Mary Frances Berry leads first 2019 Roundtable   

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Mary Frances Berry leads first 2019 Roundtable  

Noted activist for civil rights, gender equality and social justice, Mary Frances Berry, kicks off the first 2019 Victoria Woodhull: Phoenix Rising Roundtables on Monday, Jan. 28.

Three roundtables next year focus on women advocates, with focus on humanitarian advocacy in April and child advocacy in September.

January’s program is offered in collaboration with Denison University. The location of the roundtable on the college campus will be forthcoming.

The three-year series began in 2018 with roundtables focusing on the Voices of Women. Attendance was high at all three, paving the way for successful 2019 events. The Robbins Hunter Museum sponsors these events in partnership with Denison University.

Berry’s work as an activist is commendable. Serving as Chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Berry demanded equal rights and liberties for all Americans during four Presidential administrations. A pathbreaker, she also became the first woman to head a major research university, serving at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Berry also served as the principal education official in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, working to improve access and quality education in our schools.

In 2013, she was one of the recipients of the Nelson Mandela award from the South African Government for her work in organizing the Free South Africa Movement (FSAM) which helped to end apartheid. Berry was selected to speak by the South African Government representing FSAM at the national celebration of the life legacy and values of Mandela at the Washington National Cathedral in December, 2013.

As Berry continues her research, writing and activism, she insists that each generation has the responsibility to make a dent in the wall of injustice.

Berry exemplifies the leadership of early activist Victoria Woodhull, whose life passions were driven by the unshakeable desire to bring about equality for all. Her remarkable life and resulting consequences became the basis for the three-year series of roundtables designed to further discussions about causes and reforms that she thought important and that continue to be relevant today.

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Gibson honored as 2018 Woman of Achievement Recipient

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Gibson honored as 2018 Woman of Achievement Recipient

Each year since its inception in 2011, Robbins Hunter Museum has recognized a local woman for achievement in her field of endeavor. For 2018, Florence R. Gibson, “Flo”, has been named the recipient of The Victoria Woodhull Woman of Achievement award.

Flo will be honored at a luncheon and ceremony on February 14, 2019, at the museum. A brick with her name, her area of achievement, and the year of presentation will be installed in the clock tower walkway at the museum.

Locally, Flo is widely known for her gardening expertise, but it is her care for women at risk that places her in a position of esteem. In the many years she tended at least 16 gardens scattered on her Alexandria, Ohio, farm, her gardening efforts often turned into the regular and anticipated Flo’s Garden Party, a fund raiser to support Action Ohio Coalition for Battered Women and the local Center for New Beginnings, a battered women’s shelter in Newark, which she founded.

It is the founding and operation of Center for New Beginnings that, in particular, earns our respect and admiration for her accomplishments. As reported in the Newark Advocate in 2015, Flo realized that Licking County needed to do more to help women in need of protection.

“So she teamed up with a group of women and a few attorneys to start a shelter for women affected by domestic violence. They didn’t have any money, and at one point considered renting out a storefront downtown and setting up some cots. Eventually, the team was able to get a grant to open a formal shelter and it took off from there,” the article reported.

“Flo’s work with the Center for New Beginnings and Action Ohio certainly has made a huge impact on the lives of so many women and their families in Licking County and beyond,” says Ann Lowder, director of the Robbins Hunter Museum.

           

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This wonderful season of madness

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This wonderful season of madness

To visitors during the holiday season, it may seem like there is a decorated Christmas tree in every corner of the house museum. Meticulously decorated trees everywhere! But to the curators, each tree is representative and essential to Robbins Hunter Museum theory, practice and mission. In other words, there is method behind the “Christmas tree madness” at RHM.

The mission of the holidays here is to interpret the life and times of the occupants of the house, says Dr. Rebecca Dungan, former program director and board member who continues to love doing Christmas at the museum.

Two mission-driven trees in particular, the 1950s tree in the Octagon Room and the 1870s tree in the Parlor stay essentially the same each year, Dungan says. “They are purposefully designed to further our tour goal for visitors to ‘step into the past to experience the way a family lived.”

The Octagon Room tree interprets the life and times of Robbins Hunter after the war and is also a tree for learning the effects of World War II on the American Christmas tree. The Parlor Room tree is an interpretation of the way families celebrated Christmas in the 1870s and offers an opportunity to gain insights into the custom of the times, she added.

“Putting up these trees each year is the equivalent of our practice of putting netting over the mirrors, slipcovers on the furniture, and a croquet set in the ladies parlor in the summer months,” she said.

Then there are trees that are exhibits and they will change over time. The Suffragette tree and the World War I tree this year are designed to inform and, in these cases, honor. The Suffragette Tree that sits in the Ladies’ Parlor,  speaks to one of the interpretive themes of the parlor, that “women made a difference.” The WWI tree commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of the war and the sacrifices of Licking Countians. On the tree are the names of the 82 Licking County men who died from disease or on the battle field, she said. A smaller tree honors the Denison men who did not return. “These trees offer a moving participatory experience for our visitors,” Dungan said.

Another tree with programming potential is the dried botanical tree. “This tree is unique in that we are just beginning to recognize its potential to further our mission by bringing the gardens into the house,” she said. Programming is possible, for example, when we explore how to properly dry flowers and choose which varieties are best for this purpose. And best of all, she says, when we experience how to connect the interior and exterior by using the museum’s garden botanicals on this tree, thus also placing it in the category of exhibit trees.

The Beaded Styrofoam Ornament tree is also an exhibit, representing America’s fascination with the elegance and perceived sophistication and glamor of the 1960s. “Housewives created millions of these ornaments to bring elegance into their homes, Dungan said. “Visitors enjoy and identify with this tree,” she added.

All aspects of house decoration during the holiday season is mission and goal driven, Dungan maintains, and a result of careful consideration of how best to immerse visitors in the tour experience.

“The intense research and the hours spent to insure the accuracy and beauty of these trees are a source of pride, a notable example of best practice and the careful work of interested volunteers.”

Yes, this wonderful madness is real!

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A souvenir for your collection

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A souvenir for your collection

We are excited to offer for the first time, a keepsake ornament that depicts the Avery-Downer House, home to Robbins Hunter Museum. As captured by Gary Chisolm in the photo to the left, it is crafted in brass and features the house with its fine details etched in the metal. It is framed with a Greek key motif representing the iron fence fronting the Jill Griesse Historic Garden. 

Hand crafted in heart of America, the house is the first in a collection celebrating the museums extraordinary architectural features. Proceeds from sales of the ornament benefit the programs at the Robbins Hunter Museum.

The ornament comes packaged with a brief history of the house. These make an excellent corporate gift or addition to your personal collection of Granville related memorabilia. They are offered for sale in Just Write, adjacent to the museum. Or click HERE to purchase online.

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Don't miss this!

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Don't miss this!

If you’ve ever been awed by the four massive columns supporting the roof over the front porch of the 1842 Avery Downer House, an exhibit at The Works in Newark might interest you.

For there, as part of a celebration of Licking County’s rich architectural history, a piece of one of the original columns is on display.

“Purpose. Pride. Style, Our Living Art,” Blueprints from Licking County’s Architectural History, runs now through the end of the year in the main gallery at The Works in downtown Newark, Ohio. For more information about visiting the exhibit, click HERE.

The exhibition features nine celebrated local architects and their incredible vision and talents that gifted the county with a sense of purpose, pride, and style. The column piece is part of the rare architecture artifacts on display.

The remnant of the original Greek Revival column is fashioned from a single walnut tree. When discovered, it retained the original gray paint that led to the repainting of the house to what is believed to be its original color, says Ann Lowder, director of the Robbins Hunter Museum.

“Another section is in the study collection at the School of Classical Architecture at Notre Dame University,” she added.

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From the Director

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From the Director

An Investment in the Village of Granville

 Because of our generous friends and donors like you, the Robbins Hunter Museum has been able to build a welcoming, entertaining, and educational experience for visitors and residents to the Village of Granville. 

·       “Phoenix Rising,” a series of three exciting round tables presented in partnership with Denison University, was the highlight of the 2018 season.  Beginning in February, experts from around the nation gathered for civil discourse regarding issues that Victoria Woodhull dared to voice in the 19th century and that continue to be relevant today.

·       Looking ahead, discussions will build on the events of 2018 and broaden into national level speakers, reaching a crescendo in 2020.  Your support will ensure lively discussion with well-known experts, beginning with Mary Frances Berry on January 28, 2019.

·       Victoria Woodhull, Continue the Legacy: Join the Conversation,  promotes the Phoenix Rising roundtables as well as women’s disenfranchisement  and features a replica dress and famous quotations by and about Woodhull.

·       Our current exhibit, “Ordinary & Extraordinary,” would have raised eyebrows in earlier times as it features “unmentionables,” underwear worn by 19th century Granville ladies.  The exhibit ties in beautifully with the new Woodhull exhibit by illustrating some of the disadvantages women faced in their expected daily wardrobe. Curated by Elizabeth Miller, Parsons School of Design, the well-researched exhibit includes letters and other primary documents.  It will remain through December, 2019.

·       A new website www.woodhullandclaflin.org features primary resources for students and scholars to learn first hand the facts of Woodhull’s life.

·       Visitors refresh and reflect in the Jill Griesse Historic Garden, now an official American Daffodil Society display garden.  Coming on April 27:  Granville Garden Tour featuring Spring gardens.

As we look ahead to our 38th season, we anticipate an exciting future that will include programs for school children as well as their parents and grandparents.  With your help, the Robbins Hunter Museum and  Jill Griesse Historic Garden will continue to be a vibrant part of the Heart of the Village. 

Stop in to see us Wednesday-Saturday from 1-4PM.  We will be open through December 28.

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Kappa Sig member returns to Avery-Downer House

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Kappa Sig member returns to Avery-Downer House

We always say if the walls could talk, what stories they would tell. 

Whispers of the past slip out when walls are opened up to reveal a glass, a bottle, a wadded  up newspaper, or a scrap of fabric. Joined with artifacts --- letters, diaries, photographs --- these clues stitch together stories and stories make history.

And then sometimes, someone comes along to speak first hand and give testament to that history.

A few weeks ago, 88-year-old Irvin Harlamert and his wife, Barbara, walked through the front door of the Avery-Downer House, nearly 70 years after Irvin lived there as a fraternity brother when the house was owned by Denison University’s Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

Top photo: Don Bren, Zeke Ellis and Irvin Harlamert pose in their athletic sweaters with their graduation year, 1952. Bottom photo: Harlamert, Zeke and Don. --- photo courtesy of Harlamert

Top photo: Don Bren, Zeke Ellis and Irvin Harlamert pose in their athletic sweaters with their graduation year, 1952. Bottom photo: Harlamert, Zeke and Don. --- photo courtesy of Harlamert

These were the years when fraternities owned houses in town, scattered here and there. “Students were living all over the Village, in fraternity houses and in rented rooms,” Harlamert said. “I lived in a room in a house on Elm and Pearl for a while before moving into the fraternity house.”

Kappa Sigma bought the house from Phi Gamma Delta, another Denison fraternity in 1930, for $6,000. The Phi Gammas owned the house for 27 years. The Kappa Sigs were proud of the house and their tenure there. “We were aware of the history of the house and tried to maintain it responsibly,” he said, “but I’m certainly more aware now.”  They were also proud of their country. Harlamert was among those fraternity members to enlist in the military when Korean War broke out. He served in a fighter squadron for the Navy for five years.

“When the fraternity bought the house, they hired an interior decorator to bring the furnishings up to the latest style.  They hired an architect to construct a “Chapter Room” below grade and enlarged the dining room over that area to make what we call the Long Room,” said Ann Lowder, director. This room became the fraternity’s dining room.

An exhibit of the Kappa Sig years at RHM shows photographs of fraternity members scrubbing and painting to maintain the house under their care. Shortly after renovations were completed, the house was voted the most beautiful fraternity house in America and published in the national fraternal magazine in the 1930’s.

Harlamert also carved out fond personal memories of his time at the Kappa Sigma House and they spilled out to Lowder, who encountered Irvin and his wife and took them on a tour. “The gift shop room was our dorm and we all slept there every night,” he said as they peered into the room originally built as a woodshed. Long ago completely restored, the space has been home to several shops and  is currently leased to the Just Write stationery shop.

“There could be 30 of us at any one time sleeping in bunk beds,” he said.  “We also had rooms in the house with our clothes and desk and I shared a room upstairs with three other guys.”

“The kitchen was ancient,” he remembers. “But Mrs. Philbrook managed to do all the cooking, three meals a day and all the shopping for the 45 – 50 of us who ate there in the dining room.”

Kappa Sigma owned the house until 1956 when Denison called all fraternities to campus. The Kappa Sigs and other fraternities built houses to create fraternity row. 

During the time Harlamert lived in the Avery- Downer House as a fraternity brother, the house sported a second floor porch. “Some of us would sleep out there in all sorts of weather, rain, snow, noise,” he said. “We didn’t care. It was fun.”

A large Christmas wreath mounted on what was once the second story porch was the brainchild of Harlamert to send holiday greetings to the community. His wife, Barbara, later depicted it in a painting. --- photo courtesy of Harlamert

A large Christmas wreath mounted on what was once the second story porch was the brainchild of Harlamert to send holiday greetings to the community. His wife, Barbara, later depicted it in a painting. --- photo courtesy of Harlamert

One day, Irvin decided to reach out to the community from that porch. He oversaw the construction and installation of a two-story Christmas wreath, which his wife, an oil on canvas artist, later depicted. “I’d like to see the museum do that wreath again,” he said wistfully. Irvin met his wife, Barbara, also a Denison graduate, at the house when she was dating a fellow fraternity brother. They didn’t date then, he said, but they later reunited and married just six years ago.           

While the porch brought pleasure to the Kappa Sigs, historical record shows the porch was not original to the house, but added later, around 1870.  It was removed about 20 years ago, Lowder said, as its condition deteriorated.           

After his graduation from Denison in 1952 and law school at Ohio State in 1955, Irvin spent a career in law as a judge for the Oakwood Municipal Court in Dayton He was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to serve as bar examiner to test the legal knowledge of incoming law school graduates. He also served as Special Council to the Ohio Attorney General.  He founded a real estate investment business in 1959 with 30 partners that he continues to oversee today.           

As he strolled around the house, he saw the beauty and permanence of its presence. “We took reasonably good care of it in our days, but our fraternity abused the house some I suppose.” Time has brought perspective though, and appreciation.  Irvin says he’ll be back.

 

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Volunteers on the move

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Volunteers on the move

A group of RHM volunteers traveled together to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster on June 19 and in return, those at the DACO visited our museum on July 9 to both learn about each other’s passions and to foster mutual relations.  Each year the RHM board sponsors a trip for volunteers, including lunch, said Ann Lowder, director. In the recent past, volunteers have toured Zoar village, Dawes Arboretum and enjoyed tea at the Kelton House in Columbus.  “It’s a great way to show our appreciation for all that they give and to inspire them with the importance of a well-versed docent,” she added.  Shown here from left, Dorothy Garrett, Sharon Bafford, Suzanne Kennedy, Teri Niedermeyer, Rebecca Dungan, Tracey Fleitz, Director Ann Lowder, and Cheryl Moore.

A group of RHM volunteers traveled together to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster on June 19 and in return, those at the DACO visited our museum on July 9 to both learn about each other’s passions and to foster mutual relations.

Each year the RHM board sponsors a trip for volunteers, including lunch, said Ann Lowder, director. In the recent past, volunteers have toured Zoar village, Dawes Arboretum and enjoyed tea at the Kelton House in Columbus.

“It’s a great way to show our appreciation for all that they give and to inspire them with the importance of a well-versed docent,” she added.

Shown here from left, Dorothy Garrett, Sharon Bafford, Suzanne Kennedy, Teri Niedermeyer, Rebecca Dungan, Tracey Fleitz, Director Ann Lowder, and Cheryl Moore.

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Miller joins RHM Board

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Miller joins RHM Board

miller photo.JPG

The Robbins Hunter Museum welcomes long time Granville resident, Leigh Ann Miller, to its Board of Trustees. Miller is Director of Development at The Dawes Arboretum in Newark.

Leigh Ann values the presence of the museum in the community and wants to assist in its promotion. “Robbins Hunter is an example of beautiful architecture and its history is significant,” she said. “Museums like this add value to a community and enrich the lives of those who visit.”

Miller currently is a member of the Communications Committee for Granville Schools, a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter, an alternative for the Licking County Senior Levy, and a member of Newark Rotary.

She is married to Eric Miller and has two sons, Kevin and Ryan.

 

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Pennies add up for RHM

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Pennies add up for RHM

Pennies turn into dollars and dollars turn into financial support for the Robbins Hunter Museum. That’s the goal for the collaboration between RHM and its tenant, Just WRITE, a stationery store committed to preserving the art of correspondence.

The store is located in the room attached to the west side of the Avery-Downer House, a space well known historically as the woodshed, a fraternity dormitory, an antique shop, and then eventually a fully renovated retail space.

The collaborative program began in April and to date, $134.25 has been earned in the Round Up partnership. The program is simple. Make a purchase and when asked if you would like to round up your purchase to the next dollar to benefit the museum, say “YES!” The round up donation goes directly to the Robbins Hunter Museum, says Stefanie Lauvray, owner.

“The museum has been an amazing advocate of the retail store by hosting calligraphy classes once a month in the long room of the museum for Just WRITE customers to attend,” she said. “Coming soon, cursive classes for third and fourth graders.”

JW Girl Boss.JPG

In addition to the partnership to revive letter writing, Lauvray notes that Just WRITE features a daffodil collection inspired by local artist Jess Dandurand in honor of the museum's gardens and also carries the Original Girl Boss collection highlighting Victoria Woodhull.  A percentage of the proceeds from both of these collections are also donated to the museum.

“Those pennies really do add up,” says Ann Lowder, director. “Just WRITE is bringing an air of excitement to the museum.”

 

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From the Director...

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From the Director...

“….to tell the stories of the people who lived here.”  The mission statement of the Robbins Hunter Museum, adopted five years ago, continues to inspire and enlighten what we do here.  We knew that in 1860, Sylvester Spelman lived here with his middle-aged daughter Charlotte who had been left deaf from a childhood illness. It seemed to us like a rather quiet house with just two adults in residence. A simple trip to the census records for 1860 revealed a much different scenario.  Spelman had married Mary after the death of his first wife. 

Another big surprise was that Reverend Burton, his wife Sarah, and their four children were boarders in the home.  Also we learned that Adeline, a domestic helper, aged 22, from Wales and her three-year-old child, Olive, were residing in the big house on East Broadway. So now we know that these rooms were home to eleven people ranging in age from three years to mid-sixties. That changed how we thought about the way people lived here.  We had confirmation of the help that contributed to the running of the house.

This summer, if you come for a visit, you will see evidence of Adeline’s work.  In the main parlor, one of the gold leaf mirrors is covered in netting to prevent fly specks from attacking the gold leaf. Muslin covers one of the blue velvet loveseats.  Walking into Charlotte’s bedroom, you’ll see a stack of bed linens and nightgowns, all freshly laundered, ironed, and ready to be put away.  A copper bath tub allows docents to interpret the bathing ritual in a day when water had to be pumped from the well, heated on the wood stove, carried to the bathing area, and then the domestic would have helped rinse the bather.

Being able to verify that the Spelmans actually did have help, that the help lived in the house, where they came from and how old they were brings factual information to help interpret the work of running a large home in the Village of Granville in the mid-nineteenth century.

Plan a visit soon to see for yourself how the tour interpretation continues to grow and be enriched by new information.  We are open all summer, Wednesday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m.  Admission is free.

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Chasing Daffodils

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Chasing Daffodils

The weekend of April 14 and 15 in Granville will be a weekend to celebrate the cheerful harbinger of spring, the Daffodil flower.  Saturday the 14th is Garden Day at Robbins Hunter Museum, coinciding with the annual Daffodil Show at Bryn Du Mansion that weekend and the day’s schedule is full.

Notable to RHM’s Garden Day is the American Daffodil Society’s (ADS) recognition and dedication of the Jill Harms Griesse Historic Garden at 12 noon. Garden Day coincides with the annual Granville Garden Club’s Daffodil Show and Sale at Bryn Du Mansion and activities at both venues have been planned collaboratively, says Christina Gray, chair and RHM board member.

“The Granville Garden Club (GGC) is thrilled that the ADS recognition of the Jill Griesse Garden at RHM is being held in conjunction with this year’s annual Daffodil Show,” added Pam Clements, GGC liaison. “Having the RHM garden recognized for its daffodils and the GGCs ongoing partnership with RHM that includes nurturing and maintaining the gardens, including the many daffodils, is a natural fit.”

The road to garnering this distinguished honor began several years ago when the museum’s garden committee laid the groundwork for a well-planned and designed planting of named varieties of the spring flower. The dedication ceremony is free and open to the public.

The honor is significant in the botanical world, placing the Jill Harms Griesse Historic Garden on a list of only 25 gardens in 15 states to have met the staunch criteria of being recognized as an approved Daffodil garden.  The Griesse Historic Garden joins such highly recognized gardens as Winterthur, in Delaware; Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; Chicago Botanical Gardens; and Eudora Welty House Garden in Jackson, Mississippi. 

The garden’s namesake, Jill Griesse, who passed away in 2014, had a passion for Daffodils that led her to the presidency of the ADS and a lifetime cultivator of the species, which can feature thousands of varieties. Her own garden, located on the land surrounding her home on North Street, was filled with many of those, some rare, others her own cultivars. On her passing, the museum board, with the encouragement and support of Paul Griesse, Jill’s husband, launched the project. He donated many bulbs from his late wife’s gardens to get the ball rolling.

The garden now features nearly 400 named varieties.

Saturday kicks off with a fun event open to the public. Noted botanist Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester County, Virginia, will lead a bulb planting workshop beginning at 10 a.m. Summer flowering bulbs and pots are included in the $50 fee. Registration is necessary and can be accomplished through the website or by calling the museum at 740.587.0430.

One of his greatest joys is sharing his love of all things natural and inspiring people to look at the world around them in different, eye-opening ways. Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Virginia will be in Granville during Garden Day and the Daffodil Show for a workshop and talk.

One of his greatest joys is sharing his love of all things natural and inspiring people to look at the world around them in different, eye-opening ways. Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Virginia will be in Granville during Garden Day and the Daffodil Show for a workshop and talk.

Brent, a long-time friend of the Granville Garden Club and the hybridizer of many of the flowers in the Museum’s collection, is a naturalist, an author, a photographer, a speaker, a daffodil hybridizer and a gardener.  Because of achievements in all of these areas of expertise, he has won many gold medal awards from various organizations in the horticultural industry. 

One of Brent’s greatest joys is sharing his love of all things natural in the world and inspiring people of all ages and experiences to look at the world around them in a different, eye-opening way.  He has helped them understand how to take care of the earth for the next crop and/or for future generations.  He has given lectures and shared knowledge with gardeners in every state except North Dakota and Hawaii.  His plans for the future are to continue to play in his garden and care for the earth while encouraging others to do the same.

Brent will also speak that evening, 7–8:30 p.m., at RHM in a talk titled “Undaunted Daffodils.” Admission is free for RMH and Granville Garden Club members, $15 non-members. Again please register with the museum.

“We already knew of Brent through their bulb business and their association with the Garden Club,” says Christina Gray, board member. “But we had no idea he also had an ADS recognized garden, so it seemed a natural fit to invite him to speak.”

“As a member of the Granville Garden Club and as a trustee of the museum, bringing the Jill Griesse Historic Garden and its wonderful collection of Daffodils to the national stage is tremendously fulfilling,” she said.

All in all, the day will become an enjoyable and easy way to come to the museum, Christina said.

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Roundtables off to a rousing start

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Roundtables off to a rousing start

Editor’s Note: Judith Dann, board member, is an ancient history professor at Columbus State Community College and specializes in the life and work of Victoria Woodhull. She lives in Homer, Ohio, the birthplace of Woodhull.

Following a rousing kickoff with the first of nine roundtable discussions to be held over the next three years, the second in the 2018 series, Scandalous Voices: Journalistic Truth in the Face of False Rhetoric, will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 7 p.m. at The Robbins Hunter Museum.

Featured panelists for this second discussion session include Mary Yost, editorial page editor for the Columbus Dispatch and editor of Columbus CEO magazine, and Julie Carr Smyth, Associated Press reporter and Statehouse correspondent, with additional panelists added as schedules permit.

The first of the Victoria Woodhull: Phoenix Rising roundtables, Courageous Voices: Organization of Social Reform, in partnership with Denison University, kicked off at The Robbins Hunter Museum on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Over 75 men and women joined us to listen to the panelists and engage in thoughtful and meaningful conversations. 

Dr. Judith Dann kicked off the evening with a brief history of Victoria Woodhull's life.  Woodhull was born in Homer, Ohio.  Also shown is panelist Rachel Marco-Havens.    

Dr. Judith Dann kicked off the evening with a brief history of Victoria Woodhull's life.  Woodhull was born in Homer, Ohio.  Also shown is panelist Rachel Marco-Havens.

 

Panelists for this event included Rachel Marco- Havens, an artist and activist from Woodstock, NY and three local residents involved in activism, Rita Kipp, Ceciel Shaw and Carol Apacki. These four panelists also conducted a multi-day workshop at Denison.

Each one of the thought-provoking and inspiring panelists led us all into thinking about what organization for social change looks like. Their experiences and backgrounds varied in their approach to activism as they described what drew them into action.  Each advised that every single person could become active in his or her own way and at their own level.

 Questions and comments were raised about how one is drawn into activism- whether they sought out the issue or the issue sought them, how the issue of racism can be approached and effectively eradicated, and how the issue of financial prosperity segregates society and how that issue might be alleviated.

Candid and respectful comments and questions were voiced from beginning to end. Many young men and women from Denison and OSU-Newark attended and their enthusiasm and focus they gained from this roundtable made the entire program more than worthwhile. This is EXACTLY what the planning committee had envisioned- using Victoria’s voice and spirit as a guide post for continuing her struggle into present day issues.

The conversations that night should be happening all over the world.


Register HERE to be a part of the next roundtable discussion:

Scandalous Voices: Journalistic Truth in the Face of False Rhetoric

Thursday, April 19, 7PM; RSVP requested

Robbins Hunter Museum or location TBD depending on RSVP Response


Victoria Woodhull: Phoenix Rising Speaker’s Series

2018 – The Voices of Women

April: Scandalous Voices: Journalistic truths standing in the face of false rhetoric

September: Dangerous Voices: Women who dare to speak the truth

2019 – Women Advocates

January/February: Social Justice Advocacy: Gender equality and family rights.

April: Humanitarian Advocacy: Populations in Adversity.

September: Child Advocacy: Women supporting children from the womb to adulthood.

2020 – Leaderful Women

January/Feburary: In Politics: Women who lead the charge.

April: In Business/Finance: Women as economic leaders.

September: In Abundance: Is the concept of sisterhood still relevant?

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A Tale of Two Women

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A Tale of Two Women

It was a tale of two women on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 28, as Granville resident, artist, woman’s rights advocate, and museum friend Joanne Woodyard was celebrated as the 2017 The Victoria Woodhull Woman of Achievement recipient.

More than 150 friends from far and wide gathered to honor Joanne. The awards began with Amy Butler, 2011; Leslie Green Bowman, 2012; Jill Griesse, 2013; Sarah Wallace, 2016.

“Victoria knew that she was born for a greater calling,” Joanne said as she recounted the rise of Woodhull’s from poverty to notoriety,  “My story is very different and very simple,” she continued.

“I have never addressed the U.S. Congress. I have never operated a brokerage firm on Wall Street. I have never run for president of the United States.”

Joanne reminisced that she was nurtured in a family who surrounded her with enduring love every day. Her mother, Joanne said, was the youngest woman in Dayton to solo a plane at 16 years of age, to raise five children and always delight in everything they did.

Despite this cocoon of love and support, there were many highs and lows in her childhood, she said. “One of my sisters was bi polar, another died suddenly at age three, a brother was lost at birth and another was born with cerebral palsy. “Johnny was one of my life’s greatest gifts,” she said of her brother. “He never spoke nor heard a word in his 44 years, but he knew that he could communicate to all of us with his eyes.”

After graduating from Denison University, Joanne taught school in different states around the country. She and her husband David Woodyard returned in 1960 and have lived her since. She has been president of the Granville Garden Club. “I know that they went down the alphabet and had gotten to W before anyone accepted the job,” she laughed. “I learned the difference between a daffodil and a tulip and I forged ahead!”

“In those important years, I not only learned about flowers but also about self esteem and how to give it to others,” she said. “Working with women was so rewarding. I watched women discover their own worth and self esteem and nature became my friend through our earth, our gardens, and our flowers.”

Joanne has had leadership roles in the National Herb Society and the Garden Club of America. She also paints and is known for her attention to detail in paintings and her botanical depictions of flowers and herbs in greeting cards.

Throughout her talk, Joanne drew her audience in with stories and reflections on her life. “When women listen or are challenged, they do great things in their lives. They nurture, encourage, teach, laugh and cry. I am thankful that in a short 84 and a half years, I have had the opportunities that have come my way,” she said.

“Maybe, just maybe, you too will empower someone somewhere.”

 

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New Store to Open Soon

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New Store to Open Soon

The old wood shed on the west side of Robbins Hunter Museum has come a long way over the years. Cobbled onto the west side of the Avery-Downer House sometime between 1842 and 1875, the shed has had many lives. It’s been, among other things, an antique store, a dormitory, a quilt shop, a restaurant and most recently a clothing store.

Now it’s soon to be a store of fine stationery. Just Write opens on Monday, April 9, showcasing fine papers and stationery, greeting cards, areas for on-site work, including a coffee station.

“We want to create an experiential experience,” says store manager Lindsay Salisbury.  “We see that people want to slow down and make connections by returning to letter writing, to discover the lost art of correspondence.”

The space has changed considerably, of course, since its early wood shed days. When the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity bought the house in 1903, they converted the space into a room to use as a dorm. “The fraternity officers lived upstairs, members lived downstairs. None of these rooms were heated,” she noted.

When Robbins Hunter bought the house in 1956, he converted the space into an antique shop. Since Hunter's death in 1979, the room has been home to other ventures. By 2007, it was a reception room for the museum.

More recently, the board decided to lease the space and add handicapped restrooms in the main building. At about the same time, the Counting House was leased to Alfie’s Wholesome Food and the small restaurant operates here still today. 

Just Write will also carry items from the museum as it widens its visibility with retail merchandise. “We love the appeal,” Lindsay said. “It’s a perfect location and we’re so grateful to be here.”

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Yes, Some Pianos are Square

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Yes, Some Pianos are Square

It was the square piano in the parlor that captured the attention of Denison freshman Charlie Dykstal when he visited the museum with his art history class.

He wanted to know more, more about the piano, more about the furniture, more about the history, more about everything at RHM, so he just jumped right in. With the support of the art history department, Charlie now interns here eight hours a week through May. He plans to continue in the fall when he returns to classes.

It’s an Aster piano, Charlie has learned. Built around 1815 in England. His research tells him this was an everyday piano with brass strings that produce a compressed sound, a metallic sound. “Not very pleasing,” he said as he pressed on a key, but perhaps a piano that was used freely by the family for casual entertainment.

A few You Tube videos have led him to Aster owners and he’s tracking them down. He has lots of questions.

Charlie’s curiosity about the museum and its contents segue with his double major in cinema and art history. With his interest in film production, the highly regarded cinema department at Denison drew Charlie to the college from his home in Minneapolis. He’s chosen museum studies as his concentration in art history and that’s what brought him to RHM.

“The museum is beautiful,” he said. “I’ve been enjoying listening to the tapes of Robbins Hunter talking and just seeing the pictures and furniture. It makes great connections.”

Interning and volunteering are important focuses for the museum. If you have an interest in either, please let us know!

 

 

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From the Collection

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From the Collection

Robbins Hunter, Jr., was a collector of many things:  portraits, clocks, card tables, musical instruments, and buildings!  As a young man, growing up in Newark, he developed a fondness for fine things from the nineteenth century, especially those from Licking County. 

He was instrumental in seeing to it that many of Newark’s fine old buildings were saved from the wrecking ball including Sherwood-Davidson House and the Buckingham House. He also was proud of saving the A.J. Smith Banking House which once sat on the square in Newark.  Hunter moved the building to Granville and put in on property across from the Granville Golf Course. 

When he purchased the Avery-Downer house, he moved the little bank once again to 221 East Broadway, where it sits today.  It now serves as home to Alfie’s, a popular lunch spot in the heart of the Village.

The following story, written by Robbins Hunter, Jr., himself, was published in the January, 1947 issue of The American Antiques Journal.

One of the oldest bank buildings in Ohio is a two-room structure built about 1845 in Newark, Ohio.  At one time this little bank had deposits reaching $400,000.  It ceased to function as a bank in 1851 and in 1943 was moved to Granville, where it can be seen today across the road from the Granville Inn Golf Course, and is now the property of the writer.  There are two rooms in the bank with eleven foot ceilings.  The original cupboard where the bank records were kept still stands beside the old fireplace.  The front door is faced with tin and studded with hundreds of nails to give added strength.  The old brass chandelier shown in the picture, while not an original feature of the building is of the same period.  Its four oil lamps have been wired for electricity, and about eighty prisms hang from its brass ornaments.  The windows at one time had forged iron bars across them to keep out early bank robbers.  The tile around the fireplace is English and of very fine design.  The building, while small, has real dignity because of its perfect proportions, the design of the front door being especially fine.  But what a contrast the little building is to our modern banks with all their marble and brass.

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From the Director

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From the Director

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Robbins Hunter Museum and Gardens

There are so many ways to participate as a volunteer at the Robbins Hunter Museum and Gardens.  No matter your interests or your time constraints, I am certain that you have something to offer that will benefit both the museum and you personally.

  • Volunteer Docents are the hosts and hostesses of the Avery-Downer House, greeting guests when they knock at the front door.  Their welcome is followed by a tour, which invariably entertains and educates the visitors.  Our docent team has become a close group of friends enjoying a special field trip and brown bag lunches throughout the year.
  • Committee positions include collections, programs, finance, and building and grounds.  Members of the community, who have special interest in serving on one of these committees with a board member as chair, bring knowledge and expertise far beyond what the Robbins Hunter Museum budget allows and each of the committee members can take great pride in the success of these projects.
  • Interns from our local college campuses are welcomed.  RHM can provide a learning laboratory for young people who may be interested in entering the museum field.  At the same time, they help the museum move forward projects for which we are not staffed.
  • Odd jobs are always waiting to be completed.  Whether polishing silver or stuffing envelopes for special mailing, volunteers are vital to keeping up with everyday tasks.

Are you intrigued?  Do you see yourself in one of the above roles?  I would welcome an email or phone call to answer your questions.

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From the Director...

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From the Director...

As 2017 comes to a close, there is cause for reflection about this amazing year in the life of the Robbins Hunter Museum.

Much of the winter was spent restoring the upstairs offices of the Avery-Downer House. As we celebrated the houses’ 175th birthday this year, the walls and floors received new finishes for the first time since the 1930’s. In April, the popular Mark Twain exhibit opened with the marvelous collection of our board member, Tom Wortham, noted Twain Scholar. The exhibit attracted people from all over the state and enjoyed a full-page feature in the Columbus Dispatch.  Additionally, Wortham’s lectures saw a full house of avid learners who enthusiastically applauded his lessons and either read again or for the first time, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

In June, who can forget the very successful Granville Garden Tour and “It’s All Greek to Me” flower show?  Five generous garden owners opened their property for the benefit of the museum.  The flower show, hosted by the Little Garden Club of Columbus was attended by more than 550 people and was commended by the Garden Club of America.

October brought Scarecrows, this time literary figures in reference to Mark Twain.  A Halloween exhibit on the second floor amazed young and old alike. For the first time, Robbins Hunter Museum was a beneficiary of the Big Give, a central Ohio fundraising campaign.  We were pleased to realize a total of $8,584.

Then an army of volunteers moved in to install Experience the Magic. Record crowds and viewing the decorations for Christmas as well as the newly added Hanukkah display on loan from a local family.  A generous grant from the Granville Community Foundation supports the exterior light display.  The Granville Recreation Commission partners with us to mount the Gingerbread House display and the Granville Chamber of Commerce makes sure that kiddies have the opportunity to visit with St. Nick and Mrs. Claus during the Candlelight Walking Tour.

We look forward to 2018 and to the return of some of our more popular programs.  When spring arrives, daffodils will be spilling over the walls. New garden programming as well as an exhibition of the Oese and Hubert Robinson Underwear Collection is in the works. Stay tuned…..

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