On exhibit from October 13 to November 21, 2021
Our democracy demands action, reaction, vision, and revision as we continue to question how to form “a more perfect union.” How do you participate as a citizen? From the American Revolution and woman’s suffrage to civil rights and casting ballots, everyone in every community is part of this ever-evolving story – the story of democracy in America.
Voices and Votes is a traveling exhibit from Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Featuring historical and contemporary photos; educational and archival video; engaging multimedia interactives with short games and additional footage, photos, and information; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material, this exhibit encourages viewers to participate and make your voices heard in a government that entrusts the power of the nation not in a monarchy, but in its citizens.
On exhibit Wednesday, August 4 – Saturday, November 6, 2021.
A juried exhibit featuring 12 original works created by 10 local artists who are members of the Washington Sculptors Group. The sculptures are exhibited throughout the grounds of Sandy Spring Museum.
In this exhibit, artists respond to the concept of balance, which is a dynamic force of nature and constantly in flux. The world is out of kilter, with natural as well as social systems listing to extremes. “What we need,” we say, “is balance; balance must be restored.” But what do we mean by “balance” and what is our relationship to it? What has the chaos of the past year taught us about the human need for balance? Can we ever achieve balance or is it an elusive chimera?
This is the fifth sculpture garden hosted jointly by Washington Sculptors Group and Sandy Spring Museum.
Struggle (1) and Within a Dark Forest (2) by Adam Bradley
Dean (1) and Olympia (2) by Annie Farrar
Balance of Industry and Nature, Vulnerability of Nature by Stephanie Garon
Unearthing the Roots by Dalya Luttwak
On the Edge by Mary Opasik
About to Fly by Sookkyung Park
Coextensive Coexistance by Marc Robarge
Mother Earth II by Belen Sorzana
Balance Counterbalance by Veronica Szalus
Accident by Ira Tattelman
About the Juror
Twylene Moyer, editor of Sculpture magazine, has published in a wide range of periodicals, monographs, and catalogues. She is the co-editor of five books on contemporary sculpture, including The New Earthwork: Art, Action, Agency. In addition to serving as a juror for a variety of shows, she curated “Insight Out” and “Disintegration,” two exhibitions of site-specific, outdoor works for the Arlington Arts Center.
On exhibit March 19 – September 12, 2021
Monday & Wednesday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Capacity limitations reflect the current Montgomery County guidelines. Reservations are encouraged.
Click Here to Make a Reservation
I Am More Than My Hair began with Alyscia Cunningham’s eponymous book and film in which she advances the dialogue around the beauty standard of female baldness and captures the stories of girls and women who have lost their hair due to medical conditions or by choice. “If you look towards the media to define what’s beautiful, baldness is not a look that is considered attractive,” says Ms. Cunningham. She notes that from the time girls are young, they are pressured into set beauty standards, with a high value placed on hair. Through this project, Ms. Cunningham hopes to change the way people view beauty, female hair loss, and baldness.
“Every woman, young and old, needs to know that she is naturally beautiful. Stop allowing society to dictate our beauty.”
The exhibit further breaks barriers of accessibility through its use of lithophanes, raised reliefs that interact with light, to create a unique experience. The issue of accessibility became of paramount importance to Ms. Cunningham after attending a meeting of the National Federation of the Blind last year. “It was shocking to learn about the lack of accessibility in the arts and how blind and low vision audiences aren’t considered. I left the meeting feeling inspired enough to make it mandatory that any venue, gallery, or museum that requests my work, must agree that it will be made accessible for audiences with low vision and hearing.” Audio descriptions will also accompany the works.
About The Artist
Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, Alyscia Cunningham is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, filmmaker, and photographer who contributes to National Geographic, Discovery Channel, America Online, and the Smithsonian Institution. Her work focuses on changing the dialogue around beauty standards for women through documentary film and unaltered photography. After the success of her first book, Feminine Transitions: A Photography Celebration of Natural Beauty, she continued to inspire social change with her new book and documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair.
Exhibit Virtual Programs
Making Art Accessibile
How do we make art accessible? Exhibiting artist Alyscia Cunningham confronts this question in her innovative exhibition, I Am More Than My Hair. Join her in a virtual walkthrough of her ongoing show followed by a panel discussion with art and accessibility experts Becky Emmert, Cheryl Green, Julie Hein, Marguerite Woods, and Brandy Mimms who are working to change the way we experience art.
Opening remarks will be provided by Councilmember Will Jawando, and a closing poem will be read by Jeanetta Price.
Learn More & Register
Documentary Screening and Artist Talk
A virtual screening of Alyscia Cunningham’s film I Am More Than My Hair, telling the stories of women who have lost their hair and exploring the meaning of beauty. The screening will be followed by a virtual discussion with Ms. Cunningham.
Learn More & Register
On exhibit September 17 – November 17, 2021
In this exhibit, we examine the concept of human rights through the works of dozens of currently or formerly incarcerated men and women who use art to share a part of themselves with you, the viewer. Many of these individuals did not consider themselves artists prior to becoming incarcerated but have since embraced various art forms as a means of communicating their thoughts, dreams, frustration, and many other ideas that are common to the human experience.
The need to create may be as intrinsic to being human as the need for food and shelter. One way in which we relate to and perceive humanity in prehistoric humans is through their art. Consider cave paintings from eons past and how these paintings give you an immediate connection to the ancient artist: they were human, just like us. However, it could be argued that the American justice prison system is designed to take away the humanity of the incarcerated.
All of the artists whose work is on exhibit here came to us through their association with the Justice Arts Coalition. The Justice Arts Coalition unites teaching artists, advocates, and currently or formerly incarcerated artists in order to use art as a means to reimagine the justice system in the United States. The core tenets of the Justice Arts Coalition are that creative expression is a human need and right in addition to being essential to healing, reconciliation, and community building.
On exhibit June 11 – September 5, 2021
Mondays & Wednesdays 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fridays 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sundays 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Click Here to Make a Reservation
Can’t make it in-person? View and shop the exhibit online!
Click Here to View & Shop
This juried exhibit features the work of forty-seven artists from all over the nation and illustrates the depth, range, and variations possible with Shino glazes. Inspired by Malcolm: A Passion for Shino honors the memory of Malcolm Davis, a man who influenced and inspired so many to listen to and follow their heart’s desires. After serving as a minister for twenty years, Davis’s life changed when he took his first ceramics class in 1973. Within a few years, he left his career as a campus minister to pursue pottery full-time. Davis established his own mountaintop studio in West Virginia in 1985, where he experimented with a Japanese-style glaze called Shino. He perfected his own Shino technique, which allowed him to create pottery unlike any other. His glaze, now known as “Malcolm Davis Shino,” is found in studios all over the world. The glaze is prized for carbon-trapping, which creates extensive black areas and black dots in contrast to the more typical white, red, and orange colors of other Shinos.
After perfecting his glaze, Davis took the unusual step of publishing the formula for public use. Recognized for his artistry and passion, Davis traveled widely teaching others about pottery.
On exhibit are sixty-four works of art that were inspired by Davis and his passion for Shino.
First, second, and third-place prizes will be awarded during the opening week by exhibit juror Matthew Hyleck, noted ceramic artist and education coordinator at Baltimore Clayworks.
Virtual Exhibit Programs
Malcolm Davis: How Did I End Up Here?
June 17, 2021 at 7:00 pm
This program includes a streaming of Malcom Davis’s closing lecture at the 2010 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), shortly before his unexpected passing the following year. In this talk, Davis shares his passion for pottery and examines the inner question of why someone devotes themselves to something – in this case, to clay. Opening statements for this program will be provided by Judy Davis, Malcolm’s wife and partner for over 50 years, and closing statements by Shoji Satake, Associate Professor of Ceramics, School of Art and Design, West Virginia University.
Shino: An American Translation of a Japanese Glaze
July 11, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Five master potters, experienced in working with Shino glazes, will discuss the fascination and mystery – the challenges and difficulties – of the Ancient Japanese glaze and the updated American versions. What are the differences between Japanese and American Shinos? Why are there so many formulas? How do Shino glazes react to different firing techniques? Listen in as our panelists discuss the answers to these questions and much more.
For accommodation requests, please contact the museum via email or at 301-774-0022.
Inspired by Malcolm: A Passion for Shino is sponsored in part by Judith Davis, Montgomery Potters, District Clay Center, Baltimore Clayworks, and The Clay Co-Op.
On exhibit March 19 – May 28, 2021
A collection of handcrafted hats by artist and milliner Anthony Gaskins. Mr. Gaskins is the creator of Hugs and Hats, an idea he developed after losing his parents, sister, and mentor to cancer. Through Hugs and Hats, he counsels cancer patients and runs hat-making workshops. “Words can’t describe how it feels to give someone fighting cancer a hat,” he explained. “To put them in something that totally transforms their mindset and how they feel about the sickness that they have and that they are fighting.” Mr. Gaskins sees his life’s mission as helping those fighting cancer. His hats showcase one way cancer patients can recapture confidence after experiencing the hair loss that often accompanies chemotherapy.
About the Artist
Anthony Gaskins is a milliner by trade. He designs, creates, buys, and sells hats. For decades he has run his own business, serving a broad and diverse clientele. He teaches – formally and informally – about the history and culture surrounding hats.
On exhibit March 20 – May 31, 2021
All the way from Wheaton! An outdoor exhibit of 13 human-sized pyramids designed by Montgomery County Artists. Come take a walk along the “Path of Pyramids.”
What started as a mascot for the annual Wheaton Arts Parade grew into a juried art exhibit. Each of the large pyramid sculptures was created by a local artist and they all speak to Wheaton’s diverse cultures. One is a mosaic that was made with 3 families as a tribute to their Salvadoran heritage. Another features images from the artist’s Peruvian culture. A third is made of mandalas inspired by the artist’s native Costa Rica. One Montgomery Green collaborated with one local artist to create a pyramid using non-recyclable #6 plastics.
The pyramids are regular tetrahedrons made up of four equilateral triangles. The heart of Wheaton also is a triangle created by the intersection of three state highways and the annual Wheaton Arts Parade marches around the triangle, bringing together Wheaton’s citizens, cultures, and commerce with art.
In celebration of Black History Month, I wanted to share the above document found within the collection. Recently I had the pleasure of working on a new map for the Historically Black Communities of Sandy Spring project. Throughout this endeavor, I learned about Mr. Samuel Owens, an African American Civil War soldier, who owned the land that the Olney Ale House occupies today.
The accomplishments of Samuel Owens cannot be understated considering the tremendous obstacles facing him and many other free Black landowners in 19th century Sandy Spring. Mr. Owens would eventually marry a woman named Sarah Waters and together they would have seven children.
The document I chose to highlight is a manumission order signed by Nathaniel Waters of Montgomery County in 1832 releasing an eight-year-old girl named Sarah Ann, as well as her mother and five siblings from bondage. The terms of the order specified that Sarah Ann and her sisters were to continue to be held until their eighteenth birthday, while her brother had to wait until he reached his 20th year of age to be manumitted.
While genealogical records for many African American families are often spotty and sparse, wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that eight-year-old Sarah Ann Waters is the very same that grew up and married the accomplished Samuel Owens, raising a happy and healthy family consisting of seven children right here in Sandy Spring?
That 2020 was “a year like no other” is a refrain often followed by declarations of collective resolve and sacrifice. For the family of John W. Johnson, an African American farm laborer, the same could be said for 1884; though no less resolute than today’s pandemic weary citizens, the family singularly bore the brunt of their unprecedented year.
John, his wife Sarah, and their ten children lived in a tenant house on Mary Needles Robert’s land, just next to Sandy Spring Museum’s property. As deduced from an account ledger, a series of mishaps and recovery issues had local physician Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings visiting the Johnson family thirty-three times in the first three months of 1884, the most visits to any family the doctor would conduct throughout the entire year.
The family’s year began with treatment and recovery for a gunshot wound suffered presumably by one of Mary and John’s eight sons. On February 25 John suffered a severe hand injury from a fallen tree that Dr. Idding’s treated for over a week before needing to amputate one of John’s fingers. The doctor visited John daily for two weeks to dress his wound but eventually sent him to the Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. on March 21 to complete his recovery.
The cost of each visit following the amputation was a staggering two dollars and with the bills for the surgery and previous visits, the Johnson family faced an unimaginable financial burden on a farm laborer’s wage. Most of the family’s remaining ledger entries for that year – and there are many – record their debt being settled through the labor of John and Mary’s sixteen-year-old son Thaddeus and fourteen-year-old son Samuel. The ledger shows the account finally paid in full on April 24, 1885. I cannot presume to know the Johnsons’ family dynamics simply from ledger entries, but they certainly appear to be tough as nails, devoted to one another, and in possession of an impressive character and resolve – a kind of family I would certainly have welcomed knowing.
For some context, in 1884 African Americans accounted for no less than thirty percent of Dr. Iddings’ total number of patients, yet only twenty percent of the total number of visits; local Black households averaged 2.8 visits whereas their white neighbors saw the doctor an average of 5 times that same year. Indeed, racial inequities in healthcare persist at crisis levels today; that it existed in Sandy Spring 137 years ago is hardly surprising. This fact makes John W. Johnson and his family’s perseverance in the face of such a monumental plight all the more mind blowing; if I could part the curtains of time and reach through to shake John and Sarah’s hands and maybe even offer a hug, I would definitely jump at the chance.
Today we celebrate National Send a Card to a Friend Day reminding us of the joy we feel when receiving a personal note, card, or letter in the mail.
There is something so touching about receiving something handwritten that someone obviously took time to create and send, especially in the midst of our technologically saturated world.
The collections are full of personal letters scripted with care and sent throughout Sandy Spring, and beyond, providing updates and news on a wide range of topics.
I invite you to take a look at a letter from Benjamin Hallowell to his “…dear friends,” Samuel and Elizabeth Thomas. Written with sincerity and thoughtfulness, this letter expresses kind thanks for a gift recently received. Not only did he thank his friends for their kindness, but he also included a poem at the end of the letter.
Throughout these collections, you will find many letters and notes similar to the one above. After reading a few, perhaps you will be inspired to write your own note to someone you are thinking of, as they might appreciate the effort, especially now in our current isolated environment!
Would you believe National Send a Card to a Friend Day traces its origins to the development of greeting cards centuries ago? While this timeline begins in the 15th century with Europeans, there is evidence that sending cards to friends finds its way farther back in history to the ancient Egyptians.
Searching through the Sandy Spring Archives, one can find many examples of letters, poems, and cards crossing post offices both here and abroad. The letter I chose to share today exhibits the importance of communication between friends, as well as the possible consequences of the lack thereof.
The writer, A. C., explains to her friend, Sarah Littler, how a recently received letter cleared up any thoughts of betrayal. She writes, “[I]t is very well…thee thought it worthwhile to write…or I should have been almost hurt…to think thee would stay in B-(Baltimore) in preference to our town perhaps I should have concluded thee did not love us sufficiently to spend so long a time with us…”
Communication between friends and family ensures that ties that bind will not break. Send a card to a friend on this National Send a Card to a Friend Day!
Today, January 20th is imprinted in our minds as a day of ceremony marking the hope and promise of a new presidential term.
Prior to 1933, however, folks had to wait an additional six weeks – that is, until March 4th – before officially swearing in a president chosen in November.
While chances for mild weather are far greater in March than in January, Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings (1829-1904) lets us know that James A. Garfield’s inauguration in 1881 resembled deep winter rather than a foretelling of spring.
Dr. Iddings describes a snowy day turning to rain with extreme wind and expresses concern for those attending the ceremony in Washington DC. Indeed, an inauspicious beginning to a tragic presidency that would end by assassination just six and a half months later.
Today, we witness the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States. One of the many treasures found within the Sandy Spring Archives is Allan Farquhar’s (1853-1944) essay, The Inauguration.
Within these pages, you will journey to our nation’s capital not once, but ten times, to join Mr. Farquhar as he describes his experiences standing within the crowds at the steps of the Capitol watching several presidential inaugurations.
He begins with this amazing recollection, “Well do I remember the tall figure and swarthy face of Lincoln as he emerged from between the pillars on the eastern portico to deliver his immortal 2nd inaugural.” Within these pages, you will discover vivid accounts of the atmosphere surrounding the inaugurations of Abraham Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, McKinley, and Harrison.
Should you decide to read this essay, you will be rewarded with first-hand knowledge and fascinating insights regarding the political landscape surrounding these great men.
On January 12th each year our nation celebrates National Pharmacists Day celebrating the work these professionals do every day in order to keep us healthy. Serving as trusted intermediaries between prescribers and patients, pharmacists not only dispense necessary medications, but they also provide valuable medical health tips and insights.
Comparing the role of today’s pharmacists to that of those in 1885, I decided to highlight Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings’s prescription notebook. Perusing the pages within this book, one can see how he provided medical care to the local community, as well as what he prescribed to treat a plethora of ailments. Unlike the prevailing stereotype of illegible handwriting attributed to medical professionals, I had no problem reading all of his notations and various symbols used throughout these pages forming a code of understanding. As we continue to struggle with the current COVID 19 pandemic, we can all agree that medical professionals across the board do the important work of keeping us all healthy.
I’ve always had a lot of respect for those in the medical profession. One of my oldest and dearest friends is a practicing medical doctor. In this current pandemic climate, I believe it is of utmost importance to recognize and appreciate these professionals who continually put themselves at risk in order to help others.
Today, January 12, is recognized as National Pharmacists Day intending to celebrate those health professionals serving their clients throughout this nation. I believe that these professionals perform a truly important job that simply does not get half the credit they deserve. With this in mind, I wanted to highlight this lovely tribute to Dr. Jacob W. Bird, who practiced medicine for fifty years in the Sandy Spring community.
I’d love to see similar tributes taking place today acknowledging today’s medical professionals, leading to an understanding of the ongoing positive impact they have on the communities they serve.
On exhibit January 7 – March 14, 2021
Take a close look at a quilt and you can almost hear the words of the maker, the fabric, and the purpose of this utilitarian work of art. But while every quilt has a backstory, the story quilt starts with a message. A story quilt may include words, photos, non-traditional fabrics, and embellishments along with more standard quilting techniques and materials.
This exhibit brings together the stories of a variety of individuals – master quilt artist Lauren Kingsland, her apprentice Grammy award-winning Cathy Fink, and members of the Uhuru Quilters Guild. While the expertise of the quilters varies, each artist has the ability to tell a story in fabric in a unique and nuanced way, through choices of color, texture, design, and embellishment.
Ms. Kingsland shares a series of personal story journal page quilts marking significant moments in her life as well as one of her newest works, “Why I Vote.” Among Ms. Fink’s quilts is one about a song she wrote honoring a friend who died in the AIDS epidemic, an ironic project to complete during another pandemic. And among the varied quilts on exhibit by the Uhuru Quilters are those that respond to current events through the long lens of history. Some of the artists have exhibited nationally, like one by Angela Lanier, whose work was recently juried into We Are The Story at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, MN.
It is very easy to feel a sort of “post-holiday” and “pre-holiday” daze this week, as one festive occasion ends and another marches closer and closer. Jumping back into the swing of life and work can feel impossible during this time.
I found this helpful quote by Frank Gassaway which was shared by M.W. Kirk during a Mutual Improvement Association’s meeting in 1888: “Do not look disheartened on the work you have to do. And say that such a might task you never can get through; but just endeavor, day by day and point to gain and so the mountain which you found will prove to be a plain!”
I must say, The Mutual Improvement Association minutes are absolutely filled with gems such as this, I sometimes cannot pick just one!
Found within the Neighbors Club minutes of 1951, members, Isabelle and Loften, showed off their majestic pictures from their trip to the Rockies – pictures taken as slides and shared with a projector. I chose to highlight this particular entry because this Friday, December 11, is International Mountain Day, a day recognizing the ecological importance of mountains, as well as the peoples and cultures that call mountains around the world their home.
Ellen Stabler’s diaries (1852-1922) radiates a simple charm. While lacking the flowery prose oftentimes found within the archives, Ellen Stabler details daily events in plain broad strokes.
Her writing is succinct in its descriptions and consistent in the topics written about. I found her entries to be refreshingly on point and direct. For instance, on page five of her 1860 diary, her entry for the 14th read, “[A] sleety day; rained all day; nothing of any account transpired: (sic) we finished the quilt.”
No flourish at all, however, I found myself thinking about all the rainy days I’ve had where nothing really happened, and I felt that if I kept a diary, my writing might be very similar to that of Ellen Stabler—minus the quilt!
Sixteen-year-old Joseph A. Gilpin’s diary entry (1886-1895) describes his journey from Sandy Spring, Maryland to Denver, Colorado.
He wrote, “…over the hill that hides the dear old village of Sandy Spring from sight which I think I will not have the pleasure of seeing again for years and may be never.” Joseph was to have many exciting adventures, which would include working for renowned painter and photographer, William Henry Jackson.
Whether or not Joseph ever made it back to Sandy Spring, I’ll leave it to our readers to find out for themselves!
One might tend to believe that we are living in unprecedented times, but the assumption would be wrong. In coming across Allan Farquhar‘s essay, “Neighborhood Interests,” dated March 12, 1915, I now believe that assumption could be wrong.
In the essay, Mr. Farquhar discusses many issues being debated at the time, such as different types of governance, faith, taxation, and poverty to name a few – all of which resonate equally today. His “recommendations” are as beneficial to a contemporary reader as they were then. His suggestions included (1) “study the questions thoroughly and impartially on all sides…” (2) “you can do more good by working with others than by yourself,” (3) “they have just as good a right to their opinions as you have to yours,” and (4) “for Heaven’s sake dont (sic) become a nuisance by intruding your ideas on all occasions and at inappropriate times!”
I encourage you to take a look at this thoughtful and provocative essay, as the parallels between then and now are stark.
Each week, I am delighted to discover events from the past which would have eluded me had it not been for this weekly newsletter. Today’s selection recounts the adventures and experiences attained by Edward Kummer during a trip to Massachusetts in 1886.
In a letter written to his sister, Carrie, he begins with a description of his visit to the site of the wreckage of the Hesperus at Norman’s Woe — the inspiration of Longfellow’s famous poem, “Wreck of Hesperus.” I was drawn to this letter because I too spend much time on the water, however, I cannot say that I enjoy the “…constant up and down motion of the boat, with occasional extra lurches…feeling rocked in the cradle of the deep under such circumstance (sic) a most pleasurable sensation.” I’m guessing that Mr. Kummer never sailed through a storm in the Atlantic Ocean!
In 1841, two lots, No. 261 and No. 262, located in Georgetown, Washington D.C., were put up on the auction block.
Sandy Spring native, Caleb Bentley, paid $80 for both lots and after paying the tax due, which was an astounding $4.50, he was the new owner. Can you imagine buying two lots in Georgetown for $80.00 today?!
I have a great interest in reading deeds from the past, due to the amazing information one can learn. I challenge anyone to do the same—the deeds will not disappoint.
The holidays are upon us and they are unlike any other experienced in over a century. Yet, thanks to the power of the human spirit, we carry on the traditions of the past, albeit slightly altered.
With this in mind, I turn to a letter written during another turbulent time, 1864. America was nearing the end of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln was elected for a second term. Wondering how Christmas was being celebrated at this time, I direct you to a letter written on December 29, 1864, by Harriett Long to Alice Hallowell discussing Christmas Day.
She described, “[J]ulia hugging a new doll. Florence…ditto the rest of you with various pretty gifts. Did you go to your Grandpa’s or did he dine with you? I know you had a merry time anyhow.” Being a student of history, I enjoy drawing parallels between the past and the present. I’m guessing you do, as well.
This commonplace book is an accumulation of various artworks, poetry, and quotations. It reminds me of my own journals in which I have recorded things or have affixed images and clippings that I want to remember and keep together in one place.
I think it is important to record the words or images that resonate with each of us personally, as they are something to look back on when we need encouragement or a reminder of the things that matter to us.
As cooler days of late fall and early winter approach, you can use many brightly colored flowers captured in stunning lithographic detail in this book as a reminder of the brightness and new life that will return in only a few more months. Something to look forward to as we reflect on the closing of this year of many changes and challenges.
Scrapbooks are always fascinating to me. As you flip through the pages, you can see a variety of clippings, either as words or images. One might wonder why those particular items stood out to the book’s creator. This week’s selection is no exception. Found within the book are newspaper clippings, humorous poems, and anecdotes, which can be interpreted as life lessons to be learned. I continually wonder about the person who created and saved such books.
This correspondence between cousins is an excellent example of a writing style used over 155 years ago in order to conserve precious paper—crossed letter writing. In order to use this method, the writer fills the page vertically and rotates the paper perpendicularly to fill the page with text horizontally.
It can be challenging to read, due to crosswise text along writing in cursive. In order to read this text, you will have to rotate the page accordingly. After a little practice, you will be surprised at how easy it becomes to decipher these documents.
This account book shows the personal tab for Allan Farquhar with the Sandy Spring Store. Dated from a little over 100 years ago, it is interesting to see the items that he consistently purchased. Because the purchases included food and household items, it is easy to imagine how these items were used on a daily basis and to envision what life was like at that time.
When I came across the minutes for the Sandy Spring Pigeon Club, a local youth organization dedicated to the keeping of these birds, my first reaction was one of amused interest in the quirky social networks of historic Sandy Spring.
A brief dig for details, however, led me to its adult sponsor, Reuben Brigham, and the realization of something much more profound at work than mere amusement. Brigham, himself only 23 years-old at the club’s founding, was concerned about rural youth having few constructive social outlets so he sold his own pigeons to local teenaged boys and formed a club operated in a format similar to that of the community’s adult farmers’ clubs.
I find it remarkable that, when given the opportunity, a group of boys, ages thirteen through eighteen, voluntarily and enthusiastically dedicated every other Friday evening to such a productive endeavor. For Brigham, the experience seems to have planted a seed; he often credited the club for launching his career in agricultural outreach beginning with Maryland’s branch of the National 4-H Club in 1915.
Being much attuned to the topic of vaccines these days, my eye was immediately caught when Dr. C.E. Iddings wrote in his diary on January 20, 1880, of receiving “vaccine quills from the State Agent.” Tucked in the back of the diary was this receipt for the very same.
While we typically associate vaccines with injections, apparently it wasn’t until the 20th century that this method became the overwhelming norm. Instructions on the back of this receipt indicate that the inoculating virus on the “quill slip” needed to be reconstituted and then applied to a patch of skin where the first layer had been scraped off with a lancet. It also indicated that all “quill slips” should ideally be used upon opening the package.
With today’s talk of ultra-cold storage and distribution strategies, I can’t help wonder if Dr. Iddings faced similar issues. How did he avoid spoilage upon opening a new batch? Did he keep the vaccine quill slips in a special place?
Finding wayward letters and parcels in the 1850s was certainly more difficult than plunking a tracking number into a search bar. In this letter to an unnamed cousin, Henry Stabler speaks of some correspondence and a package that wend their way on a week’s journey around the county before finally finding him at his home, Roslyn, in Brighton.
He speaks of contacting multiple Post Masters in trying to have Roslyn’s mail routed correctly, alluding to an ongoing issue, and thanks his cousin for interceding on his behalf by “calling at the P.O. Department” in Washington. This letter makes me wonder at the source of the delivery hiccup. Could this correspondence be speaking to a new address for Stabler or of Roslyn becoming a mail delivery hub? Might this obscure little letter shed some light on the story of this historic property?
For me, such a discovery represents the everyday excitement and thrill of uncovering Sandy Spring Museum’s hidden treasures through digitization!
On December 24, 1851, the Brookeville Store was shuttered and still as the storekeeper presumably enjoyed festivities; the day prior, however, was anything but quiet.
Typically, the store saw only a handful of customers daily but on Tuesday, December 23rd the store’s daybook records a whopping 15 transactions with the number of folks dropping by likely even higher. The day leading up to the 23rd was a brisk business in hose, shoes, boots, ribbons, and, surprisingly, buttons.
On that day, however, the till rang mostly for molasses, sugar, raisins, figs, and candy speaking to sweet treats to be shared the next day. It is easy to imagine the energy filling the store on that Tuesday as friends and neighbors greeted each other with well wishes and glad tidings.
This fascinating little document is a promissory note from the United States Army issued in 1862 to John Green, promising to reimburse him for fifty-seven bushels of corn. The note does make sure to state that if Green were to fail as a loyal citizen and aid the Rebels in any way, this note would be forfeit. One can only hope that Green fulfilled his duties and the Army honored this note because according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $34.20 in 1862 was the equivalent purchasing power of $881.34 today!
In a particularly topical passage from his diary of 1982, Dr. Iddings writes about the Presidential election of 1892, between Democrat Grover Cleveland and Republican Benjamin Harrison. Iddings describes a process that will be well understood for most Americans; getting up early and traveling to his nearest polling station to attempt to beat the crowds and vote. For him, he voted in Olney, and discussed how the county had universally adopted the Australian ballot for the first time, which is the system of private ballot voting to protect voters and is the system we are all familiar with today!
It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by small and, frankly, insignificant issues in 2020. One such problem is the bewildering amount of spam phone calls. I get around two to three each day, driving me insane. This feels like a specifically modern annoyance but as I read through these highlighted Neighbors Minutes, I noticed Ethel Thomas complaining about crank calls from a Virginian disc jockey. Apparently she was cold-called by someone asking her to identify a song. Several other members of the club had similar experiences. Poor Ethel – if only she knew that her particular frustration wasn’t going anywhere.
Found on this page of “Domestic Cookery” is a simple recipe for roasting a turkey, which is equally familiar today as it likely was when first published. I must say, however, that at one point it says to lay the turkey in salt water for ONLY twenty minutes and no longer. My father would definitely disagree! He brines his turkey in salted water and herbs for DAYS before our big Thanksgiving meal. Although circumstance is forcing many of our plans and traditions to be altered this year, I hope everyone is still able to have a good meal and enjoy the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
In 1804, the U.S. Congress decided to build an overland postal road from Washington D.C. to New Orleans; the year prior, Thomas Jefferson had appointed his friend (and Sandy Spring’er) Isaac Briggs as surveyor-general of the Mississippi territory to whom they turned to make preliminary observations for this new route. This table shows distances from one postal stop to the next as well as cumulative miles from Washington D.C. to the various points. In addition to towns, named stops also included taverns, fords, ferries, and businesses. While many of these places no longer physically exist, a bit of googling shows their legacies live on in local road names and historic plaques. This table also paints a vivid image of population distribution and settlement in the early 19th century. Whereas the first 10 stops covered a distance of 87 miles, barely getting further than the boundaries of today’s D.C. suburbs, the last 10 stops traversed 606 miles through the wilds of western Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and coastal Louisiana! A lonely leg to be sure. If you have a bit of time, it is really fun to try and retrace the path of this long-forgotten route.
The commonplace book, like its first cousin the scrapbook, is largely a thing of the pre-digital age. It was typically a notebook in which a person recorded information they came across and wanted to keep for future reference. Commonplace books amounted to a curated collection of interesting facts, writing excerpts, quotations, and poetry that were simultaneously intensely personal and also reflective of its owner’s interests and character. This particular example was compiled by a teenaged Richard Brooke in 1805 and, as one might expect from a young man of this era, is filled largely with facts and tidbits related to geography and natural history. My favorite “fact” is on page 15 where he very precisely records that it would take, “32ys, 11mo, 1w, 2days, 12h, 8min, 12sec to go from the Earth to the moon”. I wonder, in the mind of a teenager in 1805, what exactly would the mode of transport have been?!?
I wonder if Sandy Spring’s own Jack Bentley endorsing Manchester Shoes in Baltimore had a similar impact as perhaps Michael Jordan in marketing modern-day kicks. Probably not, but a fun comparison nonetheless. The phrase “only insured shoes in America” is quite intriguing but a closer read shows that this simply meant you could return a defective product, a concept we very much take for granted today. While Manchester Shoes no longer exists, you can still see the company’s name painted on the building where it stood at 9 North Howard Street in Baltimore.
Through her diary, Helen L. Thomas tells us that in 1912 she shared a snowy Thanksgiving Day with her father, brother, and sister-in-law. What is extraordinary, however, is that she and her father, Alban Gilpin Thomas, had just arrived in Washington that very same day from a three-week Caribbean journey to Panama, Jamaica, and Cuba about which we learn in her previous entries! It is easy to imagine the foursome around a festive table with snow swirling outside while the travel-weary duo regales their family with tales from their tropical adventure.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, bakers, from novice to expert, throughout the world have been busy baking bread. After purchasing a few books, several baking supplies, and receiving much-needed encouragement and instructions from a good friend, I am now a dedicated bread baker fan. I have to laugh at my initial hesitation to bake bread because what I read in Elizabeth E. Lea’s Domestic Cookery on page 41 would put today’s squeamish bakers to shame. After reading Elizabeth’s instructions, you will learn that you have to know how to prepare the proper fire in the oven, from the proper wood to burn, the correct colors of flames to acquire, and above all, one has to achieve the proper temperature for each individual receipt (aka recipe).
Allan Farquhar (1863-1944) was a Sandy Spring treasure who worked tirelessly to spread the Quaker messages of hope, civic responsibility, and compassion. My selection this week highlights one of his essays written in 1917 in an effort to urge his readers to join the cause of justice and to fight against the evils of tyranny. He reminds his readers that, “[W]e all know and feel that there is something to be done, that we would be recreant to our duty if we stand idly by, washing out hands of the whole retched business, and sheltering ourselves behind the comforting though that we are not responsible and it is not our affair.”
This message expressed so many years ago rings true today. After witnessing recent vitriol and combative public dialog, Farquhar’s messages are a welcome relief in these troubled times.
In 1862 John Greenleaf Whitter penned The Ballad of Barbara Fritchie. Upon its publication, the poem was met with instant notoriety, as well as controversy. The poem paints a vivid picture of a 95-year old woman waving an American flag out of her second-story window in Frederick, Maryland just as General Stonewall Jackson and his troops were marching past. The well-known line, “Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag,” still resonates today. The particulars found within the stanzas have been debated from the moment pen met paper. This brings me to Sandy Spring native Mr. Allan Farquhar who wrote a letter to the editor of The Sun in 1912 in support of the author’s use of literary license. As it turns out, Barbara Fritchie was not the woman waving the flag; it was someone living on the same street. To find out more, do a little searching; you will certainly be surprised. Above all, Farquhar’s letter to the editor displays this man’s amazing wit, intelligence, and extensive literary knowledge.
With Thanksgiving now upon us and celebrations either canceled or reduced to a fraction of their former selves, I felt it appropriate to share one of Jack Bentley’s letters written to his mother, Cornelia, in 1918 while serving overseas in World War I. Jack tells his mother that he believes “[I]t is the best one I have ever had — I have a lot to be thankful for, first I am alive, second I just had a nice dinner, and third I have a lovely mother and home over in little Maryland…”
I am touched by Jack’s attempt to ease his mother’s concerns regarding his safety. This is a testament to his enduring commitment to assure his family and friends of his well-being and his unwavering faith that all will be fine. Let us try to emulate his faith and strength in our current crisis. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
This tribute is dedicated to Sandy Spring’s famed doctor, Dr. Bird, in honor of his 50th anniversary of practicing medicine in the community. The Neighbors social club wrote this tribute and seemed honored to have Dr. Bird as one of their group’s members. When you are able to safely return to the Museum, be sure to walk around the central exhibit room, named after the same Dr. Bird and see his carriage in the WonderRoom too!
This page of notes about a “pig sticker” caught my eye and I had to search and discover what that was in the context of 19th-century history. A pig sticker is a type of weapon, like a long knife blade, more formally called a ‘spike bayonet’. These notes show that eventually, Jack Bentley owned this particular weapon. It reminds me that every item, no matter its use, always has a history and it’s important to pass that information down for future generations to be able to learn about it and be able to appreciate its place in the past.
This letter of recommendation is relatable because I’ve recently had similar letters written for me in pursuit of graduate school acceptance and for other job opportunities. You often don’t get to see those letters since they go directly to the program staff or hiring managers. Even so, it could feel a bit odd to read someone else’s opinion of you or your work ethic. This letter is a wonderful testament to Ethel’s character and ability to pursue her nursing aspirations.
This page from Edward Stabler’s diary reflects seemingly typical preparations for a Thanksgiving holiday meal. What I find intriguing is his mention of oysters for the stuffing, which is not something I’ve ever heard of. I’m not sure how I feel about adding oysters but I do like the mention of stuffing in general as that is one of my favorite parts of a Thanksgiving meal! I look forward to this holiday every year and, like Edward Stabler, I enjoy helping my family prepare our various dishes. Though our Thanksgiving gathering will look different this year, Edward’s mention of his guests reminds me that our friends and family are the people to be most grateful for.
On Exhibit October 9 – November 23, 2020
Makers Among Us features the work of young, emerging visual artists living in the Washington, DC metro area. The exhibit highlights the freedom, imperfections, creativity, and unique perspectives of artists who are just beginning their artistic careers, and who do not necessarily have years of experience and formal training under their belts. Makers Among Us provides a platform for contemporary artists who have had limited opportunities to share their work with the public and a space for audiences to discover new talent and perspectives.
The individual artists are driven to create but also to share their work with you, the viewer. Their art is not only a vehicle for self-expression but also an avenue to communicate with audiences across generations and other perceived boundaries.
Naja Elon Webb
About the Curator
Gabi Mendick is a self-taught artist who finds that her lack of formal training gives her greater freedom to explore and express her ideas and to experiment with a wide variety of media. She believes art and humor are accessible vehicles to connect with each other, ways to express opinions and emotions that are honest but thoughtful, and that can open considerate debate and discussion. Ms. Mendick views art as a way to begin to understand the least significant and the most significant similarities and differences between people. As the exhibit curator, Ms. Mendick wanted to give other informally-trained artists a platform to express themselves.
On Exhibit August 5 – November 29, 2020
This outdoor juried sculpture garden curated by Gaby Mizes featured works by members of the Washington Sculptors Group installed throughout the rustic museum grounds.
As climate change concerns continue to rise, we need to increase the uptake of renewable energy to help reduce the use of polluting fossil fuels. In this exhibit, LIGHT: A Sculptural Solar Dance, artists used renewable energy sculptures to represent a need for better environmental responsibility. Work in this exhibition re-imagines solar energy as an art form. It adopts sunlight as the medium, the subject matter, or the energy source of the art. Artists explored how light, sun, sound, and energy intersect, capturing the importance of sustainability by using solar energy in existing or site-specific outdoor sculptures: art made from sunlight—the energy source for life on Earth. These sculptural displays celebrate the energy of the sun’s warming rays.
In thinking through the dance between art and light, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s and American artist James Turrell’s thoughts may come to mind:
“I am obsessed with light. How light forms a space. How a space forms light. As a child I grew up in Iceland where there is no sunlight in the winter. It simply stays dark all day. Light became something that pulled people together. Light became a way of connecting to other people. Light is social. Light is life.”
“Light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself the revelation.”
About the Juror and Curator
María Gabriela (“Gaby”) Mizes is originally from Argentina. She graduated from the Instituto Argentina de MuseologÍa in Buenos Aires and Columbia University in New York and has worked around the world for many museums and art institutions. These include the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York as Assistant Curator of the traveling exhibition Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century; and the American Federation of Arts, where she handled traveling exhibitions in the United States and abroad.
In Washington, DC, Gaby founded Latin American ERA, a private consultancy company providing expertise in exhibitions and art collections management for national and international projects, and has worked for the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and several private art collections. She is currently the Director of Registration at Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, where she has been coordinating exhibition installations, managing the outgoing loans program, planning and designing art storage facilities, and caring for the collection for thirteen years.
The brainchild of Theodore Roosevelt in 1910, the World League for the Peace of Righteousness was formed on behalf of peace and justice in an atmosphere of rising tensions between nations. Sandy Spring native, Allan Farquhar, was one of the select few to be awarded a Certificate of Honorary Appointment by the Governor of Maryland on April 24, 1918. Allan Farquhar served as a state delegate at the conference entitled, “Win the War for Permanent Peace” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1918. An impressive appointment, indeed!
Found within the Mutual Improvement Association’s papers in 1932, Fanny Pierce Iddings penned this formal verse using the ABAB rhyme scheme, whereas the first and the third line of each verse is set to rhythm, as is the second and fourth line. While the poem suggests reverence towards the early members, it also hints at their perceived innocence.
They ventured on uncharted seas,
And felt a little awed perhaps,
Nor dreamed what hosts would follow these
Sweet faces framed in Quaker caps.
How quaint their faded minutes are,
We smile to see their lack of scope;
So proud of just an apple jar,
So very fond of making soap.
Spring of 2020 was a spring-like no one living today has ever witnessed. Like many people, I decided to grow vegetables and bake bread in order to become less dependent on the food supply. With that said, I ran into the same situation that practically all of us shared and that was–scarcity in supply chains. I had this great idea to plant potatoes; however, finding “seed” potatoes was not as easy as it was many years ago when I first had tried this.
Enter Dr. Caleb E. Iddings in 1868. I could not help but choose this selection from his diaries because he discusses on June 8, 1868, that, “Jennings Boyd worked all day with the oxen on the roads.” The following day, “Jennings Boyd went to Christiania and Penningtonville on a fruitless search for seed potatoes.” Not to be worried, Dr. Iddings wrote that on the next day, he purchased two bushels of seed potatoes for $1.70 each.
Now back to 2020, I managed to find a few seed potatoes via the internet and only one out of three batches produced something akin to a potato. All of us in this modern era could learn a thing or two about growing vegetables from these local people from a bygone era!
Just in case you were searching for the perfect cure for the dreaded “cramp,” I might have three solutions for you; however, please disregard everything I am about to say, in fact, definitely do not “try this at home!”
Sandy Spring local, Elizabeth Ellicott Lea, offered a variety of home remedies in her 1845 publication “Domestic Cookery…”. Her suggestions for alleviating leg cramps especially caught my eye. Elizabeth notes that the sufferer can place a “foot-board to the bedstead” (i.e. bed frame) and put “the foot against it…” Or, you can tie a string “between the body and the pain, about as tight as a physician does to draw blood…” And, finally, her last suggestion was to “wear a bandage filled with pounded brimstone round the limb.” Elizabeth also thought it was a good idea to hold a “roll of brimstone in each hand” and suggested keeping extra by the bed just in case. Should you be wondering what brimstone is, it’s actually sulfur – extremely flammable and difficult to extinguish! Perhaps a heating pad would be safer!
This little poem was written by Ethel Farquhar for a camp called “Camp Content”, which hopefully was as peaceful and joyful as the title implies. It appears that she was able to work each of the week’s camper’s names into the rhymes, which is a fun and personalized take on the group of campers. It seems helpful that some of the camper’s names rhymed already.
The Olney Grange was an organization related to farming and agriculture. This collection of documents details many parts of the group through the years, showing their history and development through notes, member lists, and meeting minutes. I especially like the short poems inserted to add some creative parts to the rest of the group’s documentation of their history and other events of the days.
This is a scrapbook kept by Ethel Farquhar during her years at the Hollins Institute in Virginia. Hollins Institute (today Hollins University) was among the earliest institutions of higher education for women in the United States and, so this is a book where Ethel saved various mementos and notes about her time at the school. She saved little calling cards and invitations to events. College was a formative time for me and I like looking back and thinking about the many people and events that were a part of my life at that time, although unlike Ethel most of my photographic mementos from that time are preserved digitally on social media, even though I have my own personal journals or notes from that time too.
The first part of this document that caught my eye was the really precise, neat cursive writing. As an artist, this is the type of aspect that I’m often drawn to. I find the writing relatable to the ‘hand-lettering’ trends that have developed in recent years. One of the most quirky aspects is the missing ‘r’ in the large title across the top. It’s easy to overlook as you take in the precise script. I wonder if the writer also got caught up and drawn into the detailed writing he was doing. Either way, a funny moment in an otherwise serious document, which actually refers to land transfer from Mr. Chandlee to his adult children and son-in-law. Much like today’s times, it was probably necessary to have a legal form in place to prevent any awkward family disputes over land transfers.
In the minutes of the Mutual Improvement Association from 1897, Elizabeth G. Thomas provided a wonderful piece of advice that I think is actually more relevant today, 123 years later. She read “an article recommending stillness as a cure for overworked and worn out people who fall into a habit of looking back instead of forward and waste precious hours and nerve tissue by speculating what results might have followed if they had acted differently on various occasions.” I am far from “overworked”, but I fall into the trap of wondering and obsessing about the past, as I think most do. The idea of stillness is harder to come by too, with more things to distract and occupy than can be named. It’s very interesting to me, and kind of comforting, to think that people from generations ago had dealt with these sorts of feelings, much the same as today.
Everyone knows the awkwardness of trying to convey a delicate statement through indirect means. Be it texting, emailing, or in this case, letter writing, it’s never easy to come across the way you are intending to when you’re not face to face with whomever you’re speaking to. I found myself laughing at this letter as Ober Hussey tries as politely as he can to warn Edward Stabler of the dangers his virtuous son could face by coming to work at his factory in Baltimore, fretting over offending or insinuating with his words.
You can really only expect one thing from a cookbook; recipes. So imagine my surprise when the first thing that greeted me when I looked at this document was a really charming poem by Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton. I ended up searching for the poem and finding that it had more to it, a few stanzas preceding what was copied in the cookbook. A favorite line from those not included would be, “Never, never, oh, never! earth’s luckiest sinner, Hath unpunish’d forgotten the hour of his dinner!” I have to say that this has convinced me that all cookbooks and recipes, included those posted online, should probably feature poetry upfront. One can dream.
Edward Stabler, a man I’ve written several of these reflections about in the past, was a man of many talents but was probably best known for his seal making. This document is an advertisement for his seals, promoting his efficiency and the durability and neatness of his seals. My favorite feature of the advertisement is a Certificate that has previous clients of Stabler’s attesting to the quality of his work. It reminds me of modern advertisements, which often rely on testimonials to sell their product, but way more verifiable and compelling.
We digitization staff work with hundreds of documents each month and by necessity, many are processed without much notice to finer contextual details. Every now and then, however, you see something that causes you to catch your breath and moves you immeasurably. This note by Edward Lea just three and a half months before his death did just that. As a founding member of Sandy Spring’s first Farmers’ Club, he writes to submit his resignation seemingly aware of his impending passing. I found the note to embody tremendous grace and a profound sense of peace; I couldn’t help but feel the approaching loss his community must certainly have experienced for this gracious and grateful man.
I admit feeling guilty for having a favorite Sandy Spring character, perhaps I should treasure them equally, but I confess to an especially big spot in my heart reserved just for Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings (1829-1904). It was through working with his decades-worth of diaries and medical ledgers that I truly fell in love with this project. These documents are, however, admittedly one-sided so imagine my delight in finding a birthday note he sent to his five-year-old granddaughter Dora (Deborah Iddings Willson). It is a delightful little note that Deborah clearly treasured her whole life, writing on the envelope “Only letter I ever received from “Grandpa Doc”.”
Procuring merchandise must have been far more complicated before online orders and next-day delivery options. This bill of lading is part of a collection of shipping documents and invoices for items to stock the shelves of Granville Sharp Farquhar’s general store in Washington, D.C. in 1836. The papers are from several suppliers for a dizzying array of products, everything from Godfrey’s Cordial to Kidder’s Indelible Ink, the latter of which arrived by schooner from New York City, as detailed on this bill of lading. To our contemporary minds, shipping by sea generally conjures images of long, oceanic crossings between continents but this document speaks to a robust 19th-century coastal system as well. It’s fun to imagine the Potomac River filled with schooners and brigantines instead of the armada of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards seen on any given weekend.
During these socially tumultuous times, it is comforting to be reminded of kindness and generosity. In paying this invoice for a plumbing repair, Mary B. Brooke of Falling Green (now Olney Boys and Girls Club) writes a note acknowledging that J. Hilles Robison intentionally undercharged her for installation of a new water tank. Robison appears to be sharing the burden of cost with Brooke for an incident involving a destroyed tank and scalded chicks. I can only imagine what may have happened, but it seems compassion and humanity were the response.
Autograph Album, Mary B. Kirk, 1835 (Poem by M. Fitzwater, 1836)
Autograph Album, 1983.0107.0008
The popular Irish Blessing, “May the road rise up to meet you…may God hold you in the palm of His hand,” exhibits amazing similarity to my next selection found between the pages of Mary Kirk’s autograph book written by M. Fitzwater in 1835. Fitzwater’s intense faith, strong spirituality, and ability to express those feelings are apparent as evidenced throughout each verse. A particularly poignant line reads, “…and when length of years makes thee tired of earthly joys, and the curtain of death gently closes round the last sleep of human existence, may the angels of God attend thy bed and guard the expiring lamp of life…”
Autograph Album: Mary B. Kirk, 1835 (Poem: “Friendship”)
My selection this week touches upon the meaning of friendship. The sentiments expressed in this poem written in Mary’s album by “Emily” hold as true in 1839 as it does in 2020. Emily wrote that “Friendship! How pleasing is that sound, to those who know its meaning true! And yet, how few on earth are found…” Emily makes her message clear in the last stanza when she writes, “…those only who with hearts the same, at friendships holy alter kneel—know the true meaning of that name.”
Autograph Album: Mary B. Kirk, 1835 (Poem: “How Beautiful”)
This poem caught my attention due to its darker nature, seeming antithetical to the other works found within the remainder of the book. Penned by “Sarah” her contribution to Mary B. Kirk’s autograph book describes the beauty of nature and “how beautiful is this fair world—there’s not a leaf that falls within the forest not a flower that springs beneath our footstep not a twinkling star that gems the hour of night but gives the heart a lesson it should ne’er forget of peace and innocence..” Sarah closes her poem with a question, “Oh why will man transform this gentle paradise of sweets to a dark waste of sorrow and sin.”
Book list: Caleb Edward Iddings, 1894-1903
This month I wish to highlight an amazing book list created by Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings in the 19th century. The titles found within Dr. Iddings notebook reflects a man of uncommon intellect, as well as one who appreciates all peoples regardless of their gender, religion, or ethnicity. It seems to me that perhaps, Caleb Edward Iddings was a man ahead of his time. This is a minute sampling of a vast collection of titles.
1. Israel Zangwill, Children of the Ghetto: A Study of a Peculiar People
2. Anatole France, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard
3. James Anthony Froude, English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century
4. Richard Harding Davis, Our English Cousins
5. Recollections of the French Revolution
6. Peter the Great
7. Mansfield Park, Jane Austin
8. Edward Bellamy, Equality
9. Marietta, Samantha Among the Colored Folks. “My Ideas on the Race Problem”
10. B. H. Davis, Our English Cousins
Journal: Tales of the Dismal Campers, 1887
As this unusual summer draws to a close, it’s the absence of season-defining social gatherings that stands out most for me. Looking to the archives for reminders of more social summertimes, my hands-down favorite are found in the journals of the Dismal Campers! This was a group of young Sandy Spring women who, beginning in 1887, embarked on an annual adventure whereby they “camped” in an empty residence. They were a very funny lot that never seemed to take themselves too seriously. I especially like the lists of silly monikers they assigned to each other and those supporting their adventure including, “Baby,” “Talker,” “Charitable Spinster,” and “Resigned Father.
Club Minutes: Phrenskeia Society, 1888-1901
For anyone who feels guilty when they don’t finish a book club selection before a meeting, Sandy Spring’s Phreneskeia Society may have proven especially vexing. In existence between 1888 and until at least 1901, this was a local literary society that expected a high degree of preparation and participation around some very weighty topics. At this particular meeting on April 18th, 1891 the group held a formal debate exploring whether the Elizabethan age or the Victorian age did more toward the advancement of the world of art and literature. Phew! In their early years, they struggled with absenteeism, especially among those with assignments critical to the evenings’ programs. As a result, they incorporated “absentee excuses” into their regular meeting itinerary, serving up a small slice of humble pie to this social group known more for its intellectual pursuits than its gastronomic extravagances.
Essay: “My Trundle Bed”
Anyone who has helped disperse an aging parent’s belongings knows how the rediscovery of long-forgotten childhood items can melt decades away and revive timeworn memories as vividly as if they happened yesterday. In this tender story, an old trundle bed elicits recollection of nighttime prayers shared with a mother since passed but lovingly remembered.
Letter: Edward Kummer to his sister Carrie, August 8, 1857
I am endlessly fascinated when I stumble upon examples of cross writing in our collection. This fashion of writing, quite common in personal correspondence in the 18th and 19th centuries, is done by filling a piece of paper then turning it 90 degrees to create a second, perpendicular layer of text. Ostensibly done to conserve paper and postage costs, I do wonder if a simple pleasure derived from fine execution and quick decryption was also at play. I know personally, I can’t help but stop and take a quick stab at decoding the jumble of letters and words.
Silhouettes: Hannah and Joshua Peirce, undated
This scrapbook was put together by Hannah Pierce’s granddaughter, detailing aspects of the Pierce family including family trees, silhouettes, and other newspaper clippings. This specific page has 2 silhouettes of Hannah and her husband, Joshua. I enjoy looking through old family photos and reading through notes that my grandparents have left behind for our family, so I imagine this was a fun and edifying task for Hannah’s granddaughter to gather mementos and information to include in this scrapbook.
Military Pass: John (Jack) Bentley, November 27, 1918
This military pass for Jack Bentley granted him permission to visit Luxembourg. Although he had likely traveled and moved around Europe during the war and seen many places during that difficult time, it is interesting to imagine what sights he may have seen and what the purpose was during that particular visit. I have visited Italy and Germany before and often think back fondly over those trips and the many amazing memories from those times, while now looking forward to the days when travel such as that can safely resume.
Diary: Harriet Iddings, 1910
This 1910 diary consists of daily entries of Harriett Iddings, a Sandy Spring local. After her husband, Dr. Caleb Iddings passed away in 1904, she continued on following the same writing manner as her husband had used. Each day is a brief entry, sharing bits and highlights from the days. Those little ordinary moments can sometimes be mundane but are the essential moments that put together as a whole show the unique life of a person. I received a journal at the start of 2020 where you can write a brief note for each day. I have been using it faithfully and I know it will be very interesting to look back through after this year in particular ends.
Announcement: Women’s Exchange, undated
This item shows the history of the Women’s Exchange of Sandy Spring and it is very interesting to see how the women of the community hand-crafted items and then had them available for sale. It’s a bit of a shock to see how the pricing has changed in relation to the current times. As an artist myself, it’s always a bit of a question as to figuring out fair pricing for pieces to sell. What a great opportunity for the women of the day to share their talents with the community!
Club Minutes: Mutual Improvement Association, June-July 1868
Club Minutes, 2004.0018.0002
Going through the minutes of the various social clubs of Sandy Spring can be a surprising process. When you least expect it, something jumps out that just immediately intrigues. The minutes for the June meeting of the Mutual Improvement Association in 1868 had this exact effect on me. One of the members, M. L. Roberts, read an extract “…asserting that because so much is read in these days, nothing is studied as it ought to be.” As I read this, I couldn’t help but reflect on my experiences as a student in College. So many varieties of this exact sentiment were made constantly, especially as a student in the arts, insinuating that we weren’t properly studying the right materials and were too focused on more popular media. It’s fascinating to me that as generations go by we’ll always be critiquing the arts and media we consume, and I thought about how things really aren’t so different now. And then, as I turn the page, still considering this thought, M. M. Miller was noted to have read “…an urgent appeal to all who have anything to do with burials to be quite sure that life is utterly extinct before consigning a friend to the grave…”, and I felt that things may be pretty different after all.
Letter: Henry C. Hallowell to Florence M. Bentley, August 1889
Getting a peek at a family through their communications is truly an interesting experience. You get a read on the little details of the relationships there, and it’s always different and rather special. Henry C. Hallowell is communicating to his granddaughter Florence while at sea. He’s clearly so excited to share the details of his trip with her, highlighting the creatures he’s seen and the experiences of the travelers, and he still talks about how he showed Florence’s picture to the other travelers. He writes, “I think about you all and can shut my eyes and see you so plainly.” It brings a smile to my face, thinking about how he couldn’t help but spend most of his letter about his vacation doing nothing but gush about his loved ones. Just from one little four-page letter, I feel an understanding of this man through his love for his family.
Letter: Cornelia Hallowell Bentley to “Dearest Mother,” February 16, 1899
In a letter to her mother, Cornelia Hallowell Bentley discusses something that is probably on most people’s mind these days; sickness. She frets about the health of her daughter, and discusses the grip that she is currently dealing with. Any descriptions of illness are particularly affecting to me with all that is going on, and her concern for her daughter echoes all the worry I feel for my loved ones. The letter is a great reminder to check in with friends and family, now more than ever.
Travel Diary: Isabel R. Farquhar, 1896
When I started reading this diary, I wasn’t expecting to be led through a journey of what surely must be one of the more interesting vacations ever recorded. In one trip, Isabel documents mass sea-sickness, horse-drawn carriage related injuries, the beauty of the solar eclipse seen at sea, and the opulence of churches in St. Petersburg. I was enthralled the entire read, due in no small part to the wonderful writing of its author. One passage I found to be particularly enjoyable describes a man who mistakes Isabel’s traveling partner “H.” as an escaped lunatic due to his attempt to see the North Star in St. Petersburg. Vacationing is either difficult or impossible now during the global Covid-19 pandemic, and I found this to be a nice step away from life into the adventures of another, in some ways reminding me of my own experiences traveling.
Letter: George William Brown to Edward Stabler, March 30, 1858
This letter may not be as immediately exciting as others, but the legacy of its contents interests me greatly. Edward Stabler’s prowess as a seal maker and the beauty of his Smithsonian Seal was such that he was contacted by George William Brown, who was the founder of the Maryland Historical Society and the President of The Library Company of the Baltimore Bar, to create a seal for the Peabody Institute. George William Brown is a fascinating character, only two years after this letter was sent he was the mayor of Baltimore, and a year after that, he was in jail. He was an inciting force in the Pratt Street Riots in Baltimore, apparently taking a rifle from the hands of a present soldier and shooting one of the rioters himself. Strangely enough, it seems his arrest had nothing to do with that, but with his authorization of the destruction of railroad bridges during the ensuing riots. The curiosity these archives inspire is truly special, reading through this letter led me to research the people involved and learn about their personal history, and in turn, gave some more context to the letter itself. I can wholeheartedly recommend doing the same, research the subject involved in any documents you come across, you never know what you’re going to find
Deed: Thomas L. Reese to Roger Brook, 1827
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment granting (primarily) white middle-class women the right to vote. Non-white women would continue their struggle against racial inequality for another 45 years until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Equal Rights Amendment proposed March of 1972, failed to receive ratification by three-fourths of the states. The struggle continues; however, looking back to 1839, one can see progress, painfully slow progress, but progress all the same.
Acting as “trustee” for one Thomas Reese (debtor), Caleb Bentley and his wife Henrietta (having the right of dower) did sell four acres in Brookeville to Roger Brooke. Just in case you were worried that Henrietta signed away her dower rights (1/3rd of her husband’s property upon his death) under duress, you can be assured that she “did sign and seal the said deed or instrument of writing…and make her acknowledgment thereof voluntarily and freely and without being induced thereto by fear or threats of ill-usage (sic) from her husband or be fear of his displeasure…”
Autograph album: Jessie B. Stabler, 1881
Emma Taylor Stabler drew this quaint drawing in 1886 as her contribution to Jessie B. Stabler’s autograph album given to her by her grandmother as a Christmas gift in 1881. Throughout the book are poems, proverbs, and maxims, accompanied by signatures of friends and family members. Reading through the pages, one can imagine what it was like living in a “kinder and more considerate” world.
Letter: Benjamin Hallowell to Henry Hallowell, February 1, 1857
Benjamin Hallowell was the first president of the Maryland Agricultural College (University of Maryland) in 1859. One month later, he was forced to resign due to illness. Benjamin Hallowell married Margaret Elgar Farquhar and together they had nine children—this letter was written to Henry by his father with the intent to assuage any feelings of disappointment Henry might harbor regarding his academic appointment. Benjamin speaks of the importance of knowledge, information, a well-trained mind, and a well-regulated heart, as well as feelings of modesty and humility. This letter is a testament to a father’s support and tenderness towards his son
Autograph Album, Mary B. Kirk, 1835 (Poem by James P. Stabler, 1837)
The oldest “book of friends” (album amicorum) on record dates back to 1545. Also known as autograph albums, they were a method of exchanging poems, drawings, and messages among friends, colleagues, and family members. Mary B. Kirk’s autograph album, dated 1835, has a number of poems penned by local Sandy Springers. This selection is by James P. Stabler on August 3, 1837, entitled “To Make a Rail Road” (sic).
Stabler posits that making a railroad to Heaven is as possible as making one on earth. He suggests that it should be “located on the ground of the love to God and to our fellow creatures. The chief engineer shall be the still small voice which makes no curves either to the right hand or to the left…the road will be straight…the board of trustees will furnish him with the funds to carry on the work from a treasure as inexhaustible as the fountains of light and love…pride and cruelty will be levelled by …mercy…”
What gems are to be found within these “book of friends”! Today’s glossy photos and slick copy is pleasing to the eye, but I challenge anyone to find the depth of emotion and breadth of wisdom composed by those folks who wrote in Mary Kirk’s autograph book in 1837.
Ledger: Ashton Store, 1882-1893
As a person who loves lists and stays organized with the use of a day planner, this ledger feels very relatable for me to view. There is a meticulous quality to how store proprietor, A.G. Thomas kept records of the accounts of his customers. This ledger has a lot of amounts transferred over from a previous folio to help him keep the balance of all his accounts. The little bits of math and notes in the margins show some more of Mr. Thomas’ organizational strategy.
Scrapbook: Late 19th century
This scrapbook is filled with advertisements, pictures, and clippings from the late 19th century. There’s a wide assortment of themes and images, some of which are quite quirky or silly. It reminds me a bit of people today capturing screenshots on their cell phones that are sometimes just little images that they want to remember or look back on at a later time. It’s fun to consider the meaning of these clippings and wonder why they were chosen and saved in this book.
Plat: Bloomfield Farm, 1894
This property survey shows the land contained within the Bloomfield Farm property, owned by John C. Bentley. The farm shape is interesting and makes me wonder what was developed to fill that space. It’s sort of an open canvas to fill for living and farm use. And because it’s located in Sandy Spring, you can check it out today and see how it has evolved through time.
Basketball ScoreBook: Sherwood High School, 1950-1951
Team sports are in short supply these days, so this little record book of the 1950-1951 Sherwood High School basketball season might help fill that gap a bit. It shows points scored, broken down by individual players, and other detailed records of the games. As I flipped to the last pages and saw the full team record for the season, I was a bit dismayed to see the several losses my old high school, Damascus HS, had against Sherwood for that season.
Diary: James P. Stabler, 1827 (Volume 4)
Travel diary, 2012.0006.0001
After spending 2+ weeks in Great Britain visiting distant family and exploring tourist sites, James grows anxious to return home. He sums up his land-based adventures, written in Volume’s 2 and 3, starting here. Reading his “Review”, it is beautifully written and introspective. A perfect lead-in to the Return Voyage detailed in Volume 4. Something that Volume 4 shares with the other volumes is James’ use of old shorthand! Don’t forget to read Page 29 of Volume 4, where he describes seeing the Aurora Borealis for the first time: a fitting end to a 3-month adventure!
Journal: James P. Stabler, 1830
I’m a self-confessed gearhead that loves all things related to the history of transportation. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is the oldest railroad in the United States, opening in 1830. Its founder – Philip Evan Thomas – was from Colesville and was related to the pioneer settlers of Sandy Spring. James Pleasants Stabler, of Sandy Spring, was a man of many talents. After returning from his Trans-Atlantic adventure in 1827, James married the daughter of Educator/Engineer/Surveyor Isaac Briggs. In addition to being Postmaster of Sandy Spring and co-owner of the Sandy Spring Store, James Stabler was Chief Engineer and Supervisor of Construction for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. This Journal details the construction specifications for the stone sills used on the earliest sections of the Railroad.
Diary: Ellen Stabler, 1917
Fifteen-year-old John Caleb Bentley’s copybook will astonish you with not only the detailed complexities of his equations but also the eloquence of his penmanship. As a bonus, John has a habit of doodling in the margins, which gives you a little insight into what a teenager in 1865 thinks about while in school.
Club Minutes: Horticultural Society, April 1863
Have you ever been faced with a dreaded mole invasion in your garden? Apparently the Horticultural Club in April 1863 was facing the same problem as noted in their minutes, “Question: How do you get rid of moles? Answer: Unknown.” Well, some things don’t change with the passing of time. Or, how about this one, “Question: how do you raise broccoli? Answer: as cabbage.” So, I wonder how you raise cabbage!
Scrapbook: Clippings about Sophia Kummer Pierce and relatives, 1923-1932
Those who disparage a diet that includes tea and coffee haven’t heard of Mrs. Sophia Kummer Pierce of Montgomery County. Born in 1824, Sophia lived to be 103 years and credits her long life to “simple living, hard work and a firm belief in the goodness of Divine Providence.” She noted that she used tea and coffee all her life and it had not hurt her! Sophie’s husband, Edward Pierce who spent many years in California during the gold rush, must have shared her penchant for coffee, as he lived for 94 years! Look through this scrapbook dedicated to Sophie’s life and you will wish you’d met this charming centenarian!
Poem: John (Jack) N. Bentley, 1918
Poetry celebrating 25th wedding anniversary of John C. and Cornelia H. Bentley, 1907
This is a collection of poems and notes that celebrate the 25th anniversary of John and Cornelia Bentley. The friends and family of the Bentley’s wrote these words and they are sweet mementos from this occasion. I like the creativity of their friends and the ways that they sent their congratulations.
Invitation: New Zealand Ambassador and Mrs. Munro to Mr. and Mrs. J. Bentley, 1954
This invitation to the New Zealand embassy is very interesting to me as this is an international link to the Bentley’s in the Sandy Spring community. I imagine that attending a cocktail party at an embassy is a classy event and it is interesting to see the handwritten note that is included in this invitation. Clearly the Bentley’s knew some people in high places!
Caricature: by (Earl D.) Chesney baseball of Jack Bentley
Caricatures are always interesting because they highlight a specific aspect of one’s personality or persona. This drawing of Jack Bentley displays his baseball career in a really dynamic way. I especially like the action lines around his exaggerated foot that give the feeling of movement or momentum as he winds up to throw the ball.
Letter: to editor of American Farmer
Gardening has seen a resurgence and expansion during the coronavirus shutdowns, many are cultivating their land and seeing what varied items they can try to grow. An important aspect to gardening and farming is using fertilizer to add essential nutrients for growth. This letter is an interesting description of bat guano, a fertilizer famously introduced to Sandy Spring in the 19th century, which was traded from Peru.
George Ellicott Survey Book, 1794
One of the oldest holdings in the Sandy Spring Museum Archives is the Survey Notebook of George Ellicott. George, son of Ellicott Mill founder Andrew Ellicott, married Elizabeth Brooke (daughter of James Brooke Jr.) in 1790. She recently inherited part of her father’s share of Pioneer Settler James Brooke’s vast estate. Reading this Survey Notebook of the Sandy Spring region reveals all the commonly known land patents – Charley Forrest, Brooke Grove, Gittings Ha-Ha, and Brooke Black Meadow. It also introduces you to some cleverly named new ones – Hard Bought, Bear Garden Forrest, Pork Plenty, and many more! It is obvious that George Ellicott is very interested in documenting his wife’s newly acquired land holdings. Their daughter, Elizabeth Ellicott, would marry Thomas Lea and later go on to national fame as the author of a famous cookbook!
The Community Council of Sandy Spring Neighborhood Minutes from 1930
Before the days of Homeowner Associations and Civic Associations, there was the Community Council of Sandy Spring Neighborhood. The Community Council engaged with local governments on behalf of the Sandy Spring Clubs to effect positive change in the Sandy Spring Community. Road improvements, landscaping, electricity, water, and sewer were all hot topics. It’s fun to read about the Council’s concerns regarding development and compare it with the issues local residents face today.
Club Minutes: The Neighbors, 1914-1923
In 1921, The Neighbors, a Sandy Spring Social Club, formed a Committee to develop a “Sandy Spring Creed”. The idea was to communicate the spirit of unity embodied by Sandy Springers. Contributions from the community were submitted and the Committee announced the winner at the 268th meeting held August 18, 1921. The winning entry, written by Huldah Janney, is timeless and inspires us to act selflessly, especially during these trying times. You can also read the other entries that were submitted to the Committee by reading the previous pages.
Diary: James P. Stabler, 1827 (Volume 1)
James Pleasants Stabler, the first Postmaster of Sandy Spring and part-owner of the Sandy Spring Store, had recently suffered through the death of his wife Elizabeth Gilpin and 3 children when he decided to take a Trans-Atlantic journey in 1827. He kept a meticulous journal(s) of his adventure. Volume 1 starts on June 16, 1827, and spans 28 days – the time it took the packet ship “Pacific” to cross the Atlantic from New York to Liverpool. Packet Ships were similar to the airlines of today, in that they kept regular schedules between major cities. Reading his detailed diary will teach you about the risks and hardships undertaken by the crews and passengers of the packet ship vessels that sailed the oceans between continents. In addition, we learn what life was like on board the ship for Stabler and his fellow passengers and what they did to while away the many days spent at sea.
Miscellanea found in a ledger of Caleb Edward Iddings, 1888-1901
Advertisement, found in 2004.0004.0005
My days are often brightened by the bits and bobs we find tucked into diaries or ledgers. While often unremarkable scratchings and miscellanea, these stray pieces survive decades and even centuries by simply been unthinkingly slipped between random pages; it feels so personal, a little like preserving the contents of one’s pockets or purse on any given day. When I came across this gem hidden inside one of Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings’ ledgers, I gasped. Who knew creosote could be medicinal!
Letter: John H.B. Latrobe to Edward Stabler, 1845
These three letters from John H.B. Latrobe to Edward Stabler were written between March 16th and April 4th, 1845 in which designs for a stamp for the State of Maryland are discussed. That these two gentlemen collaborated on such a task is somewhat unremarkable; after all, Stabler was a seal maker and Latrobe an engineer. What captures my interest is that both men were true polymaths: Stabler was also a farmer, the postmaster of Sandy Spring, and the head of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company; Latrobe was also a patent lawyer, an inventor (the Latrobe stove), and founding member of the Maryland Historical Association and the American Bar Association. It’s fun to imagine how the genius of one may have fed off of (or collided with) the other.
Diary of Caleb E. Iddings, 1904-1905
This particular diary is a bittersweet testament to marital devotion. Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings was a lifelong diarist faithfully recording his daily experiences throughout his entire adult life. In the year of his death, he continued to write daily until mid-February, after which his wife Harriet begins to sporadically add notes of Dr. Iddings’ declining health and of visitors offering well wishes. Following his passing on June 4, 1904, Harriet picks up the pen and begins a daily chronicle in same book, continuing ritual for many years afterward.
Club Minutes: Mutual Improvement Association, Feb. 7, 1918 and Scrapbook: Deborah Iddings, 1913-1921
I had to giggle when I saw how these two items together illustrate that generation gaps have existed long before the “OK Boomer” crowd! A discussion of the “unladylike and deleterious habit of chewing gum” among the younger generation ensued during the February meeting of The Mutual Improvement Association in 1918. The women rested assured, however, saying that their “dear Sandy Spring is comparatively clear of girls addicted to this disgusting habit”. That said, in browsing the scrapbook of a young Deborah Willson (nee Iddings) from the same period I found, nestled among her most treasured memories and mementos, two gum wrappers! The irony is that Deborah eventually joined the club herself as an adult and I am sure her future self engaged in many discussions regarding the “younger generation.”
Journals, Tales of the Dismal Campers, 1887-1896
This journal details the experiences of a group of young Sandy Spring women who attended a summer vacation, where they occupied a building for a week, called Camp Dismal. There are several volumes spanning a few years that chronicle the journey of these ladies. There are quirky tales, notes, songs, and more included in their writings.
Sketchbook: Sarah T. Wood, 1889-1894
This little sketchbook contains small pencil drawings down around the Sandy Spring area. As an artist myself, I know how personal, yet interesting artist sketchbooks can be. They show little outlines or written ideas, in unfinished yet often still beautiful ways.
Seal impression: Orphans’ Court of Prince George’s County
This item is a seal impression from the Orphans’ Court of Prince George’s County. Though not as vibrant to view as the actual seal would be, the impression shows the amount of detail and intricacy included in this seal. It looks a bit like a coin. This seal was designed and manufactured by Edward Stabler of Sandy Spring, which makes it an interesting work of art as well.
Birthday book: Mary Ellicott Gilpin, ca1852-1946
This piece is a book to help keep track of birthdays. I really like this because it shows the pre-digital era before we could access birthdays with a couple of quick clicks. I personally write the birthdays of my family and close friends in my day planner as a way to remember them each year, so this book reminds me of that practice. Also, it’s fun to page through and see if there are any “birthday buddies” on your birthday.
Scrapbook: Mary Bentley Thomas, 1845-1923
In 1915, the Suffrage Caravan traveled through Maryland. On their way through Montgomery County, they paid a visit to an aging Mary Bentley Thomas at her Belmont farm. This page from her scrapbook details the visit. Mary Bentley Thomas obviously had a sense of humor based on the newspaper clipping of Francis Snowden’s reasoning why women should have the right to vote.
Club Minutes: The Neighbors
Sandy Spring has a long history of Social Clubs and the Sandy Spring Museum is fortunate to be the repository for many of the Social Club’s minutes. As a member, and Archival Secretary, of a Sandy Spring Social Club (The Neighbors), I understand the tremendous value the Club Minutes provide historians who wish to research the Sandy Spring Community. In 1986, The Neighbors (founded 1897) celebrated their 1000th Meeting at the Cedars. The following pages, documented in a booklet, detail a history of the Club and its members, along with humorous snippets from its many meetings, along with a tribute to long-time member Dr. Jacob Bird.
Club Minutes: The Mutual Improvement Association
The Mutual Improvement Association is considered by many to be the longest-serving Women’s Social Club in the United States (founded 1857). In 2007, “Association” celebrated its 150th Anniversary at a meeting held at the Cedars. The following minutes paint a vivid portrait of their sweet tooth’s! Then, read the attached poems, pages 17-23, especially Katherine Farquhar’s!
Enterprise Farmers Club Centennial Meeting, January 1966
The Enterprise Farmers Club (called the “Junior Club”), has been meeting since December 1865. Along with the Sandy Spring Farmers Club (founded in 1844 and called the “Senior Club”), they comprise some of the oldest farmers’ clubs in the country. The club membership regularly met to discuss agricultural issues, solutions and to inspect and critique the monthly host’s farming operation (livestock, crops, equipment). If you want to understand the rural and agricultural history of the Sandy Spring Community, look no further than the Enterprise Farmers Club Minutes. They celebrated their Centennial Meeting in January of 1966 and the Minutes give a fine overview of the Club’s history. After reading this, I guarantee you’ll want to read more!
Letter, Jack Bentley to His Mother, October 28, 1918
If you love history, then you will enjoy reading about a local Sandy Spring hero—Jack Bentley. His letters (and there are many) tell of his travels and experiences during WWI. If you want to read primary documents, then the letters from Jack Bentley to his mother will keep your interest, to say the least. Within the pages of his various letters, you capture a glimpse into the life of a WWI soldier.
Letter, Jack Bentley to His Mother, September 18, 1918
This letter is a fascinating first-hand account written by Jack Bentley to his mother describing German planes opening fire on his unit, dated September 18, 1918. This primary document is one of many in the Bentley collection.
John Caleb Bentley Copybook, 1865
Fifteen-year-old John Caleb Bentley’s copybook will astonish you with not only the detailed complexities of his equations but also the eloquence of his penmanship. As a bonus, John has a habit of doodling in the margins, which gives you a little insight into what a teenager in 1865 thinks about while in school.
Diary: Ellen Stabler, 1860
Ellen Stabler was born in 1834 and lived until 1924. The diary entry I chose was written in 1860 when Ellen was 26 years old. Ellen writes of the daily comings and goings of her family and friends in Sandy Spring’s tight-knit Quaker community. It’s hard to imagine how Ellen could get anything done with her full social schedule.
On this page, she writes that her mother and father went to Dr. Howards and Lucy is dining at Phil’s. She went to Uncle Samuels’ and the next day they went sleigh riding then returned home from Cherry Groove just in time for a meeting. After the meeting, Debbie dined at the home in Auburn. The next day Lucy, William, Louis, Debbie, and Ellen went to the cottage in the afternoon and brought Debbie to Phil’s after supper to meet her father. At which point, Joe dined at the Millers’ and brought Fred home with him to supper and went to Phil’s after supper! All of this in 1860 – no cars!
Sandy Spring Store Ledger, Account of Whitson Canby, April 15 – July 30, 1819
Store Ledger, 2013.0008.0001
As a kid, I absolutely loved the arrival of the new telephone book and spent hours browsing all the names, imagining the stories and connections among them. Maybe that is why I am so drawn to the incredible collection of Store Ledgers in our archives and all the stories they can tell. On April 15, 1819, Whitson Canby purchased just over 16 yards of fabric from Sandy Spring Store; a large amount indeed. What was happening in the Canby household at the time that warranted so much fabric? A wedding? Furnishings for a new home addition? Simply the time of year for sewing? On the same day, he settled part of his account with $18.62 worth of earthenware from his pottery works which is equivalent to approximately $378 today. Was this exchange of goods a long-standing arrangement or one-time occurrence? Were both parties in agreement or was there negotiation? How much of the economy of the early Sandy Spring neighborhood was based on barter systems like this? All these questions and this is just one page!
Travel Diary: Deborah Stabler, Summer, 1823
At the age of 60yrs, Deborah Stabler undertook an arduous, several-week overland journey to Clearfield, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1823. She kept a diary that not only recorded the various Quaker Meetings they visited along the way but also vividly detailed the journey and landscapes they passed through. At the bottom of this specific page, she talks about fording a river and you can sense long-standing anxiety about doing so. I find this interesting because Deborah’s fear of river fording is as alien to me as my anxieties related to flying would have been to her. That said, her coping mechanism is all too familiar!
Letter from Sarah Miller Hallowell to Annie, July 23, 1857
In this letter, Sarah Miller Hallowell describes her honeymoon first in Lake George, New York, and then in Niagara Falls, Canada. Having grown up in Canada just 110 km (68 miles) from Niagara Falls, I was tickled to read about all the familiar sights and sounds as would anyone who has visited this area. From the letter, you can sense that Sarah is delighted to be a new bride, having an absolutely wonderful time, and shows off a very sweet sense of humor. When reading the letter, I couldn’t help but hope for a happy marriage for her in her coming years.
Letter: Richard (“Little Dick”) to Elza, undated
We believe this adorable note signed by “Little Dick” was written by Richard Bentley around 1864 to his sister Elza while they were separated during a scarlet fever outbreak. With just a few scratches of a pencil, Little Dick breaks down over 150 years distance between the 5-year experience then and now when he delights in telling Elza that he “rode free (three) times ebry (every) day on the bicycle”!
Club Minutes: The Home Interest Club, July 14, 1913
Club minutes, 2011.0035.00010-Bk 10
During their mid-summer meeting in 1913, The Home Interest Club heard a committee report regarding the efficacy of a new gadget intended to lessen the drudgery of laundry day. The gadget was called a “vacuum clothes washer”, something with which I was not familiar. A member had been appointed the task of trying the gadget and reporting back to the group at the following meeting, eventually giving a favorable review. I find it wonderful that The Home Interest Club organized their own consumer critiques a century before the days of Amazon reviews! While we do not have an example of this kind of washer in our Museum’s collection, a successful internet search for a picture initially left scratching my head and then suddenly realizing this was the forerunner of the modern agitator machine. In fact, it can still be purchased today!
Club Minutes: Enterprise Farmers’ Club, May 11, 1867
When the Enterprise Farmers’ Club met at Falling Green on May 11, 1867 the farm inspection portion of the meeting took quite a turn upon visiting the pigs’ pen. The meeting’s secretary wrote “… members have witnessed many curiosities and agricultural monstrosities, but nothing of the kind has caused their dignity to be more absolutely laid aside and their mirth to be more intensely excited than when our host with a few ears of corn in a basket led us to the pig field.” Apparently a raucous display ensued as the pigs went joyously wild for the corn, running here, there, and everywhere. Though quiet now due to quarantine, when I used to drive by Falling Green and see its fields full of the young athletes of the Olney Boys and Girls Club running every which way, I couldn’t help but think of Falling Green as being a continuous steward of joyous activity as much today as it was in the past.
Poster: From the Scrapbook of Mary Magruder, 1887
This 1887 poster for a recital at the Sandy Spring Lyceum offers it its own visual performance with as many as a dozen different fonts! The rise of advertising in the 19th century stimulated a demand for typography that really caught the eye and packed a punch. The promoters of this production certainly got the memo using variety to full advantage in communicating a whimsy to match the spirit of the event. Late 19th century innovations in the printing industry made low-cost reproduction accessible to a wider population and I have to wonder whether this specific poster was produced locally or in the city.
Diary: Ellen Stabler, 1920
Given how many Sandy Springers were active in the suffrage movement, the recent centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment had me digging curiously through the archives for a personal impression of this victory. In 86 year-old Ellen Stabler’s diary entry for Tuesday, November 3rd, 1920, she first records and comments on the weather (72’ and cloudy), then notes a trip for the day to Olney by Frank and Edward and finally casually mentions “Elsie went in the morning and voted.” Oh my goodness, how and why is this so casually mentioned? Why did she not vote? Did she have strong feelings about it or was merely ambivalent? Never has an entry in the archives made me desperate to converse with its author to learn more!
Diary: Dr. Caleb Edward Iddings, January 23-27, 1881
1983.0083.0012 Diary, Dr. Caleb E. Iddings
In the diary entries for these five days, Dr. Iddings speaks of late nights caring for his youngest child Edward (four years of age at the time) through a bout of croup. As a mom intimately familiar with croup, I could almost hear little Edward’s barking cough and felt an instant connection with Dr. Iddings. His obvious tenderness toward his son is very touching and he tugged at my heartstrings when, on the fourth day when Edward was most sick, Dr. Iddings was riddled with concern and seemingly at a loss as to what else to do so he went to the Ashton Store and bought his son a toy elephant bank.
Richard Brooke Copybook, 1803
1981.0025.0005 Copy book, Richard Brooke
Have you ever wondered if the education 250 years ago was more rigorous than the education today? The general consensus is “yes,” but I tend to disagree. Do you know about the “Rule of Three”? Or how about reduction? This copybook belonged to Richard Brooke in 1803. I was amazed that a thirteen-year-old was able to complete these complex exercises. The beautiful handwriting throughout was enough to regret leaving Richard Brooke behind, as I had to move on to the next project.
Autograph Album- Jessie B. Stabler, 1881
1982.0086.0102 Autograph Album, Jessie Stabler
This is a little book of signatures, some with dates and/or locations. I like this item because it is a bit like a school yearbook, where one could have their friends sign their names and leave a little message. Also, the variety of signatures and handwriting styles are very interesting to look at.
2008.0028.0001 Scrapbook, Mary Bentley Thomas
This scrapbook is one person’s view of the Sandy Spring Community and the Nation, consisting of periodicals, photographs, and letters clipped from various sources. Mary Bentley Thomas was a pioneer in the Local, State, and National Women’s Suffrage Movement and her scrapbook is chockful of articles written by her and other notables of the time, including Susan B. Anthony. Mary Bentley Thomas lived at the Belmont Farm (Ednor) with her family. The farmhouse and structures no longer exist but my house was built on part of the Belmont tract, less than 100 yards from where she lived!
Josanne Francis is a steel pan musician, educator, and arts administrator based in metropolitan Washington, DC. Francis was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1988. As a child, Francis became fascinated with the steel pan. Her desire to play the instrument was so strong that, even before she owned a steel pan, Francis took lessons using a cardboard cutout of the instrument’s playing surface and sticks instead of mallets.
During middle school, Francis joined an important Trinidadian steel band, the Starlift Steel Orchestra, and worked closely with Ray Holman — a legendary musician, composer, and arranger in the calypso tradition. The experience inspired Francis to turn her passion for music into a career. At nineteen, Francis left her home to pursue degrees in music education and performance — first a BA from the University of Southern Mississippi and then a MA at Northern Illinois University — in the United States.
In 2014, Francis began working in Maryland as Artistic Director at the Cultural Academy for Excellence (CAFE) — a non-profit arts organization that uses the performing arts as a vehicle for learning, leadership, and academic achievement among youth. As director of the school’s Positive Vibrations Steel Band, Francis empowers students who come from a range of historically marginalized communities. Francis says that the steel pan is the perfect instrument for CAFE’s beginning music students because “they’re not worrying about embouchure or they’re not worrying about fingering. They’re not worried [if] you have a good instrument, [if] you have a good instructor . . . [the steel pan] is very good for those students who would otherwise not be successful in your traditional ensemble classes.” Seeing the impact of the steel band on her students at CAFE, Francis created Steel on Wheels —a mobile set of steel pans and instruction materials available for other schools on a rental basis.
When she is not teaching, Francis is an in-demand performer. With her trio and septet, Francis has performed at the San Juan Conservatory of Music (Puerto Rico), Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Howard University, the University of Maryland, and Humboldt State University. Her performances mix calypso, jazz, reggae, classical, and Hindustani music, representing Francis’ diverse musical background. Francis is also the co-creator of Parallel Intersections — a duo with Chinese dulcimer (yanguin) player, Chao Tian. The two met in 2017 when Francis was an Artist-in-Residence at the prestigious Strathmore Institute for Artistic and Professional Development.
Josanne Francis performs with her septet at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in 2018.
Parallel Intersections, Josanne Francis and Chao Tian, performing “Shanghuai Shanghuai,” in 2019.
Through her performing and teaching, Francis has also become an experienced non-profit administrator. In 2020, she was hired as the Executive Director of the Cultural Academy for Excellence. As she moves into the future, Francis will continue to share her gifts as an educator, performer, and administrator with others in the Mid-Atlantic, while looking back to her Caribbean roots for inspiration.
Click here to virtually view this exhibit.
On exhibit March 5-May 31, 2020
Jews and Muslims Making Art Together (JAMMART) is a group of unaffiliated, Muslim, and Jewish artists, that gathered together in 2008 for the purpose of creating art, learning about each other’s beliefs and values, and ultimately becoming friends. As they learned more about one another, they decided to create a work of art that focused on areas of deep intersection. The resulting work, composed of paint, fiber, metal, glass, ceramic, and wood, is a declaration of the beauty contained within the two religions and the intermingling of shared values and beliefs.
An American Story exhibited the original JAMMART artwork plus works by sixteen individual artists who are members of JAMMART – all of whom are immigrants, children of immigrants, or grandchildren of immigrants. JAMMART hopes that these works can be a reminder of the ideals that the United States was founded upon. JAMMART’s members want their art to show the power of friendship, community, faith, hope, and love.
From her earliest memory, Paula Cleggett’s twin loves of art and reading claimed her fullest attention, later guiding her career. Born in Chicago, Paula attended the Art Institute of Chicago while in high school; she went on to earn a BA in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville; she received an MA in Journalism, from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
She has held a variety of engaging positions, from a freelance writer and calligrapher in Kenya to a government executive in Washington, DC. After retiring from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Paula joined The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University as associate director for policy.
Currently, she serves as a Teaching Artist with Arts for the Aging, an organization that engages older adults through participation in multi-disciplinary arts. Mostly, she devotes her time to strengthening her drawing and painting skills.
Patricia Kessler has been an adjunct professor at Montgomery College at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus since 1999. She has a BFA in painting and printmaking and is particularly interested in experimenting with the use of natural dyes.
Robin Ziek began working with clay in college as an apprentice with a Danish potter. After a long career in history and architecture, she is very glad to come back to clay. Her work involves a combination of wheel and hand-built techniques.
Pamela Reid is a teaching artist and co-owner of Blue Thistle Pottery. She teaches at the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Artivate in Silver Spring, MD, and Sandy Spring Museum.
Jean Fletcher was an economics professor at Gettysburg College from 1983-2014 and is now a professor emerita. One summer, on a whim, she took a ceramics class and found her true passion. Jean’s work emphasizes the synthesis of modern shapes and natural or traditional designs.
Karen Blynn has been a practicing potter for a long time – while in school, while raising a family, and now after retiring from NASA. Karen resides in Silver Spring, MD after living and playing in various cities and pottery studios across the country.
Julie Smith has lived in the Olney/Sandy Spring area since 1989. Her work blends representational and abstract styles. Her primary medium is in acrylic and mixed media/collage. She was a resident artist at Washington Artworks in Rockville and is currently a resident artist at Gallery 209 in Rockville. She is also a signature member of Potomac Valley Watercolorists and the Baltimore Watercolor Society. Her work is influenced by nature and the fleeting miracles that enrich us all, expanding the common ground where we all celebrate life.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 1994 and a Master of Fine Arts from the State University of New York, Silversmith Eun Ju Lee began exhibiting her art all across the country before setting up her studio at Sandy Spring Museum in 2013.
Studio Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 11 am-2 pm. Click here to contact Eun Ju or call 240-463-5241.
Susana M. Garten, a vitreous enamels, metals, and mixed media artist, lives and works in the greater Olney area and maintains a studio at Sandy Spring Museum. Exhibiting for over 30 years, she has been a member of the Enamelists Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia, a Resident Artist at Rockville Arts Place, a participant in fine arts and craft fairs, and an instructor at Glen Echo Park. She exhibits her work locally and all across the United States and in Canada.
Studio Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 11 am-3 pm | Some Fridays and Saturdays
Click here to contact Sue.
Learn more about how to build a strong coalition in the fight for racial justice. Local activists and leaders share their insight on building a stronger community.
Panelists: Josephine Garnem, Mohamed Abubakr, Yi Shen, Moderator – Luz Chavez Gonzales
Do you know what the Police Advisory Commission is? Learn about how the commission and other programs are creating opportunities for citizen-led change within our local police department.
Panelists: Chief Marcus Jones, MCPD, Dave Thomas, Cherri Branson, Moderator – Dr. Rashawn Ray
Education is a legal right – not a privilege – yet it is one of the most pervasive systems of keeping people trapped in generational poverty. What does meaningful educational reform look like? How do we keep the current system from perpetuating systematic racism in education?
Panelists: Professor Natalie Thomas, Dr. Daman Harris, Dr. Joshua Starr
Anton Black, an Eastern Shore teenager, died in police custody nearly two years ago. Black was one of 31 people to die in Maryland in an officer-involved incident in 2018. “Anton’s Law” can prevent this from happening in the future. Learn how to advocate for effective change in our community.
Panelists: Delegate Pam Queen, Delegate Gabriel Acevero, Councilmember Will Jawando, LaToya Holley (sister of Anton Black), Moderator – Monty Cooper
Constant experiences of racism lead to lasting trauma. Racial trauma can result from major experiencing of discrimination or be the result of many microaggressions over time. How do you recover from this race-based stress? What role does art play as a platform to heal trauma?
Panelists: Karah Palmer, M.Ed. and Meghan Malik
Coffee ceremony convener, storyteller, and entrepreneur, owner of Blessed Coffee
Tebabu Assefa is an Ethiopian-born coffee ceremony convener, storyteller, and entrepreneur living in Takoma Park, Maryland. With his wife, Sara Mussie, Assefa organizes and leads Ethiopian coffee ceremonies for social engagement and community-building throughout Maryland and Washington, DC.
Growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the 1960s, Assefa participated in coffee ceremonies as a child. He recalls being asked by his mother to visit their neighbors and let them know that coffee would soon be ready at Assefa’s house. Later in life, Assefa learned more about the coffee ceremony from participating in the ceremony throughout Ethiopia. Coffee would take on new meanings for Assefa when he left Ethiopia and eventually settled in the United States in the 1990s.
Deciding that he wanted to be a storyteller and filmmaker, Assefa enrolled at the University of Minnesota for a degree in communications. His goal was to portray the cultural vitality of the Ethiopian community of greater Washington, DC. But, living in the United States was not an easy transition for Assefa. He struggled with the individualism of North American society, particularly because of his upbringing in Africa. He explains:
By nature [individuals] have social elements. In African contexts, it’s a very profound notion. From South Africa to Ethiopians in South Africa, they call it mbutu. In Ethiopia it’s like who I am is directly related to who we are. I am because we are; because we are, therefore I am. And if that relationship is disrupted, psychologically, spiritually, financially, in any way you think of, there’s no help, because you cannot live by yourself. It’s impossible.
For Assefa, the solution to sharing the story of Ethiopian communities and addressing a lack of mbutu in the United States was coffee. First, coffee is loved by both Americans and Ethiopians. Second, coffee is central to telling the story of Ethiopia’s history, economy, and social life. Third, Assefa understands the coffee ceremony as a chance to slow down and to socialize with others. He says:
In [Ethiopia], people on a daily basis, take time . . . villages, families, friends, will take time out of a day, and sit in a ritual of coffee, traditional coffee culture, where they sit in a circle, they roast, smell, brew, drink, enjoy the coffee . . . they talk about everything about themselves. Dreams are translated, businesses are discussed, social news is [shared] . . . so the relationship between the individual to the family is cultivated or incubated in that same space. So the sense of I and we are very profound for the community. It’s not an intellectual concept. It’s a dance, it’s a ritual. And people have to do that collective ritual, collective dancing, to really value who they are to one another.
In bringing the coffee ceremony to the United States, Assefa meets his goal of telling the story of Ethiopia and giving those in America an opportunity to experience the benefits of socializing together.
During coffee ceremonies, Assefa narrates the ritual and discusses its significance, while his wife, Sara Mussie, is busy roasting, brewing, and pouring the coffee into small cups for drinkers. The husband and wife also work together through their social enterprise called Blessed Coffee—a “Benefit Corporation” which uses for-profit and non-profit business models to offer quality coffee to American drinkers while providing the maximum economic benefit to Ethiopian coffee cooperatives and farmers. Mussie’s official title is Co-Founder and Chief of Mission, while Assefa works as Co-Founder and Chief Storyteller at Blessed Coffee.
Since he began working with coffee ceremonies, Assefa has led the gathering at several important events. Notably, Assefa hosts a coffee ceremony at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC each year on Passport Day. An estimated 10,000 people take part in the event. (Editor’s note: The photo used in this profile depicts Tebabu Assefa, Sara Mussie, and the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, taken on Passport Day at the Ethiopian Embassy). Assefa has also seen strong connections made among participants in the coffee ceremony. Once, two individuals who did not know each other prior to the ceremony, realized they lived in the same apartment building during their conversation. Other times, Assefa sees people from various countries find common experiences, even though they have grown up on different continents. For Assefa, the coffee ceremony is an opportunity to move beyond national identities and toward shared humanity. He says, “Though we have different flags of cultures and religions, at the end of the road, in essence, we’re all one and the same. The flag, or the culture, that we carry of the village . . . shouldn’t really define our essence because, at the end of the day, we’re just celebrating humanity or trying to figure out the meaning of life. We’re just human beings.”
Mr. Assefa’s first name, Tebabu, was given to him by his mother because it means “wisdom.” Yet, as a young man, Assefa was not happy about his name. He says, “I went to my mum and I said, ‘From all the names you could give me, why Wisdom? What happened, what did you think of?’ She looked at me, cracked a smile, and softly said, ‘It’s my hope and prayer, someday you’ll bump into it.’ I thought that was remarkable because all my life has been set in motion in search of wisdom.” Now, as an artist, storyteller, and community builder in Maryland, Mr. Assefa is using coffee and its accompanying ceremony to offer tebabu through caffeinated conversation.
Zentangle is an American method for drawing, which not only promotes concentration and creativity but at the same time increases personal well-being. Follow along with this Henna Zentangle tutorial by Charming Henna.
Give a Mandala a try at home with Charming Henna.
SSM Garden Club member and beekeeper, Julie, gives a look into the hive of the Honey Bee. Learn about pollination, honey, workers, drones and the queen.
Sylvia Karman is a Maryland writer who loves to hike, especially in the Adirondack mountains where she, her husband, and their German Shepherd mix return every spring for five months of north woods forest bathing. She has just completed her first novel and is already busy with the next one. Her poems have recently appeared in Delmarva Review and Blueline. Sylvia is a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, the Adirondack Center for Writers, and the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD.
The Writer’s Corner is brought to you in part by MoCo Underground.
A step by step tutorial by the museum’s Garden Club on how to make a prayer flag for your fairy garden.
A new, free educational resource from Tinkergarten providing free DIY activity plans, advice, and a virtual community to help the whole family continue to get outside and learn during this challenging time.
Click here to learn more and sign up.
– Tongue Depressors/Popsicle Sticks
– Paint and Paint Brushes or Markers
– Googly eyes (optional)
– Buttons (optional)
– Pipe Cleaners (optional)
– Glue or Double Sided Tape
– Scissors (parent supervision recommended)
What are germs and what is the best way to protect yourself from them? Why is hand washing important? How does your body fight germs and infections? Explore how germs affect people and how to protect yourself.
Germs Part 1
Germs Part 2
Halau Ho’omau I ka Wai Ola O Hawai’i, meaning “through hula and halau, we remain young at heart and full of life,” is a traditional Hawaiian cultural school organized by Suz and Manu Ikaika. The Halau, serves students of diverse backgrounds from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. In class, all music and chants are performed live by Halau musicians. Oli (hula chants); hula olapa and hula kui (ancient hula); hula auana (free-flowing modern hula in the traditional style); Hawaiian arts and crafts, history, language, and music (ukulele and ancient hula implements) classes are offered to perpetuate all aspects of Hawaiian culture and to educate the local community about Hawaii and its people. Their primary goal is to keep Hawaiian heritage alive by celebrating the traditions of our native Hawaii.
Beijing Opera, or Chinese Opera, or Peking Opera is a form of traditional Chinese theatre which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. It arose in the late 18th century and became fully developed and recognized by the mid-19th century.
Beijing opera features four main types of performers. With their elaborate and colorful costumes, performers are the only focal points on Beijing opera’s characteristically sparse stage. They utilize the skills of speech, song, dance, and combat in movements that are symbolic and suggestive, rather than realistic. Above all else, the skill of performers is evaluated according to the beauty of their movements.
The Arev Armenian Dance Ensemble performs traditional Armenian folk dances of Anatolia and the Caucuses under the direction of Carolyn Okoomian Rapkievian. The ensemble is accompanied by the Hyetones playing traditional Armenian folk music.
Cultura Plenera is a non-profit organization dedicated to community building in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia areas through the traditional Puerto Rican musical styles of Bomba and Plena. Bomba is a Puerto Rican musical genre that dates back more than 300 years, has heavy African influences, and expresses the sentiments of Puerto Ricans and their culture through barrel drums, maraca, cúa, singer and dancers. Plena is another Puerto Rican musical genre, which dates back more than 100 years, and also narrates stories of the Puerto Rican experience through hand drums, güiro and singers. Both Bomba y Plena are central to life in Puerto Rican communities inside and outside of the island.
Participants of the monthly Museum Jam invite you to a “virtual jam session.” Join the fun by emailing a YouTube video link of you playing one of your favorite songs and other jammers can play along to the recording. Below are some examples, along with lyrics and chords.
White Freightliner Blues
The Parting Glass
Nine Pound Hammer
At the turn of the 20th century, the black population living in Sandy Spring far exceeded the white population. Both free and enslaved blacks have been living in Sandy Spring since the 1700s but there is little written history on the people and the self-sufficient, segregated black communities that were built.
In summer 2019 the Museum was awarded a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority to document the homes and businesses of all free blacks living in the Sandy Spring area between the late 1700s and the mid-20th century.
Click here to learn more about this project and explore the communities of Davis Corner and Ebenezer Church.
Sara Caporaletti is a visual artist born and raised in a small suburb of Montgomery County, Maryland. She received her BA in studio art from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD and her MFA in interdisciplinary fine art from American University in Washington DC. Her work explores various autobiographical elements related to Catholic religious practices and beliefs through a variety of media.
She has participated in various residency programs and has had her work included in group exhibitions at various galleries around the DMV area. Sara has been a part time staff member of the Sandy Spring Museum working with exhibits and the archive digitization project over the past three years.
Stay active at home with No Excuse Moms.
Enjoy the January and February History Happy Hours, filmed by Montgomery Municipal Cable.
Wire Guys and Shooters: The Best of Sports Journalism (January 17, 2020)
Three Centuries of LGBTQ+ History in the Mid-Atlantic (February 28, 2020)
Help with the next phase of the Archive Digitization Project by transcribing pages at home. Click here for the written instructions.
Enjoy a virtual tour of An American Story: Jewish & Muslim Perspectives.
Our friends at DanceInTime share some steps to learn Salsa at home. This video explains the basic step, side rocks, right turn, and the cross body lead. These moves are enough to get through a full Salsa song.
Join them live on Facebook every Friday night at 9pm for a virtual class!
Missing the world of sports? Take a virtual tour of Action and Reaction by Mark Goldman. This sports photography exhibit was featured at the museum January 9 – March 1, 2020.
How to rid your garden of the common weed Hairy Bittercress
Exhibited January 9 – March 1, 2020
Action and Reaction by Mark Goldman centered on the two most important parts of sports photojournalism: action and reaction. The exhibit captured the instantaneous intensity, athleticism, and success created through highlighting game action of area professional and collegiate level sports teams, while also revealing the competitiveness, heart and emotion behind each player’s reaction. An accomplished photographer Mark utilizes his skills in photography, to reveal the in depth knowledge of sports it takes to photograph picture-perfect moments in such a fast-paced, competitive environment. He demonstrates his knowledge of a variety of sports by being one step ahead of the game action by carefully selecting proper placement, studying each sport, and watching the important interactions between players and coaches. The exhibit drew parallels and displayed the equal level of importance between action and reaction to convey the complete story of the game.
Fata Togba-Mensah is the CEO of FAsmarketplace in Wheaton MD, a one-of-a-kind place where the focus is to stimulate local economic and community growth. Fata’s inspiration to create such an environment came from growing up in her home country Liberia. Fata’s mother owned a tailor-shop, her grandfather was a storyteller and her dad was an eloquent speaker who taught her the importance of self-expression. Fata, who is a trained educator, says that her major source of strength comes from the support of her husband James and her children. She decided to pursue her interest in the arts, full-time, as a toy maker, designer and an author of children books. She created the FAs Marketplace to help other small artisans start their dream businesses too.
Fata explained that the marketplace was created out of the need for independent artist and “creatives” to launch, maintain and grow their businesses in Montgomery County. In its first year over sixty businesses have passed through the Marketplace, from pop-up-shops to those with long-term arrangements. FAs Marketplace is housed in a formerly abandoned building. “Of course,” Fata says, “the business has not been short of challenges, especially since the location was closed and unused for a long period of time. So letting people know we are here in the community and getting the word out is pivotal to our survival in the space.”
The marketplace is getting ready to celebrate its one-year anniversary on April 17, 2020, but got the news that they have to relocate because of increased rent. The anniversary events would have started off with a fundraiser to get a commercial kitchen that would have been used by food vendors and artisans who create skincare products. The kitchen would have also been a place where different cooking classes would have been held, all this now has to be put on the back burner because of the recent news.
When asked what success of the FAs Marketplace would look like, Fata says that each individual artist, musician, crafts person could reach their own personal goal through being at the Marketplace. “An artist gets a major record deal, a designer gets a major contract or they are featured on a major platform. That would be the ultimate success.” The Marketplace also hosts art and sewing classes for adults and children, family movie night, “Live at the Marketplace” (where local performers showcase talent), sip-and-paint nights and karaoke.
FAsmarketplace is surely a place that is contributing significantly to the fostering of folk life in Montgomery County. I you know of a place that they can relocate, please contact us. You may also contact the Marketplace directly at:
#11319 Elkin Street
Wheaton, MD 20902
Please email the library. The Collections Manager offers up to ½ hour of complimentary assistance per inquiry. This allows time to determine if there are materials that will answer your question.
The non-lending library is available when the Museum is open, as long as there is not a private event occurring. However, the archives are not open when the Collections Manager is not on site. If you prefer to come in person, it is best to make an appointment by email.
Yes. Charges vary depending on the intended use. Please email the library for information about image reproduction.
On exhibit January 9 – March 1, 2020
Reception: Sunday, January 12, 1 pm – 3 pm
This exhibit featured the work of students enrolled in doll making classes at Montgomery College taught by Wendelin Daniels. Her students explore mixed media art and the human form through the design and creation of original art dolls.
The dolls show a wide range of personae — from portrait dolls of historical figures to fantasy dolls, and everything in between. Adorned with their own distinctive costumes, accessories, and props, each doll conveys a unique individual personality and story. Unlike dolls that are manufactured as children’s toys, art dolls are irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind figurative sculptures.
The exhibit also illustrated some of the procedures used in making art dolls so the audience can see “behind the seams.” Doll making is a painstaking process that requires many skills including sculpting, painting, designing, wig making, costuming, and sewing. But it all begins with an idea — a vision of who the artist wants to create. Students refine their original concepts through brainstorming and research. They develop drawings of the character they have in mind, which includes sketches of the face and proportional drawings of the body and then delve into sculpting, painting, and assembling the doll. Costumes are created after the doll’s body is completed. Careful editing takes place throughout the process to ensure the clear communication of ideas. Students often utilize found objects in implementing their design as they undergo creative problem-solving and repurposing of existing materials. In the end, students are rewarded and delighted with seeing their vision brought to life
In summer 2019 the Museum was awarded a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority to document the homes and businesses of all free blacks living in the Sandy Spring area between the late 1700s and the mid-20th century. During this two-year research project, the goal is to identify everyone who lived in and/or owned the properties and to learn how the towns grew and changed over time.
The success of this project depends upon community participation. If you would like to learn more about getting involved, please contact us.
Jim Dugan is well-known as the past-kiln manager at Baltimore Clayworks, where he worked with the wood, gas, and soda kilns. He is currently managing the wood kilns at Monocacy River Pottery near Frederick, MD, in collaboration with owner, Marsha Mason. He has taught classes on firing with Shino glazes.
Kevin Crowe is a potter and teacher with a focus on wood-fired stoneware. He provides short term residencies at his Tye River Pottery in Virginia and teaches workshops nationwide, including a course in throwing large forms at Hood College in Frederick, MD.
“I throw functional wood fired pots with English and Asian influences. Pots are fired in an anagama Wood fired kiln. Firings are seven days and produce around 2,000 pots. My work ranges from 4 inch tea bowls to 36 inch jars. They are objects for the rituals of daily life…making a quiet difference.”
John Jessiman has worked with ceramics for over 60 years, including as a graduate teaching assistant for Val Cushing at Alfred College of Ceramics. He built his first wood kiln in 1965, and taught ceramics for 33 years at SUNY-Cortland. His work has been included in over 100 International and National exhibitions. In 2002, he established the Cub Creek Foundation in Virginia to provide opportunities for intensive practice in ceramics through residencies and workshops.
“I am interested in the ceramic process as a means to manifest ideas, create form and to invest work with energy, mystery and intrigue.
In my own work and in my teaching, I have stressed the distinction between influence and imitation. I have always tried to take the many influences and distill them into a unique and personal statement.”
Joe Hicks maintains the appointment of Associate Professor of Fine Art at Marymount University in Arlington, VA. There, he developed and continues to grow the ceramics and 3D design program in the Department of Fine Arts, including the establishment of a ceramics minor in 2016. The ceramics program at Marymount focuses on developing skills in traditional production and sculptural techniques, exploring new methods associated with product design and industrial manufacturing techniques, and building community relationships.
Joe retains a serious commitment to producing high quality ceramic vessels and functional pottery, and has exclusively focused on experimenting with Shino glazes for more than a decade. He participates in exhibitions and craft shows on regional and national levels, leads workshops focusing on his research of carbon trap Shino glazes and firing techniques, and enjoys building constructive relationships throughout the artist community.
“I control the radiant energy of fire to transcendentally engage with, and decorate, the surfaces of my vessels. This interaction between atmosphere and material is unpredictable, and provides endless investigation in colliding randomness with structure, challenging my ideas of control.”
Loren Scherbak has had a love of clay since attending Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland. She earned her BFA in printmaking and ceramics in 1979 from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She has been making and showing ceramics for more than 45 years.
Loren explores the physical and historical characteristics of ceramics to communicate subtle visual, tactile, and emotive experiences of the natural world. She incorporates local flora, such as leaves, directly as tools for drawing, to create forms, textures, and patterns that evoke her Mid-Atlantic home.
Loren reduces the use of harmful chemicals by working with local clay and an energy-efficient wood-fueled kiln. Her palette uses readily–available iron oxide which reacts with the atmosphere in the kiln to create surfaces that are integrated into her forms. The atmosphere in the kiln consists of free–floating ash, flame movement through the kiln, unburned gases from the combustion of wood, and oxygen. The amount of available oxygen in the kiln at different stages in the firing affects the iron oxide and creates different colors and textures on the surfaces of her work. She is committed to minimizing her environmental footprint while still achieving her artistic goals.
November 29 – December 31, 2019
The annual Fine Arts & Crafts Holiday Gift Show features one-of-a-kind pieces including jewelry, quilts, pottery, and other fine arts and crafts – handmade by local artists. The Museum’s eleven resident artists offer their newest creations; ranging from glossy enamel work and mixed media collage to a variety of metal jewelry and unique had built ceramics.
In addition to the Museum’s many talented artists, local artists from the community have hand-crafted items made in a variety of media for sale. Every item on display for sale is unique and individually crafted by an artist who puts their heart and soul into making something special for everyone on your gift list.
on display September 5- November 24, 2019
An exhibit of creative people at work captured in action by professional photographer Larry Marc Levine. Mr. Levine is interested in watching people create different forms of art and finds it as fascinating as the creative process itself. For this exhibit, he interviewed and photographed a variety of talented individuals from different backgrounds with experience in different areas including a glass blower, a Native American pow wow dancer, painters, fabric artists, a Chinese zither player, a violin maker, and many others. Most of these creative spirits are from the local Montgomery County area. Levine believes that respect for the individual and appreciation for diversity of people, of ideas, of processes are all important aspects of his photography.
Courtesy: Maryland Humanities
on exhibit August 1 – September 1, 2019
Each year, Sandy Spring Museum and the Olney Art Association work together to offer visitors new views of the surrounding area. This year’s theme was “Moments in Time.” On display were the beautiful works of local artists in varied mediums including watercolor, acrylic, oil and pastel. An opening reception was held Thursday, August 8.
On display May 2 – July 28, opening reception May 2
“Our Life in Art” features artwork from the students of St. John’s Episcopal School. Students have been working since October 2018 on these pieces and are thrilled to have the community view their work. For most students this is their first formal exhibition.
Each class, kindergarten through eighth grade, created a collaborative artwork that focuses on subjects such as reflections of themselves, their community, the world around them, religion, spirituality, and personal values.
Upper School students, fifth through eighth grade, were selected as solo artists and designed large-scale drawings and paintings that concentrate on personal experiences and ideals that they value as important. Their artwork consists of many different media including colored pencil, pastel, acrylic paint, and graphite.
“Colored Folks” is an art exhibit of Normon Greene’s paintings that show people as they really are- a mixture of colors, sizes, and differences. People come in all colors, from very light skin to very dark skin and all shades in between. This exhibit will display a collection of paintings celebrating our differences and similarities and the many ways in which we complement each other.
Greene draws inspiration from a number of art historical periods including cubism and futurism. He admires the expression and forms of Marcel and Raymond Duchamp, Henry Moore, and Umberto Boccioni. In his art, he strives to honor the human form through reflections on people’s relationships with themselves, each other, and their environments.
On display February 7 – April 28, 2019
Artists Martha Spak and Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg explored the interwoven quality of our Sandy Spring community through both two- and three-dimensional interpretation, inviting visitors to join them in creation of the art.
The exhibit included abstract expressionist oil and acrylic paintings, colorful film panels, life-scale figurative sculptures, and photos from the local community. Additionally, community members and guests joined in with the artists in finishing a mural depicting Sandy Spring faces and places, forming the unifying center of this exhibit. Visitors were invited to add to the mural, in both color and content, to join in the dialogue of the communal form itself. This visual dialogue invited visitors to explore the artist that resides in each of us and illustrate their unique place in the Sandy Spring Community.
On display January 3 – February 3
Closing Reception on February 2
An exhibit of art by students from the Barnesville School of Arts and Sciences, which explores and takes inspiration from the local history of the Sandy Spring community.
In early November, Middle School students spent a “Collaborative Day” visiting the Museum to prepare for this exhibit. Fifth through eighth graders explored a variety of objects from the museum’s collection, ranging from newspaper publications and handwritten correspondence to clothing, daguerreotypes (an early form of photographs), and athletic gear. Items were selected to represent four notable people from Sandy Spring’s past: suffragist Mary Bentley Thomas, baseball player Jack Bentley, postmaster and bank founder Alban Gilpin Thomas, and free black, shingle maker Remus Q. Hill.
Students were taught guidelines for object handling and were able to study pieces chosen specifically for this exercise. Explanations were shared of each item’s importance in the life of its prior owner. Students were asked to select objects that interested them most to sketch, and then wrote detailed descriptive paragraphs about them. These objects were the inspiration for artwork students created for the exhibit that will be on display at the museum through February 3.
An exhibit by the Countryside Artisans of Maryland
On exhibit September 27 – November 18, 2018
In 1814, the Quakers built their meetinghouse in Sandy Spring village. A six-mile radius from the Sandy Spring Meeting House defined that rural community, as this was the farthest members of the Meeting could travel to and from the meetinghouse by horse or carriage in one day, arriving home before sunset.
Today, we can travel farther than six miles in one day and still be home by sunset, but the foundation of a rural community still lies within that day trip. The Countryside Artisans of Maryland, a group of artists that live in the countryside within a day’s drive, brings that rural community back to life. Wind your way through the exhibit and experience this rural way of life and community. On display will be art in ceramics, glass, enamel, stone, wool, oil paint, watercolor, pastel, and much more.
This exhibit featured the traditions of various cultural groups. It explored El Salvadorean dance, Cambodian foodways, Indian dance, Vietnamese folk stories, and Nigerian wedding traditions.
The photographs of artist, Bruce McNeil, in this exhibit documented the flow of water from the eponymous Sandy Spring to the tributaries that lead to the Anacostia. From Sandy Spring, where McNeil claims, “one can drink the water from the ground” to the Anacostia, which is sometimes referred to as “one of America’s most-polluted rivers,” the journey is meant to inspire a feeling of connection to the beauty of the rivers and a sense of spiritual transformation.
This exhibit featured handmade books filled with personal stories of migration. The books were created by students from Sherwood High School in collaboration with Beatriz del Olmo Fiddleman, the museum’s Community Artist in Residence.
This exhibit featured Islamic calligraphy, geometric paintings, and architectural photography by local residents, artists, and father-daughter team Ahmed and Ayah Belal. With Pen and Camera explored both the geometry and lyricism of Islamic calligraphy and architecture through the eyes of two Egyptian-American artists.
Works in wire by Floyd Roberts
This exhibit displayed a collection of multi-media sculptural works exploring issues of nature, race and artistic identity. Mr. Roberts, a native of the island of Trinidad, seeked to show the contributions and challenges of those of African and Caribbean descent to the artistic community. Mr. Roberts also expressed his concern for the environment and his appreciation of wildlife by creating pieces representing all corners of the animal kingdom, from the deep sea octopus to the wild horses of Assateague.
This exhibit was on display in Summer 2013. This was an exhibit of oil and water color paintings that referenced the spirit of Sandy Spring and its history. Her work addressed the ways one occupies space and the ways one assigns color and graphics to various objects. Bellairs also explored the Museum’s collection and created new pieces inspired by what she saw. Her favorite objects were documented visually and organized and regrouped by color and pattern in the community. She enabled viewers to see the items in the collection in a new light and imagine what life was like in past times.
An exhibit of traditional Korean quilting and textiles by In Sook Park
This special exhibit highlighted an art form that dates back to the 14th century. These quilted patchworks were historically used as wrapping cloths – covering sacred texts, food, or as clothing (for “wrapping” a loved one). More than 50 textiles were flown in from Korea. Sandy Spring Museum is the only location in the United States where this work was exhibited.
The Art of Stewardship Project is a private foundation established by the Mort Family to encourage stewardship of the earth and environmental awareness through the arts. A grass roots effort, The Art of Stewardship Project assists arts communities by organizing and providing forums for interaction and dialogue offering resources and opportunities to artists in their role as Stewards of our Earth.
Painter, Greg Mort’s collection consists of 8 large-scale giclée canvas mounted prints. Mort’s prints were on display at the Museum during the 2018 Fall Gala on October 25th.
Sculpture Park at Sandy Spring Museum
ARTINA 2018: Introspective is the third collaboration between Sandy Spring Museum and Washington Sculptors Group. Up to 20 sculptures were on view in this outdoor exhibit juried by Cecilia Wichmann. ARTINA 2018: Introspective asks the visitor to explore through sculpture our conscious thoughts, feelings, psychological processes, or other human acts of self-reflection as they relate to the landscape.
An audience immersive experience, this performance by members of Sinclair Dance explored the experiential concept of being free while living in the shadows of societal constraints and social constructions.
See highlights by clicking here.
Conflicts around the globe and the current political climate have put an acute focus on the plight of refugees. Six refugee artists from different areas of the world, including Iraq, Ethiopia, and Somalia, shared paintings and drawings that express the stories of their personal journeys.
Memories, dreams, and the history of their respective homelands were depicted, as well as the transitions and changes arising from their new lives in the USA. The participating artists included Fetun Getachew, Ahmad AlKarkhi, Alemzewd Alemu, Khalid Alaani, Rand Shihab and Abdurahman Abukam Mohamed.
Listen to NPR coverage of the exhibit.
More than forty sculptures in wood, bronze and stone representing the body of work by artist and retired Senator Karen S. Montgomery.
The turban has been the most powerful and obvious symbolism of the identity of a Sikh. The Sikh Project is a celebration of that identity. Historically, the turban was worn by royalty and the rich in South Asia. The turban, as an article of faith in Sikhism, is a public declaration of sovereignty and equality of all people.
Sikhs have been a vital part of the American fabric for over 125 years. The 38 new portraits captured by London photographers Amit and Naroop embody the beauty and diversity of the community and recognize the challenges and triumphs of what it means to be Sikh in America.
This exhibit was made possible through a partnership with The Sikh Coalition.
Sandra Atkinson, Light Switch Dance Theatre, founder and artistic director of Light Switch Dance Theatre created a site-specific modern dance piece on the history of Sandy Spring. Sandra described the project this way, “I conducted research at the museum’s archives for about six months and visited various sites in the area, like the Quaker Meeting, the Sandy Spring, and the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, just to get a feel for the place. It seems that most people know that the Quakers freed their slaves about 50 years prior to the Civil War but I wanted to learn more about how the lives of Quakers and African Americans intersected in the years after the War. One of the most interesting documents I found in the archives was a receipt from a land purchase. It was a transaction between two women – one white and one black.” So how does this become a dance? “The movement is generated through words and images from my research. You will not see a literal interpretation of local history but you will see gestures that evoke certain images. My hope is that the experience of watching the dancers will make people want to engage in conversation.” Sandy Spring Project: Frame of Mind was accompanied by an original score written by Wesley Meyer, who also performed live at the event. One section of the dance piece was performed by students in the conservatory teen program at the Sandy Spring Studio of Ballet Arts.
This memorial exhibit, curated by Nina Cordaro, was a tribute to her cousin Christina Koutsoukos. Christina was a budding young photographer when she was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 18. Her dreams and creative vision live on through her photos, which were on exhibit, alongside works of art by some of her talented friends. On several dates, photos were sold to raise money for a charity in Haiti that Christina supported. On exhibit November 30 – January 7, 2017.
Works by Dirk Holger, resident of Olney and native of Germany, who fell in love with the process and product of tapestry while it was in a nascent comeback led by Jean Lurçat, for whom Mr. Holger served as an assistant. While only several of Mr. Holger’s tapestries were on exhibit, you could see the artist’s pen drawings have a woven, hatched quality that would lend themselves to tapestry. Indeed the artist had that in mind when he created the first of his Blue Earth series.
In the spirit of the Annals Of Sandy Spring, in which travelers from our area in the old days returned from foreign lands with tales of their adventures, this photography recaptured that experience with a few pictures and stories from Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America (Africa and South America coming soon?) The photographer, Jim Thomas, is a lifelong resident of Sandy Spring, and a direct descendant of John Thomas, who, together with James Brooke, founded Sandy Spring in 1728.
This exhibit of new and existing work identified the artist’s interest in the importance of time as an event itself. During his residency at the museum, Mr. Winston worked with students of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. The artist’s intention was to create connections between people of different ethnicities and show how everyday personal objects are uniquely linked to the students’ cultures. Original prints by the students as well as collages by Mr. Harris that combine student work with his own were on exhibit. This exhibit was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
on exhibit October 4 – November 18, 2017
This exhibit by members of the Maryland Society of Portrait Painters featured works inspired by the people and places of Sandy Spring, past and present. Artists connected with the community of Sandy Spring using photos of contemporary local residents and images from the Sandy Spring Museum archives. See Sandy Spring’s people, landscape and history portrayed in artwork through a variety styles and media including oil, watercolor, clay and pastel.
on exhibit April 1 – July 29, 2017
An exhibit of new photo-collages by Gail Rebhan that are an unsentimental look at the cultural history of various locations in the Sandy Spring, Maryland area. Ms. Rebhan examined changes in land use as a result of shifting societal values, desires, government actions, and market forces and blending archival and contemporary photographs, along with historical newspaper articles, maps, advertisements, ephemera, and text into one final image for each site. Using layers of various opacities, she conveyed a sense that the past never goes away and continues to influence the present.
The image depicted here, “18035 Georgia Avenue, Olney, Maryland – 1917/2016,” explored the evolution of a family business that operated from 1885 to 2004. Beginning as Finneyfrock’s blacksmith shop, it evolved into Finneyfrock’s Power Equipment and Welding Company. Currently, Domino’s Pizza and Al Sospiro Trattoria operate at this location. This photo-collage blended a 1917 photograph with today’s scene. The artist’s writing, a handmade cake dish, 1956 receipt, 1999 advertisement, and a 1967 patent document provided evidence of the site’s changing uses. Click here for a review of the exhibit. This project was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
on exhibit June 29 through July 29.
A community-curated exhibit that brought together a collection of historic and contemporary images of the Friends Meeting House, as we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the construction of the Meeting House. This place of worship has captured the attention of artists, from professionals to amateurs. Images in this show included painting, photographs and models made by community members. This beautiful building has been enjoyed for its simple beauty and we honor it for its part in the life of our community.
on exhibit June 29 – September- 30, 2017
Wind your way through a sculpture park of original works of art situated on the museum’s rustic grounds. ARTINA 2017 created awareness among visitors of the need to reconnect with the land and preserve nature for future generations. It included installations that interpret historic land use.
Juried by Ursula Achternkamp, artists include c.l. bigelow, Elsabé Dixon, Mary Annella “Mimi” Frank, Eve Hennessa, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Jin Lee, Cat Lukens, Raina Martens, Grant McFarland, Maryanne Pollock, Marc Robarge, Casey Snyder, and Diane Szczepaniak.
ARTINA 2017 is the second collaboration between Sandy Spring Museum and Washington Sculptors Group. This project is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
On exhibit August 2 to September 2, 2017
For many years, Sandy Spring Museum and the Olney Art Association have worked together to offer visitors new views of the surrounding area. In this year’s theme, “Celebrating Our Neighborhoods,” each artist has strived to capture that special something in our neighborhood, loosely defined as the 6-mile radius stemming from the Sandy Spring Meeting House – that gives him or her cause to celebrate.
With an exhibit of over 40 original works of art by members of the Olney Art Association in multiple media, they celebrated the everyday life in these communities – Ashton, Brighton, Brinklow, Brookeville, Burtonsville, Cloverly, Ednor, Norbeck, Norwood, Oakdale, Olney, Sandy Spring, Spencerville, Sunshine, Roslyn, Tridelphia and Unity.
Photographer David Wonderling exposed both the beauty of nature and determined skill in this exhibit.
Wonderling invited his audience to study the juxtaposition between the graceful beauty of nature’s butterflies and the similar exquisite grace of a ballerina’s training, dedication, and determination.
Having photographed a variety of subjects, Wonderling felt these two were his most challenging projects. Neither butterflies nor ballerinas hold still for long!
The images of ballerinas featured in his exhibit were captured at the Studio of Ballet Arts in Sandy Spring and the butterflies at the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton.
Original wearable sculptures created by artists from around the country, responding to the theme of Inner Light, chosen because of Sandy Spring’s Quaker heritage. The sculptures illustrated the duality of lightness and darkness, positive and negative.
The Inner Light is your connection to something greater than yourself. In order to find your Inner Light, you must also have an understanding of darkness. The Inner Light opens the unity of all human beings to our consciousness. Quakers believe that the potential for good exists in everyone and that your Inner Light can shine through darkness. Everyone has an Inner Light but one must be willing to seek it.
Wellspring Visions was an exhibit of art works made by residents of Sandy Spring Friends House in a variety of media including paintings, prints, drawings, pastels, photography, ceramics and textiles.
Wellspring Artists was established at Friends House in 2011 for the purpose of inspiring and giving encouragement to those who create art and those who aspire to do so. Members are professional and avocational artists. The group maintains a small gallery space in Flower Alley of the Main Building. It is open to all residents whether or not they are currently practicing artists.
Friends House is a 50-year old retirement community located in Sandy Spring, Maryland. This non-profit organization was established in 1967 by Quakers to provide affordable housing and fulfilling retirement experiences for seniors. The multicultural community is based on values that include equality, simplicity and peace.
CHILD DEATHS IN THE SANDY SPRING FRIENDS MEETING GRAVEYARD FROM 1755-2015
Research conducted by Anthony A. Taylor and Lorne K. Garrettson
If you walk through the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting Graveyard and read the stones, you will notice certain trends in the information. There aren’t many children buried there, but of those who are, most died in the 1800s, with far fewer child deaths in the 18 and 20th centuries. Why the sudden increase in child deaths in the 1800s, and why did they suddenly seem to stop? We set out to solve this small mystery.
We used the electronic records of the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting graveyard. In the cases of the children, cause of death isn’t recorded. There are 104 records in total and 70 (67.3%) died under the age of five. In the 1700s, only 6 (2.8%) children were buried here. In the 1800s, 72 (69.2%) children were buried here. In the 1900s, 21 (20%) died and 14 died before the year 1925. In the 2000s until now, only one child has been buried in this graveyeard. We do not have good population figures for this period of time, so death rates of the general population cannot be calculated for comparison. We assume that the population was increasing steadily throughout the period of study.
Child deaths were few and far between in the 1700s, but then instances of them spiked and became more frequent in the 1800s. This pattern continued into the early 1900s, but after 1925, they suddenly drop off. This child death rate decline in the mid-20th century strongly suggests that improvements in prevention and care were major contributors, as these improvements in medicine were occurring at a rapid rate during that time.
To further this analysis about the causes of these deaths, we pulled more detailed information to scrutinize the child mortalities occurring between 1900 and 2005. We searched the Maryland State Archives for death certificates to determine the listed cause of death, but to no avail. The use of death certificates did begin in Maryland in the late 19th century; but these records were not widely used in the early years after their introduction. However we did learn the causes of death for some of the children through these records. Most of the rest were learned from other sources such as the Annals of Sandy Spring. Of the 14 who died during this period, 9 have a known cause of death. Of the nine with known causes, three, or one-third, were due to diphtheria. One third of a sample is quite a large amount when put into context, and beings as the diphtheria vaccine was starting to be circulated in 19201, around the same time the child deaths sharply declined, we inferred that the vaccine along with other advances in medical science was the cause for the sudden and drastic decrease in child mortality.
So the next time you feel like a stroll, take one through the Sandy Spring Graveyard. The gravestones have stories to tell.
1 Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 15th Edition. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA p 113
In 1753, James Brooke — Sandy Spring’s first permanent settler– carved out a parcel of land from the 392 acres gifted to him by his father-in-law, Richard Snowden. Brooke conveyed several acres adjacent to his home and tobacco plantation to the Society of Friends for a place to worship and bury their dead. For the next 64 years, church members most likely met in a barn on the property or in private residences pending the construction of the Sandy Spring Meeting House.
Two of the oldest paintings of the Meeting House were created by American impressionist painter Milton H. Bancroft (1866-1947) in the 1890s. Educated in Massachusetts and Philadelphia, Bancroft exhibited in major U.S. cities at the turn of the 20th centuries. One of his major commissions was a set of 10 murals for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.
What was the artist’s connection to Sandy Spring?
Like James Brooke, Bancroft lived on land in the Sandy Spring area originally owned by Snowden and passed down through his father-in-law, Joseph Townsend Moore, a member of the Sandy Spring Meeting. In 1893, Bancroft married Margaret C. Moore at the Norwood family home in Sandy Spring owned by her father. The couple met at Swarthmore College, a small Quaker school outside of Philadelphia, where Bancroft was teaching while Moore was a student.
After they wed, the couple lived in Paris for several years. Moore returned to Norwood while her husband supported the family by painting in Europe and in New York. Too old to enlist, he served with the YMCA in France during World War I. He visited the Western Front where he documented wartime destruction in a series of drawings. He also created recruitment posters for the U.S. Armed Forces.
Moore inherited Norwood in 1920, where Bancroft retired after the war and continued to paint until his death in 1947. He is buried in the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House Cemetery.
Bancroft’s trove of paintings housed at Norwood were sold with his estate in 1978 and donated to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Two of his paintings of the Meeting House belong to the Sandy Spring Friends and will hang in their newly renovated Community House.
Contributed by Audrey Partington
Chronicles of Sandy Spring Meeting and Environs, Martha C. Nesbitt and Mary Reading Miller
Find a Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7660923
Thursday, February 22
Hometown Habitat is a 90-minute environmental, education documentary focused on showing how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems.
Featured is entomologist, Doug Tallamy, whose research, books and lectures on the misuse of non-native plants in landscaping sound the alarm about habitat and species loss. Tallamy provides the narrative thread throughout Hometown Habitat.
The message: each individual has the power to conserve resources, restore habitat for wildlife and bring beauty to their patch of earth.
Thursday, February 8
Filmmaker Thomas Balmès criss-crosses the globe to observe and record the first two years in the lives of four infants and their families.
Ponijao is the youngest of nine children and lives in a village in Namibia.
Bayarjargal’s family lives in Mongolia.
Hattie is a San Francisco couple’s first child.
Mari is the first child of a couple living in Tokyo.
Babies trailer on YouTube
Thursday, January 25
Aishol-pan, a 13-year-old girl, trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries.
While there are many old Kazakh eagle hunters who vehemently reject the idea of any female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father, Nurgaiv, believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she’s determined.
The Eagle Huntress Trailer on YouTube
Want to take a tour of Sandy Spring without getting in your car? Here is a virtual tour that you can enjoy from your computer. You can also drive to each location and listen to the audio on your smart phone.
This project was done by Megan Glixon.
Spend a Sunday strolling through the city and land at one of the most prominent historic clubs: The Cosmos Club. Here you’ll be treated to a champagne Brunch at The Cosmos Club. The Cosmos Club, incorporated in Washington, D.C. in 1878, is a private social club for women and men distinguished in science, literature, the arts or public service housed in the elegant Townsend mansion constructed in 1873. Members come from a wide variety of professions; a common theme is a relation with scholarship, creative genius, or intellectual distinction. The Club offers an impressive array of intellectual and cultural programs for every member interest. The Club’s collection of 9,500 volumes and nearly 140 periodicals is housed in exquisite rooms that offer a quiet haven for reading and contemplating.
Champagne Sunday Brunch and Tour of the Cosmos Club
Explore the opulent and historic building and appointments as guests of the club for an individualized tour led by docent Susan Fifer Canby. Following the tour you’ll be treated to an inspired Champagne brunch with Susan Fifer Canby, Tom Canby and Barbara Gibian.
For up to 4 people.
Schedule this prize for a mutually convenient Sunday in October, November or December.
Enjoy the grandeur of seeing a show or an original program at The Kennedy Center. Tickets for two can be used for any of their season’s events.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (formally called the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts, and commonly referred to as the Kennedy Center) is a performing arts center located on the Potomac River, adjacent to the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The Center, which opened September 8, 1971, is a multi-dimensional facility, and as memorial to John F. Kennedy and a cultural center, it produces a wide array of performances encompassing the genres of theater, dance, ballet, and orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, and folk music, offers multi-media performances for adults and children, and is a nexus of arts education.
Challenge yourself with 4 individual performance sessions with trainer Todd Wilson of HolisticA Fitness. Coach Wilson specifically incorporates a three-tier approach to training: combining cross-fit type strength and conditioning with a personalized nutrition program bolstered by mindfulness training and practice. This results-oriented technique has given HolisticA’s athletes an edge over others, and is the training program utilized by the Sherwood High School Wrestling Team, as well as used by other groups and athletes.
To solidify your commitment to your bodily health, use this one month voucher to Anytime Fitness to support the techniques and training program designed for you by Coach Wilson.
This custom designed open “reverse living” home has an ample well-appointed kitchen, dining, and living room. It features a large beautiful wooden deck and screened dining porch. The entire perimeter displays views of the southeast, facing toward Quonnie Pond and the Atlantic Ocean. It is in the tiny gem of a town called Weekapaug.
There are two bedrooms and two baths on the second floor connected with an outdoor balcony. Additionally, there are two bedrooms, two baths, a den, a laundry room, and a simple kitchenette on the ground floor. There is a sunny hot/cold outdoor shower and laundry line to dry beach towels in the sun.
Spread out on the large flat lawn space for whatever yard game you prefer to bring – Can Jam, or Spike Ball, Corn Hole or Croquet.
There is a beach box at Fenway Beach that guests can utilize.
The home is within walking and biking distance to Fenway Beach or the Inn Beach, Yacht Club, Tennis Club, and the Weekapaug Inn (which also houses a golf course and restaurant!)
In total, this house has four individual bedrooms, upstairs and downstairs kitchens, a family room, four bathrooms, and an elevator. All of the views are fantastic! Available to the winner any months except July and August.
Friday, Oct. 6 BUY TICKETS HERE
MANHATTAN SHORT is not a touring Festival; rather, it is an instantaneous celebration that occurs simultaneously across the globe, bringing great films to great venues, like the Sandy Spring Museum, and allowing the audiences to select their favorites.
If the Film Festival experience truly is about getting great works in front of as many eyes as possible, MANHATTAN SHORT offers the ultimate platform — one that sees its films screened in Sydney, Mumbai, Moscow, Vienna, Cape Town to cinemas in all fifty states of the United States and beyond.
Finalists will be part of the MANHATTTAN SHORT Oscar Qualifying Run. This means all selected films will screen for a full week at a cinema in the county of Los Angeles. This run qualifies every film selected in MANHATTAN SHORT for the Oscars.
Many past Finalists from MANHATTAN SHORT have been nominated for an Oscar (SHOK and Bear Story from 2015, to name just two).
Our audiences and cinemas love nothing more than seeing a film they voted for at MANHATTAN SHORT at the Oscars.
To see event in our online calendar and buy tickets Click Here
Sept 5, 2017:
Record Number of Entries:
The 10 MANHATTAN SHORT finalists hail from nine countries with films from Syria, Latvia and Georgia representing their respective countries for the first time in this event. Two short films hail from Spain, the only country with multiple Final 10 selections.
These Final 10 short films represent the best short films among a record 1615 submissions from 75 countries received by MANHATTAN SHORT for 2017, testimony to the enduring vibrancy and creativity of short films. This year’s Final 10 represent an extraordinary range of film genres with comedy, drama, horror, sci-fi, animation and martial arts short films all part of the MANHATTAN SHORT program.
Click on films to see interviews with directors, film stills and synopsis of films.
The Final 10 are:
Do No Harm (New Zealand)
Fickle Bickle (USA)
Hope Dies Last (United Kingdom)
The Perfect Day (Spain)
Just Go! (Latvia)
Mare Nostrum (Syria)
Viola, Franca (Italy)
In a Nutshell (Netherlands)
8 Minutes (Georgia)
Click Here and view the Trailer
For a Complete list of venues hosting MANHATTAN SHORT click here:
“It’s the Public that Creates Stars”
MANHATTAN SHORT began in 1998, when Mason screened 16 short films onto a screen mounted to the side of a truck on Mulberry Street, Little Italy New York City. A year later the Festival moved uptown to Union Square Park in New York City. MANHATTAN SHORT transformed into a worldwide phenomenon, becoming the only film festival on the planet that unfolds, simultaneously, in more than 250 cinemas on six continents, bringing over 100,000 film-lovers in all corners of the globe together for one week, via the next generation of filmmakers.
Click here to read how it all began.
How often do you drive through Sandy Spring on Route 108 and stop to think about the area and how it came into existence? If you don’t take time to slow down and enjoy your surroundings, this exhibit was created for you, with more than 40 pieces of artwork in various media created by the artists of the Olney Art Association (OAA), each one telling its own unique story about the community as interpreted by our very talented neighbors.
The Sandy Spring Museum is a non-profit institution that operates without dedicated funding from federal, state or county agencies. Maintaining the archives is costly. Fees help pay for staff, archival supplies, and maintaining proper environmental conditions to preserve the collection.
Museum members are permitted to use the archives free of charge, whether in person or submitting questions via email.
Non-members who come in-person are charged a daily fee of $10.
Non-members who submit written questions are charged an hourly fee of $25, after receiving the ½ hour of complementary research.
Research assistance is available at the Sandy Spring Museum. You can either visit the archives and have records pulled to search yourself, or you can submit a question via email to have it answered for you.
Yes, without a flash. Such images are for private use only.
Yes. The Museum charges $.25 per scan or copy for non-photograph items.
You can expect to receive an estimate of the time to complete the question within two weeks of your initial email. The estimate will include the types of materials available, the number of hours needed, and the fee. You will receive your information as soon as possible after agreeing to make the contribution.
The collection includes papers, photographs, and objects documenting over 200 years of local history. Highlights include:
The original minutes of many of Sandy Spring’s early social and agricultural clubs and the six volumes of the Annals of Sandy Spring, begun by Quakers in 1863, chronicling a century of community history, the longest such record in the nation.
Everyone has objects, heirlooms, or other personal items that hold special meaning about their origins, identity, or history. On display in this exhibit were objects, artwork, and artifacts of significance that people brought with them to the U.S. to maintain important cultural traditions. We examined the many reasons why people immigrate and migrate, the things they bring with them, and the things they leave behind.
Visitors experienced an unexpected encounter with art and nature, set on the Museum’s rustic grounds and throughout the adjacent woods, as 11 members of the Washington Sculptors Group showcased site-specific and time-based sculptures. Renowned art historian Martine Van Kampen of the Netherlands served as the exhibition’s juror. Several of these sculptures were constructed with community participation. The 11 artists who Van Kampen selected were Allan Arp, c.l. bigelow, Jeff Chyatte, Eve Hennessa, Jin Lee, Darcy Meeker, Vanessa Niederstrasser, Salvatore Pirrone, Mike Shaffer, Diane Szczepaniak, and Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin.
Works of art by Maryland Colorists created in Sandy Spring of local scenery, residents, and artifacts in the museum’s collection. The artists presented a vision of continuously pursuing the expression of light’s myriad effects and how it illuminates the world around us. From landscapes and figurative works painted around Sandy Spring to still life paintings of artifacts in the Museum’s collections and plein-air portraiture of Sandy-Springers, viewers connected with the vibrancy that is Sandy Spring. Maryland Colorists: Michele del Pilar, Melissa Gryder, Abigail McBride, Nancy McCarra, Sarah Wardell, and Andree Tullier.