WORCESTER — The Worcester Historical Museum will celebrate founder Samuel Staples’ 200th birthday and the museum’s 147th year of collecting with special events May 17-21.
Staples, a grocer and accountant, and four other prominent Worcester businessmen held the first meeting of what would become the Worcester Society of Antiquity in January 1875.
The band rented space at 11 Foster St. as their headquarters, but as its membership and collection grew, it outgrew the space.
In 1892 a new head office opened at 39 Salisbury on land donated by Stephen Salisbury III.
The organization changed its name to Worcester Historical Society in 1919 and then, in 1978, to Worcester Historical Museum.
In 1988, the museum moved to its current building at 30 Elm St.
The celebration includes talks, tours, and the unveiling of Redemption Rock Brewing’s larger “Rescue from Oblivion,” created especially for the anniversary celebration. Admission is free all week, but registration is required for the birthday party.
May 17: Lecture and dedication at 7 p.m. by Suzanne Schnittman, author of “Provocative Mothers and their Precocious Daughters”.
May 18: Noon and 2 p.m., 20-30 minutes “History Bites”:
•Curator Shelley Cathcart – A quick discussion on the role of a curator and a tour of the galleries to see some of her favorite objects, including the museum’s most recent acquisition from the 18th century.
• Director of Community Engagement David Conner – A dynamic discussion of Worcester County’s LGBTQ+ chronicle, Worcester Latino History Project, Worcester Black History Project
• Robert Stacy, Site Manager of Salisbury Manor – “The Little Machines of Worcester” presentation of patent models of inventions from Worcester inventors
May 19: Anniversary celebration and unveiling of Redemption Rock Brewing’s biggest ‘Rescue from Oblivion’ with tastings available. 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Registration required.
May 20. 2:00 p.m. 20-30 minutes “History Bites”:
•Executive Director William Wallace – Celebrating Worcester: “Marking Anniversaries.” On the eve of Worcester’s tercentenary celebration, a look back at how and what Worcester marked its anniversaries… 1872, 1884, 1922, 1948 and more
• Exhibition Coordinator Vanessa Bumpus – A guided tour of the Fuller Gallery of Industrial History exhibition “In Their Shirtsleeves”. Learn about Worcester’s rich industrial history and hear about upcoming changes to the gallery and the redesign opening in 2023;
• Wendy Essery, Library and Archives Manager – Meet the birthday boy, Samuel Staples.
May 21: Free Family Day at WHM and Salisbury Manor Museum 10am-4pm. Activities include the Salisbury Manor Scavenger Hunt; Groundbreaking walking tours; history sleuths at WHM; and much more.
Visit www.worcesterhistory.org for more information. Registration is required for the May 19 anniversary.