On the first of April 2016, the Historic Shepherdstown Commission (http://historicshepherdstown.com/) hosted its annual museum opening for their members. Something was different about this particular museum opening, however. At the opening we unveiled our new exhibit, Busy Sundays. This exhibit was the product of over two years of planning and laboring over interviews, newspaper articles, and tracking down people to participate. The exhibit can be viewed at the Entler Hotel located at 129 E. German Street in Shepherdstown, WV. The museum is regularly open Saturdays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Private tours are available upon appointment.
The reason behind the exhibit’s creation was from a lack of information and display on the African-American community in the Shepherdstown museum. The idea of adding a new exhibit started with the donation of a baseball uniform from a local team, the Shepherdstown Red Sox. The Red Sox were a baseball team of local African-American townspeople from the 1930s up to 1970. They played ball on Sunday afternoons, and we learned that those same people, plus others, were also a part of a choir group, the Brothers of Harmony. This group would travel around to religious organizations and perform choir concerts, and this with everything else, created busy Sundays.
The April 1st event was for Historic Shepherdstown Commission members and was for them to get together and see the museum before its reopening. The president of our commission stood in the new exhibit and greeted everyone who came up to see the exhibit. She talked to each of them telling about the exhibit, the history, and the background of the artifacts on display. Two people helped us with the mechanics of the construction of the exhibit, Rob McDonald and Angie Faulkner. Rob was instrumental in our ability to create the physical exhibit. Rob built a kiosk for a spinning information booth displaying three individuals who were interviewed for the exhibit. He also had a huge part in the development of the large display box we used for that exhibit. Angie put our ideas and thoughts into the world of graphic design and imagery. All of our graphics for that exhibit were designed and developed by Angie for use in the museum. The two of them together helped us to make a fantastic new exhibit that was up to par with professional exhibits.
Saturday April 2, 2016 was the moment of truth for the new exhibit. On this day, the Historic Shepherdstown Commission and Museum had an open house for the public. This open house had some of the members from the Shepherdstown Red Sox and the Brothers of Harmony come. These members were the ones who made the exhibit go from a thought to an actuality, through interviews and donations of artifacts for the exhibit. These men and their families stuck around for the majority of the day, talking and catching up with one another. Later in the day a newspaper editor came up to the men and interviewed them about the exhibit and its opening. These men were extremely pleased with the outcome of the exhibit. They made this point when talking to the newspaper editor. The editor stayed for a while and then left with a story to tell. The exhibit open house, shortly after this, came to an end around 5 p.m. and the ball players and choir members were there the whole time. They are now publicly in the story of the oldest town in West Virginia.
To learn more about this exhibit and the Shepherdstown Red Sox, visit http://historicshepherdstown.com/portfolio-item/red-sox-uniform/. The exhibit can be viewed at the Entler Hotel located at 129 E. German Street in Shepherdstown, WV. The museum is regularly open Saturdays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Private tours are available upon appointment. Call 304-876-9010 for more information.
This project was made possible through the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program – funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service and Volunteer WV.