums that are either not regularly open to the public or that are not open during the weekend, says Tom Riford, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Jonathan Hager House and Museum will be opening for the season this weekend and the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum will debut an exhibit of slogans from Burma-Shave advertisements, iconic ad from the first half of the 20th century.

At the Boonsborough Museum of History, a display called "Moonshine in Frog Hollow" will debut this weekend. Museum owner and director Doug Bast has assembled a collection of whiskey stills used to make moonshine in Washington County during prohibition. Photographs and other artifacts related to the county's bootleg liquor trade will also be on display.

"This special display really shows you everything," Bast says. Many of the items come from the daughter of a moonshiner who lived in Frog Hollow near Antietam, Md.

Participating museums

The following historic sites will be part of the Washington County Museum Ramble:

  • Boonsborough Museum of History, Boonsboro

  • Bowman House and Boonsboro Historical Society, Boonsboro

  • Christian Heritage Museum, north of Hagerstown

  • Discovery Station and Hagerstown Aviation Museum, Hagerstown

  • Fort Frederick State Park, south of Big Pool

  • Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, Hagerstown

  • Jonathan Hager House and Museum, Hagerstown

  • The Mansion House, Hagerstown; Miller House and Washington County Historical Society, Hagerstown

  • McMahon's Mill Military Museum, Williamsport

  • Pry House Field Hospital Museum, south of Keedysville

  • The Train Room, Hagers-town

  • Train 202 Museum, Hagerstown

  • Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown

  • Washington County Rural Heritage Museum, north of Sharpsburg

  • Washington Monument State Park and Museum, near Boonsboro

  • Williamsport Town Museum, Williamsport.

If you go ...

WHAT: Third annual Washington County Museum Ramble

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 6, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 7.

WHERE: 17 museums throughout Washington County

COST: Admission fees vary, most are free for the ramble

CONTACT: Call 301-791-3246.

MORE: For a map of the various museums participating in the museum ramble, go to and click on "Participating Sites/Museums" or pick up a museum ramble brochure and map at the Downtown Hagerstown Visitors Center, 16 Public Square in Hagerstown.

The Herald-Mail Articles