Archives and Artifact Collection

The Museum’s artifact and archival collection illuminates the rich 18th, 19th, and 20th century history of Sandy Spring and environs.  Thanks to a major gift the museum’s archives is being digitized and is available online.  Click here to browse the archives online.

The Archive is a rich collection of documents, photographs, and oral histories that provide tremendous depth and complexity to the community’s historic narrative.  The document collection is comprised of close to 10,000 individual items; more than half are original materials with sixty-five percent of these dating between 1850 and 1950. The collection also includes over 1700 items of locally-relevant printed ephemera as well as original reproductions and commemorative publications related to historic institutions and businesses.

The strengths of the collection include:

  • PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE: Personal letters between friends and family – with direct or indirect reference to the Sandy Spring – comprises ten percent of the original document collection with over sixty-two percent dating prior to 1900.
  • DIARIES: The Archive’s diary collection contains record of activities and musings for over 25 individuals who collectively capture more than 150 years of daily life in the Sandy Spring neighborhood. Three individual collections of 20 years or more are included. Over sixty percent of the diary collection dates to the 19th century.
  • LEDGERS: The collection of ledgers offers a snapshot of interactions among local residents not otherwise captured elsewhere. The collection is comprised of account books for local businesses including the general stores in Ashton, Sandy Spring, Brighton, and Brookeville. These date from 1819 through to the mid-20th Also included are the physician’s ledgers of Caleb Edward Iddings who practiced medicine locally beginning in 1877.
  • CLUB MEETING MINUTES: Among the museum’s most cherished holdings are the complete assemblage of meeting minutes for the community’s many social clubs, some of which are the oldest, continually-meeting clubs of their kind in the United States.  The museum’s archive contains minutes from the Women’s Mutual Improvement Society founded in 1857, the Horticultural Society founded in 1863, the Enterprise Farmers’ Club founded in 1865, the Neighbors Club founded in 1897, and the Wednesday Club founded in 1904. Because these clubs are still meeting, the archive is always evolving.