Sharing opinions with civility

At Allegany Museum, we are preparing (with much excitement) the dioramas for the Way We Worked exhibition, which will show Feb 3 to March 24 next year, alongside the Smithsonian exhibits.
We are uncovering many intriguing snippets about working life in Allegany County over the last 150 years.
This one (below), from the Cumberland Times News of July 11 1939, shows that it is possible to be reasonable and civil, even when dissenting. The talent for this seems to have almost disappeared in the lead up to the presidential election of 2016. It is from a Times News ‘man-on’the-street’ collection of opinions about the possible loss of WPA projects in Cumberland.

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Frederick Douglass visits Cumberland

Marshal Frederick Douglass arrived by express train at Cumberland’s Queen City hotel on September 23 1879, to deliver a lecture for the Emancipation celebration (from the Washington Post, Sept. 24, 1879):
“Emancipation Day” was yesterday celebrated in this city in a very enthusiastic manner by the colored people, who flocked to the city in large numbers from the neighboring towns of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland. It was a gala day for the colored race.

About 2,000 visitors were in town, and the streets presented an animated appearance. The weather was cloudy but no rain fell, and everything went off pleasantly. About noon a procession was formed, which passed through the principal streets and wended its way to the Fair grounds, which are located in a commanding position to the east of the city. Several Masonic and other secret societies appeared in line.

Marshal Douglass arrived on the express train from Washington at 2:10 P.M. He was met at the Queen City hotel by an immense crowd of people, and escorted through the principal streets in a barouche, in which were seated Mayor William J. Read, Hon. Henry W. Hoffman, and Rev. B. H. Lee, the pastor of the A.M.E. Church if this city, who was also the president of the meeting. The procession arrived at the Fair grounds at 3 o’clock, escorted by a band of music.

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Transportation Department grant for ‘Crossroads of America’

Allegany Museum has been awarded $240,000 from the Transportation Enrichment Program of the Maryland Department of Transportation to assist development of a new permanent exhibition: ‘Crossroads of America’.

This major exhibition will occupy most of the first floor of the Museum building at the corner of Mechanic and Pershing St. It will provide a sensory as well as visual story of human movement in the area, by road, water, and rail.

The exhibition will center on the National Road and its evolution from Nemacolin’s Trail, the ancient Native American trail that crossed the barrier of the Allegheny Mountains via the Cumberland Narrows Mountain pass. Visitors will be able to walk along a reconstructed ‘road’ that will display vehicles such as an authentic Conestoga wagon, and a Model T Ford. Each portion of the road will be constructed in accordance to conditions at the time. Visitors will also be able to participate in interactive exhibits.

The first floor is currently divided into offices, most of which are now empty. The renovation will begin in the next few weeks, and reveal the domed ceiling, marble floors, and other features of the beautiful 1920’s building. Once that is complete, the exhibition will be constructed.

<Images: Planned entrance to the exhibition; National Road in the exhibition >

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Are you a movie expert? Can you find this movie?

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of the New Deal programs established by President Franklin Roosevelt. Company 335-C (colored) and Company 1359, S-58-Md, were located in Allegany County, Maryland.
In 1935, Paramount released ‘It’s a Great Life’, set in a CCC camp. It was directed by Edward F. Cline and starred Joe Morrison.
It was advertised and reviewed in the Cumberland Evening Times (see attached).
Allegany Museum would like to show either the movie or clips during The Way We Worked exhibition next February and march, but exhaustive internet searches have been fruitless.
Do you know where we might find clips or a copy? (We have emailed Paramount but have not yet received a reply.)

 

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Preserve the history that you and your family helped to make

Can you help preserve our history for future generations?

Too often, the results of our lifetime of work leave the area when we leave, or pass on.  Both our wealth and our personal contribution to the area’s history leave the region, never to return.

Your donations and bequests to Allegany Museum can preserve the history that you and your family helped to make.

How can you pass on your legacy to the community?

  • Contact the Allegany Museum at 301-777-7200 regarding those heritage items in your basements and attics that you’ve “been meaning to do something with.” Allegany Museum can help preserve them for future generations to learn from. Right now, the Museum is looking for photos and artifacts of working life in the County, particularly of labor unions, the Celanese plant, railway workers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and of WPA and CCC projects and workers.
  • Create a family legacy by giving to the Allegany Museum Endowment, which transforms your one moment of giving into generations of educational opportunities.
  • Update your will, retirement plans and life insurance policies with your charitable intentions.
  • The satisfaction of giving is immediate; and when given to this endowment, the impact can be everlasting.

Your family is already part of your community’s history. Make it part of your community’s future.

The photo below shows the Allegany County Teachers Federal Credit Union giving their second Founders pledge to the Allegany Museum Endowment Fund. Founders pledge $5,000 or more, spread over five years. The Endowment helps to ensure the longevity of the Museum for future generations of learners.

ALCO Teachers FCU President/Treasurer Patricia Folk presented the check to Daryl Smith, Development Director of the Allegany Museum.

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George Washington feared insurgents would “shake the government to its foundation.”

On this day, August 26 1794, Washington wrote to Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee that he had decided to use force to put down the ‘Whiskey Rebellion’.
Washington knew that the nation, having only recently violently overthrown the tyrannical English king, was in a delicate state, and he did not want to appear as an equally despotic president. He waited to see if the insurgents would back down, but 6,000 angry men gathered near Pittsburgh and challenged Washington and the federal government to disperse them.
Mounted on his horse, Washington lead a force of 13,000 to quell the uprising. (In fact, the aging president made most of the journey by carriage.)
He addressed the troops at Fort Cumberland as they prepared for action. This was the first and only time a sitting American president has ever led troops into battle.
June 9, 2017, the Whiskey Rebellion Fest at the Allegany Museum, Cumberland, will celebrate Washington, the rebellion, and whiskey.

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3,300,000 children miss school because of work!

While children had been employed alongside adults for hundreds of years, in cash-strapped 1932 children were replacing their parents in jobs because employers could pay them less for the same work.
The picture below shows Edwin Cope,13 years of age, in a N.J. Glass Works at midnight.
Also below, an article from the Cumberland Evening Times, 4/12/32.
If you have photos of children or adults working in any of Cumberland’s glass works, or any other factory or mill, and you wouldn’t mind loaning them, please contact Allegany Museum through this page.
Allegany Museum is preparing an exhibition of working conditions in Allegany County and how they have changed, that will be opened on February 4 next year as past of the Smithsonian The Way We Worked.child labor Cumberland_Evening_Times_Tue__Apr_12__1932_

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War of words in the Cumberland Evening News

The labor unrest in the 1940s against the Celanese Corp must have made the Cumberland Evening Tines happy – both sides took out a series of full page advertisements promulgating their views.
For an in-depth look at working conditions and labor organizations in Allegany County, come to the free The Way We Worked exhibition at Allegany Museum, February 3 to March 24 2017.

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Historic Holiday Homes Tour

Mark your calendars for a special holiday home tour. This coming December, Cumberland’s Annual Holiday Home Tour is going to be a special one! For $25 per person benefiting the Western Maryland Heritage Association (whose members include the Allegany Museum, the Allegany County Historical Society and the Gilchrist Gallery and Museum) 300 lucky ticket buyers will be able to tour some of the finest early 20th century homes in the Dingle!

At dusk, there we will a horseback caroling tour for the enjoyment of residents and ticket holders alike. The DIngle was Western Maryland’s first gated community who design included planned landscape architecture, in a decidedly English style. With access to Washington Street temporarily disrupted by bridge issues, 2016 is the perfect year to tour the Dingle for the holidays!

This year’s date is December 10th!

(Thanks Dave Williams for this post and photos)

Dave Williams's photo.

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Smithsonian funded by Englishman: Cash transported by ship!

On this day, August 10 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was born.
James Smithson, an Englishman, left the whole of his estate to found an “Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge” in Washington.
Smithson was a a fellow of the venerable Royal Society of London, and published numerous scientific papers on mineral composition, geology, and chemistry.
He had never visited the US.
The money had to be transferred in cash.
Diplomat Richard Rush went to England, and two years later sailed for home with 11 boxes containing a total of 104,960 gold sovereigns, 8 shillings, and 7 pence, as well as Smithson’s mineral collection, library, scientific notes, and personal effects. After the gold was melted down, it amounted to a fortune worth well over $500,000.
Next February, Allegany Museum is partnering with the Smithsonian to bring The Way We Worked exhibition to Allegany County. As well as the central exhibits, the Museum will display the story of FDR’s New Deal programs in the County, and trace how local labor organizations facilitated changes that have enhanced worker health and safety.NSBMuseum-TheWayWeWorked_750x500

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