"Historic Highlights" for Gilford Steamer’s 4 Nov. 2004 issue

Making T-AHS Collections Accessible to the Public

To preserve Gilford’s cultural heritage is the tenet upon which Thompson-Ames Historical Society is based.

Fortunately, many a Gilford folk has taken this realization to heart and has entrusted to Gilford’s historical society items precious to the family members as well- as to Gilford as a whole.

But accessing these items into T-AHS’S collections is not the end all of the process, for Thompson-Ames Historical Society has as a tangent goal the celebration of Gilford’s cultural heritage.

To celebrate Gilford’s cultural heritage involves providing for the well being of each item, locating it appropriately within the museum buildings, and making it accessible to the public.

Public accessibility is very important and can take a variety of forms. It’s generally known that Thompson-Ames Historical Society often arranges tours or field trips upon request and also extends "Open House" invitations for the public to come visit. Also it is general knowledge that whenever the "Open" flag is displayed at the entry to the Hallway of Historic Signs in the Grange Museum Building, the public is invited to drop in to visit.

But sometimes it is a telephone call or a letter that requests involvement of Thompson-Ames Historical Society. And T—AHS welcomes these opportunities to be of assistance in addressing a question or request.

We thought that the public would be interested in learning about some recent aspects of T-AHS’s being accessible to the public.

The September request that some T-AHS members, attired in appropriate vintage costume, use an "Historic Time Capsule" theme to start off the Gilford Cub Scouts’ new year of meetings was a wonderful opportunity to spot light several items from the T-AHS collections pertinent to early school days, wood working, food preparation, and family entertainment during evening down time. The Cub Scouts were attentive and meaningfully interactive during our presentation. After the T-AHS presentation and the conclusion of the Cub Scout meeting, many of the boys clustered around our antique trunk and its historic contents to get a closer look and to engage us presenters in conversation.

One reoccurring theme in T-AHS tours, field trips, etc., is our desire to point out that life has always had problems that need to be faced and that careful thinking can help suggest approaches that can address these challenges. These Cub Scouts had a sense of what we meant.

Of special interest to us was not only the boys’ keen interest but also their knowledge, especially in respect to the antique jig, used to facilitate wood carving -- a first hand experience they had had as part of earning a badge in wood working.

On Saturday, October 23rd we had an opportunity to observe these Cub Scouts again, this time when they were participating in an "Open House" and tour at Kimball’s Castle, a fund raiser designed to provide moneys needed to meet this year’s Cub Scout expenses.

Thompson-Ames Historical Society had been invited to participate in the day’s activities and had prepared a bulletin hoard display using copies of some of the photographs and other items in its Kimball’s Castle archival collection.

There on display in the central living space of the ground floor of Kimball’s Castle were items that the Cub Scouts had made -- and included were jigs similar to the antique jig that Stan Piper had chosen to take along to the September "Historic Time Capsule" Cub Scout presentation! We had come full circle!

Another opportunity that Thompson-Ames Historical Society had.. in October to reach out to a community request, came in the form of an invitation from GMS sixth graders who were looking into the possibility of requesting that Gilford Village’s "red brick" sidewalk be extended to provide an opportunity for students in the Middle School to walk more safely to and from school. These students, also, were attentive and meaningfully interactive, as well as knowledgeable, during the T-AHS presentation --capably focused in a problem—solving mode.

You may recall that there has been increasing interest in respect to the gardens at Gilford’s historic Rowe House. The challenge has become of interest to several Master Gardeners as well as members of Opeechee Garden Club and the Gilford Garden Club. An "Open House" at Rowe House at 2:30 on Monday, November 1st will be followed up by a series of planning meetings. One meeting is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, November 10th. Interested persons may contact Carmel. Lancia, Marge Muehlke, or Doreen or Gerald Knight directly, or leave a message at T—AHS’S telephone - 527—9009.

Another way for Thompson-Ames Historical Society to make itself and its collections accessible to the public is through a website. The final touches are now being put on the development of Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s website which will be known as the Gilford Historical Society.

We shall keep you posted as we continue to try to preserve and celebrate Gilford’s cultural heritage as well as make the collections accessible to the public.

Membership is Thompson-Ames Historical Society is open to all persons interested in preserving and celebrating Gilford’s cultural heritage. For further information, please telephone 527-9009.