Housed in the little white building on the corner of Ford Avenue and Timber Trail, which many of us likely pass in our daily travels, are the vestiges of our collective local history.
The building has a history of its own – built in 1940, it was used as a Kindergarten schoolhouse – and it now serves as home to the Richmond Hill Historical Museum and Society.
Spanning from the times of Native Americans, through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, on through the Ford Era, and finally to the present, the information, artifacts, maps, photos, books and recorded oral histories are ours to share and treasure.
The Historical Society seeks to keep the legacies of Richmond Hill, Bryan Neck and the surrounding areas accessible through the museum and special programs.
“I think the most important thing we do is to maintain a connection with the past, the present, to the future ... to continue to educate the community about where we came from and what has happened in our past,” said Sarah Volker, Richmond Hill Historical Society president.
Admission into the museum, and to all lectures and events within it, is free to all.
In addition to the collections and exhibits, the museum houses a research library.
“It’s available to whoever would like to use it — we only ask that the books not be removed from the building,” said Volker. “We have a lot of the deeds on local property going back hundreds of years, so we have some people coming in and doing research on their family trees.”
Recently, the Bailey Carpenter Barbershop was moved onto the museum grounds. The historical building will be renovated in the coming months for visitor access.
The Society holds monthly meetings at the museum on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. A different program is presented at each meeting, featuring talks, demonstrations or films by local historians, authors and more.
For the full schedule of events, visit www.richmondhillhistoricalsociety.com.
According to Volker, there are a number of ways in which people can get involved with the Richmond Hill Historical Museum and Society, including becoming a member and volunteering.
“We always like to have new members and there are lots of volunteering opportunities – everything from cleaning the museum to gardening to filing … we're always looking for someone who has carpenter skills for maintenance on the building, and we also need new items: things that people have been holding on to, especially photos, tools, utensils, stories. We want stories. We want people to tell us what it was like.”
Volker added, “We just want to make sure that people know what was special about this area and not let that be forgotten.”