By Georgene Brazer, local columnist.
A smile greets visitors as they come through the door of the Richmond Hill History Museum. The smile and warm greeting comes from a handsome, well spoken woman, Jennifer Grover, who runs the museum. Jennifer is a woman of great poise who comfortably shares information about the history of Richmond Hill with visitors… History is hers as she tells me she enjoys sharing her knowledge and constantly adds to it as visitors share their stories with her. Jennifer says with conviction, “history here is a sharing with visitors that’s reciprocal, giving me an even greater inventory of facts.”
That love of history came through as we talked of the era of Henry Ford and his time in Richmond Hill, then known as Ways Station. “The town he built, is like nowhere else in the world…a utopian society that bettered the lives of the people living here. His desire to enrich people through education continues into the present time. The excellent education this area is known for started with Henry Ford.”
Her understanding of history is built upon years of work as an archeologist and historic preservationist . The position at the museum gives her a chance to tie in her vast talents and knowledge of “what’s beneath the ground “ at places like the Ford Plantation, Waterways, the Old Mill, Strathy Hall, giving her a deeper story of our history and environs. Jennifer came through a dark time when in 2017 her husband, Greg Stigall, passed away. A woman of strength and fortitude she looked at me and said she realized it was time to rearrange her life from working at home …widowed, an empty nester….a perfect segway from her archeological jobs to COVID and now with the museum, “a way to interact once again with people.” As I listened to her explain life’s dramatic changes I realized she spoke for all of us. Change comes, do we grow with it? She took her experiences, her love of Richmond Hill, her degrees in archeology and came to work at the museum to enrich all who enter.
Jennifer previously worked in archeology throughout the United States, Canada, and even the Caribbean. Working on everything from large Native American villages to identifying and recording the lost towns that once stood on the land we now call Fort Stewart. These places make her reflect, “whether people we record were rich, poor, successful, survivors of their time, they wanted the same for their lives as we do today”.
A woman with a wealth of knowledge brings her vast experiences and stories to Richmond Hill. Working on developing programs, membership, fundraising, and welcoming us to the wonders of our special museum. Her goal is to share the history with all that live here and visit. Thank you Jennifer for the riches of learning you bring to all who hear you speak of our wonderful Richmond Hill.