Saturday the museum hosted an artifact wash in front of the visitor center. Members from the Fairfield Foundation brought artifacts from one of their regional digs. Various objects were cleaned including 17th century glass, 18th century ceramics, 19h century nails, oyster shells, animal bones, and pieces of brick. It was a hands on approach to learning about history!
It’s a cool time for a visit to the museum! The air conditioning works great.
Everything old is new again as the museum has yet again transformed itself. Through the generosity of various Middlesex residents, our collection has grown extensively over the past year. Robert Montague, Pat Perkinson, and Helen Morgan have made generous object donations to the museum. Many have also stepped forward to loan objects for display including Vel Gray, Eileen O’Brien, Alvin Hill, Gene Ruark and Steve Shinn. The museum and its stories of the county has become a true community effort.
Childhood is such a wonderful time of fun and games and that energetic outlook has been captured in the new exhibit “Childhood in Middlesex.” Showcasing the formative years, the exhibit includes toys, board games, a 1920’s scooter, metal trains, wooden planes, building blocks and glass marbles. Two paper doll collections, rag dolls, bisque dolls, and china dolls. A wonderful wooden dollhouse replica of George Washington’s Mt. Vernon is also now on loan.
Furniture includes a nursing chair, eighteenth century high chair, 19th century Bentwood cradle. Also included in the exhibit is early 20th century clothing, a christening gown, and baby shoes.
School days are illustrated with school desks, chalkboards, microscopes and typewriters: all surrounded by diplomas from past graduates.
Our new extended fossil collection is also on display with Megalodon Shark teeth and a variety of corals. On loan is an extensive collection of Native American pieces from two private collections of spear points, arrowheads and ax heads.
We also have a 25-piece collection of pocketknives now on display, including a SA Dagger from a WWII German Officer.
Picnics, parties, and get-togethers are discussed in relationship to Middlesex’s social scene in another new exhibit. On display is a 1920’s flapper dress, a 1930’s smoking jacket, various hunt riding attire and a side saddle. Two new portraits of Virginia Governor Andrew Jackson Montague (1902-1906) and his wife Elizabeth are displayed with lighting and furniture from the Victorian era.
Also included in the exhibit is a four-legged resident, the 1918 Kentucky Derby winner Exterminator, who has also called Middlesex home. During his lifetime he won 51 of his 99 races. He even had a children’s book written about him in the 1950s, “Old Bones, the Wonder Horse.” His owner was the heir to the “Swamp Root” fortune and his summer home was located here in Remlick.
Chesty Puller’s exhibit has many new additions including a life-size cutout of the general and many newspaper clippings from his career. We have collected two oral histories now on display of men who served under Chesty during their military service.
An Open-House will be held on Sunday July 26 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in honor of the new exhibits. Robert Montague will host an ice-cream social on the grounds of the museum to celebrate summer in Middlesex. Come and bring the children and grandchildren for a fun afternoon of exploring our local history.
Recently the Bear Den from Pack 307 toured the museum and spent time learning brick building techniques from the 1700s.
The Museum Annex has been receiving a lot of attention the past couple of months through very needed updates. It has been rewired and central air and heat has been added. Insulation has been blown into the walls and added to the attic. A new sign now stands proudly in the front yard. Soon new windows and doors will finish up the renovation. Funds for the project had been donated through both public and private means. Generous donations from the general public as well as matching funds from the Middlesex County EDA covered the costs of the updates. Additional grant funds will be sought for ADT security for the building. Come stop by for a visit!
The Middlesex County Museum has partnered with the Town of Urbanna to curate exhibits in the historic Scottish Factor Store located within the town. Built in 1766 by James Mills, the building is one of the oldest still standing in the county and was an early center of trade and commerce for Middlesex.
The 1755 John Mitchell Map is the focus of one of the exhibits. As one of the earliest maps drawn of the 13 Colonies of America, it was used to negotiate the treaties between Britain and the United States that ended the Revolutionary War. This beautifully drawn map takes up an entire wall and is quite spectacular to see. Other exhibits in the room with the map overview James Mills and Company and Urbanna’s Scottish Factor Store. Displays detail commerce and trade in the 1700s and the role of tobacco in the success of the Scottish Factor Stores in Virginia. On loan for the exhibit are antiques from the collections of Trimbles Tavern Antiques. A large assortment of period objects that would have been sold in the store during the 18th century is included in the display.
“The Oyster Is King” is the theme of another exhibit that showcases the importance of the oyster and oystering to Middlesex County’s history. A vast variety of historical objects and photographs explain the process and procedures of growing and harvesting this delicious mollusk including touch and feel buckets and video footage.
Urbanna’s Scottish Factor Store is open Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm.
Boy Scout James Williams from Troop 341 installed his Eagle Scout Project, a new sign last weekend in Puller Park, across the street from the museum. Each letter stands four feet tall and is two feet wide. It is a welcoming visual into the county as you enter Saluda from Route 17 on General Puller Highway. L is for love of history, O for love of agriculture, V for love of boating, and E for love of oysters. All graphics are symbols of Middlesex County. This sign is part of the Virginia is for Lovers tourism campaign.
Board Member and Museum Supporter Vaughan Noble died earlier this month. He enjoyed history and collecting antiques. His 'Country Store' collection was donated to the Middlesex County Museum and is the focus of our 1930’s General Store display here on the floor of the museum. We are all saddened by the news and are reprinting his obituary here as a tribute to him and his tireless energy and enthusiasm for Middlesex County and its history.
Richmond Times Dispatch
NOBLE, Burns Vaughan, 88, of Richmond, Va., died June 1, 2014. He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Vaughan Noble; father, Charles Irving Noble; two brothers, five sisters; and one grandchild, Drue McIver Noble. He is survived by his loving wife, Ruth Wallace Kehoe Noble; and two sons, J. Conway Kehoe Jr. (Mary Liz) and B. Vaughan "Van" Noble Jr. Survivors also include his grandchildren, John C. Kehoe III (Robyn), Mary Kehoe Nesheim (Eric), Christine Kehoe Taylor, B. Vaughan "Van" Noble III (Shannon), Holly Trulove Noble; and great-grandchild, Lillian "Lilly" Trulove Noble. Vaughan was born October 25, 1925 in Amelia County, Va. He graduated from Amelia High School in 1943, and then earned a degree in accounting at Virginia Tech in 1949. After working at Liberty Mutual for nine years, he founded and developed the B. Vaughan Noble Insurance Agency, Inc. in 1958. Vaughan became one of the top Independent Insurance Agents in the state of Virginia. He was president of Mutual Insurance Agents Association of Virginia. The National PIAA recognized him as an outstanding agent in 1971 and honored him in 1999 with a life membership in the association in recognition of his work in the industry. Participation in many civic associations, including significant assistance with fund raising on various boards of the churches of which he was a member, led him to serve on the Corporate Board for the Virginia United Methodist Homes, as well as an appointment to the Building Committee for the Hermitage at Cedarfield. Vaughan enjoyed collecting antiques and sported a 'Country Store' in his basement of acquired items: a superior collection which was donated to the Middlesex County Museum near his river home. It was at the river home that he fully developed the 'country boy' that he was, by raising a full garden every year that he could share with others. Crabbing in the river and hunting deer in the fall were among the loves of his life as a naturalist. Always welcoming guests and cooking splendid meals for those lucky enough to be family and friends, he encouraged the joy of life. His greatest love, Ruth, was at his side virtually from the time they met. A devoted family man, he offered support in every way and set a strong example for all who crossed his path. A memorial service will be held at The Hermitage at Cedarfield, 2300 Cedarfield Pkwy., Richmond, Va. 23233, on Thursday, June 5, at 2 p.m. Interment will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 10, at Bethel United Methodist Church, 6800 South Genito Rd., in Amelia County. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association of Richmond, www.alz.org, or Middlesex County Museum & Historical Society, www.middlesexmuseum.com. Guestbook online at www.blileys.com.
Stained Glass artisan Al Langer has created a beautiful tribute to “The Rivah Life” that is part of the historical heritage of Middlesex County. Measuring 19 inches by 25.5 inches, the hanging window piece has multiple panes of colorful wavy glass that recall the water and the life that is lived around it everyday. For anyone who boats, fishes, sails or enjoys Middlesex waters, this piece will bring to mind time spent traveling through the local tranquil shorelines: a tranquility that has been part of our 350 years of recorded life here on the River.
“The River’s Keeper is just stunning,” says Middlesex County Museum director Holly Horton. “Al has done a wonderful job of capturing the essence that has brought people to our area for centuries. It will be a stunning addition to anyone’s home or business.”
Created as a fundraiser piece, this artwork will be raffled off with proceeds benefiting the Museum. Valued at $400, “The River’s Keeper” tickets sell for $3.00 each or 2 for $5.00, or 10 for $20.00 and are on sale at the museum. They can also be ordered through the museum website. The River’s Keeper will be on display in the museum before the drawing.