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Woodstock Museum celebrates 40 years of preserving history

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

Rosemary Clower holds a colorful crazy quilt
Rosemary Clower, wearing a dress that was her mother's, holds a colorful crazy quilt made in the 1880s from pieces of material during the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Museum on Saturday. Andrew Thayer/Daily

A table set in the late 1700s
A table as it would have been set in the late 1700s to early 1800s is shown at the Wickham House. The collection was given to the museum by J. Ross Baughman, whose ancestors settled in Shenandoah County. Andrew Thayer/Daily

Frank Kobilis shows one of his rifles
Frank Kobilis, a firearms expert in Edinburg, shows one of his self-made flintlock Kentucky long rifles. Andrew Thayer/Daily

cobbler's tools
A cobbler's tools are shown in the foreground while cameras line the the back wall. The large studio camera was used by local photographer, Hugh Morrison, Jr. at his studio on Court Street during the early 1900s. Andrew Thayer/Daily

Alma Hottle is given an ax
Alma Hottle is given an ax by J. Ross Baughman, center. Looking on are Troy Marshall, Co. F of the 34th Mass. Infantry, Joe Babcock, 49th VA Infantry and his son, Hunter, a MMA cadet and musicians, Barbara Stevens and Patrick McCauley during the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock Museum on Saturday. Andrew Thayer/Daily

WOODSTOCK -- Compared to Woodstock's founding more than 250 years ago, 40 years isn't a long time.

Still, the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Museum of Shenandoah County, Virginia Inc. is a milestone worth celebrating.

Despite gray skies and some rain, singing, basket weaving, spinning, ice cream scooping and other activities went on as planned Saturday afternoon at the Marshall House and annex and at the nearby Wickham House.

Various crafters, re-enactors and period experts were on hand displaying their skills and wares.

Former Woodstock Museum President Bob Lowerre was in the Marshall House annex -- a sort of high-ceilinged garage -- telling visitors about the items on display, including the old town pump, a still, a sleigh, a World War I airplane propellor and a long fish gig.

The museum acquired the Marshall House, a stone two-story on the corner of Muhlenberg and Court streets, about five years ago after county building inspectors declared its former home at 137 W. Court St. unsafe.

"We think it has turned out great for us," Lowerre said of the move. "[The annex] has things that we never could've exhibited before because there was no place to show them. We have some items that were in the Baughman collection that are very rare, from the 1700s."

J. Ross Baughman was at the celebration. His family's collection is on loan to the museum after the collection lost its former home in Easton, Pa. Most of the collection is at the Wickham House behind the old courthouse.

Woodstock was his family's first home after leaving Switzerland in 1735, according to Baughman. The family left the area about 150 years ago, he said.

"And, it's taken this long for me to finally come back home," he joked.

Wood turner Charlie Galambos, of Cedar Creek, presented the museum with a bowl he made from the wood of the maples removed from in front of the old Shenandoah County Courthouse last summer. When the maples were taken down, he put in the only bid for the trunks.

Inside the Marshall House, Joan F. Knight, former curator of the Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, was in a bedroom displaying quilts and samples.

"I brought some things just so people could be familiar with how quilts are made, either by appliqué or by patchwork," she said.

Quilts should be kept in families or given to collections, Knight said, "to preserve the history of the families that made them."

"It gives the people that may not have those in their family an opportunity to see them and view them if they're in a museum collection," she said.

Quilts' patterns reflect the times in which they were made, and whether all the same fabric was used to make a quilt or whether it was made from scraps of clothing is a clue as to the quilter's economic situation, Knight said.

Museum President Alma Hottle joined the organization a year or two after its inception. It has an important purpose, she said.

"So that people are aware of all of the history that's in these places like the Wickham House and the Marshall House," Hottle said. "That's history from people that were here. When you have a place that you can go in and see history right there and think, 'Oh, I didn't know these things were that old,' or 'I didn't know they had things like that,' I think it's fantastic. I just really believe in history, and I think if you throw things away, what are you going to have to [show] your grandchildren?"

It was Joyce Hamrick's first visit to the Marshall House, whose displays included medicine and hygiene bottles and implements, guns and Civil War artifacts, a schoolroom set-up and cooking implements.

"It's displayed [so] that you can see it well," she said. "We see a lot of people that we remember in pictures."

It was also Peggy Sollenberger and her husband Steve Morlan's first trip inside the home. Both were born at the Cora Miller Memorial Hospital, which used to be on Muhlenberg Street. She grew up on the street and her church is also on it.

"I think it's great, and I also think it's important to support this type of thing within a community, and I love this house," Morlan said. "[It's important] to maintain the history, the continuity of how the town came about, how it developed, how we got where we are now. I'm also glad to see what's here as we have company from time to time. We will bring them here."

Anyone interested in joining the museum or becoming a docent should call Hottle at 459-3455.

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