Popular garden tour and patron party announced

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Popular garden tour and patron party announced

“There’s something about peacefulness and connection one feels in a garden,” says Holly Shai, this year’s chairperson for the biennial garden tour, sponsored by Robbins Hunter Museum. “The garden brings serenity to me and I want others to feel the emotions I get when I’m in the garden.”

Holly Griesse Shai chairs the Granville Daffodil Stroll this year and as you can see, she loves flowers, especially Daffodils!

Holly Griesse Shai chairs the Granville Daffodil Stroll this year and as you can see, she loves flowers, especially Daffodils!

Shai, as chairperson of this year’s tour, is pleased to announce the “Granville Daffodil Stroll, A Celebration of Spring,” a tour of selected gardens in Granville, is set for Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., with a Patron Party on Friday, April 26, the evening before. This year’s tour is scheduled two weeks after the popular Granville Daffodil Show, setting the stage for more Daffodil viewing as they grow and bloom in the natural settings of village gardens.

Past garden tours have taken place in the summer. This year, Shai says, the event will be a celebration of spring. “Everything is so hopeful in the spring,” she says. “It’s a good time for enjoying our local gardens, especially with the popularity of the Daffodil flower here in Granville. It will be fun to see them blooming in gardens.”

Five gardens are on tap for touring, from those professionally designed to those that are homeowner labors of love. Shai’s own garden will be included, where visitors are invited to stroll her hybrid garden of rhododendrons and azaleas. “We’re now 24 years into our garden,” Shai says of the gardens on the 26-acre property, “and each year my husband, Park, and I add something new.”

A statue stands in the Shai garden, as seen at the 2017 Granville Garden Tour.

A statue stands in the Shai garden, as seen at the 2017 Granville Garden Tour.

The weekend kicks off with the Patron Party on Friday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at the Museum, a pre-tour event open to the public. Tickets are $75 and include one ticket to the garden tour the next day, food, beverages and lots of socializing. As tour day dawns, volunteers gear up to sell tickets and be on hand at tour gardens to welcome visitors.

The tour, in its 3rd year and the largest fund raiser for RHM, attracts more than 450 people. Tickets at $25 each can be purchased on line HERE or at the door of the museum anytime during tour day. The event is rain or shine. All proceeds support on the ongoing development and maintenance of the Jill Griesse Historic Garden on the grounds of the Avery-Downer House, the home of the museum, which just this last year earned the notable distinction of being placed on the National Registration for the American Daffodil Society. Shai is the daughter of Paul and the late Jill Griesse. Jill is noted for her vast Daffodil gardens, and for leadership on the national level as the chairperson for the Chicago and Columbus Conventions of the ADS. The Griesse Historic Garden at RHM, which features many of the special Daffodils moved from her mother’s garden, is a gem for Granville, Shai says. “And it’s open 365 days a year.”

Shai is quick to say she owes much of her love and commitment to gardening to her mother. “It was a chore to weed, water and help my mother maintain the garden when I was a kid, “ she remembers, “but as an adult when I planted my first bulbs and they grew and bloomed, I was so proud of myself for having done it on my own.”

That first small success turned into a lifetime of gardening and it is that love of planting, growing and blooming she hopes visitors to the Granville Daffodil Stroll will feel when they enter those backyard spaces of beauty and tranquility.

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Help Holly make this celebration of the gardens a resounding success! Support the RHM Garden Tour with your sponsorship at one of four levels:

 Daffodil $2,500

Your name and logo on the RHM donor wall and sponsor’s board, with six complimentary tickets to the party and tour.

 Bouquet $1,000

Your name and logo on the RHM donor wall and sponsor’s board, with four complimentary passes to the party and tour.

 Blossom $500

Your name and logo on the RHM donor wall and sponsor’s board, with two complimentary passes for the party and tour.

 Bulb $250

Your name and logo on the RHM donor wall and sponsor’s board, with 2 tickets for the tour.

 All gifts are IRS tax deductible and the Robbins Hunter Museum is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization. Make your donation with payment to RHM, PO Box 183, Granville, 43023 or click HERE to complete your donation online. All proceeds support the Jill Griesse Historic Garden.          

 

 

           

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RHM honors Gibson as 2018 Woman of Achievement

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RHM honors Gibson as 2018 Woman of Achievement

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Flo Gibson

2018 Victoria Woodhull Woman of Achievement

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Book Cover and the Front Door

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Book Cover and the Front Door

Visitors astute to architecture and history sometimes ask questions that we can’t always answer as they tour our beautiful house museum. One such question reminded us that while we know a lot, we don’t always know it all. And in the process of tracking down answers, we learn something more about the wonder that is the Greek Revival Avery-Downer House, home to the Robbins Hunter Museum.

Doug Johnson, the archdiocese of Baltimore, toured the museum on his first visit to Granville not long ago. He noticed the design of the front door differed from the drawing of the door in the book The Modern Builder’s Guide by Minard Lafever, originally published in 1833.

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Why so, he asks? To answer his question, we turned to our expert, Architect Dr. William Heyer. Here’s what he said. “Because Minard Lafever was really only a consultant on the house for Mr. Avery and because Benjamin Morgan was in fact the designer/builder, it does not come to me as odd that some alternative design elements were used. This was common in the Grecian period. In fact, many of the design elements in the house were inspired by Lafever’s guidebooks and also Asher Benjamin’s guidebooks of the same date (1832-33). But they were really only a starting point and it is refreshing to see that Lafever trusted the local builders with whatever napkin sketches he provided for Mr. Avery in New York.”

Ann Lowder, director, adds “We had records noting the door itself was originally grain painted, a trompe-l’oeil, to resemble fine mahogany.” Delicate tracery of lotus vines above the door, restored to its original gold leaf, should be observed, she notes.

Above the front door of the Robbins Hunter Museum.

Above the front door of the Robbins Hunter Museum.

“The museum is grateful to Tom King, a Denison alumnus, who knew Robbins Hunter and donated his time and talent to restoring the finish to the door,” she adds.

Heyer also offers a broader perspective. “Much of the beauty of Ohio Grecian architecture resides in the inspired uses of Greek elements such as those of Mr. Morgan. That is why I—having moved here from New York—find the Grecian architecture of the “new” states after the revolution to be the most clever and original of the entire Grecian period. Look at Hamlin’s Greek Revival Architecture in America for other fun examples.”

An outstanding feature of the design of the house, perhaps another of those fun examples, is that it incorporates all three Greek column designs: Doric (found on the side porches), Ionic (found on the front porch), and the magnificent Corinthian columns that flank the front door.

Next time you step up to the front door, pause a minute and take a good look!

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Facilitating learning and laughter at RHM

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Facilitating learning and laughter at RHM

For the past nine years I have been a tour giver at Granville’s Avery-Downer House/Robbins Hunter Museum. Tour guides are known as “docents” and although I found the word rather archaic, it seemed acceptable. That is, until I recently came across an article that resonated with me, describing the power of giving oneself a job title that accurately reflects how one views what they do. I have therefore renamed my role. My new title is “facilitator of learning and laughter.” Less staid, more accurate and well, embraceable.

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But, I digress. Back to museums. I love museums. Museums are what I do. Historic house museums are at the top of my preferred list. And, I swoon over Greek Revival architecture. Not only does the movie-set town of Granville have a historic house museum, the house itself is one of the premier examples of domestic Greek Revival architect in the nation! I’m not kidding here.

And here’s the best part. If what I’ve described resonates with you—and if you live in Granville or the surrounding area—you could be one of the lucky ones who brings this incredible Greek Revival treasure to life. One who invites visitors to step into the past to experience the way a family lived. The museum embraces volunteers who enjoy enlightening an audience thru tour giving. But that’s not all. We welcome volunteers in multiple areas: our intimate apparel collection needs care, tours need greeters, seven breath-taking Christmas trees need all hands on deck, school children need facilitators, special events need hosts, seminars need an audience.

Rebecca Dungan and her collection of antique valentine cards at the Robbins Hunter Museum.

Rebecca Dungan and her collection of antique valentine cards at the Robbins Hunter Museum.

The 50’s tree in the Octagon room at the Robbins Hunter Museum.

The 50’s tree in the Octagon room at the Robbins Hunter Museum.

The next time you visit Granville, visit the Robbins Hunter Museum. I’ll give you a personal tour, one that is enlightening and participatory, one that will elicit the response “I didn’t know that!” And, if it gives you joy and the stars are aligned, you will become a part of this grand, significant place!

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From the Collection

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From the Collection

Mystery abounds at the Robbins Hunter Museum.  It seems that for every question we answer, three more arise.  This month’s question pertains to who really donated several pieces of a rare black and white transfer English pottery.

William Cullen Bryant wrote in 1830, ”There is in our scenery enough of the lovely, the majestic, the romantic, to entitle it to be ranked with that of any other country in the world….” And yet, he continued, “It would be easier to find a series of good scenes of China or Southern India than of the United States.”

Five years later, an English topographical artist, William Henry Bartlett, sailed for America with the express purpose of making “lively impression of actual sights.”  Between 1835 and 1852, he made four excursions to the US to draw the buildings, towns, and scenery of the northeastern states.  He was accompanied by on his first adventure by Nathaniel Parker Willis, an American journalist who wrote the text for the first comprehensive picture book of authentic American scenes.  That book was American Scenery, or Land, Lake, and River Illustrations of Trans Atlantic Nature.  The book was published by George Virtue, who employed Bartlett as an artist, author, and editor for two decades.  It was quickly translated and published in French and German editions.

W. H. Bartlett self portrait 1836

W. H. Bartlett self portrait 1836

This book, along with its companion Canadian Scenery, remain our best picture books of the landscape scene of America almost two hundred years ago.  Bartlett made his images directly from nature and reproduced each with almost photographic accuracy.

These drawings were not only reproduced on paper. The potters of England promptly seized on the opportunity to decorate their wares with views of the Hudson River and drawings of buildings and towns.  Some of the potteries to produce such wares include J. Ridgway; William Ridgway; William Ridgway & Son; Thomas Godwin; Charles Meigh; and Mellor, Venables & Co.

In 1984, the Robbins Hunter Museum received a generous donation of several pieces decorated with black and white transfer patterns including “Columbia Bridge on the Susquehanna,” “Undercliff near Cold Spring,” and “View from Ruggles House, Newburgh, Hudson River.”

 
“Columbia Bridge on the Susquehanna” on a platter.

“Columbia Bridge on the Susquehanna” on a platter.

“Undercliff near Cold Spring” on a chocolate pot.

“Undercliff near Cold Spring” on a chocolate pot.

 
“View from Ruggles House, Newburgh, Hudson River” on a teapot.

“View from Ruggles House, Newburgh, Hudson River” on a teapot.

We are delighted to hold these exquisite early picturesque renderings on china in our collection.  Our records are incomplete in that the donor is only identified as “Mavis”  with a donation date of May 19, 1984.  If any of our readers might know who this  Mavis is, please contact annlowder@robbinshunter.org.   

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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

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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.”

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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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