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Aberdeen Room's success continues

We continue on with the story of the Aberdeen Room Archives and Museum and the 25 years since it all began:

By the time the move was made to 18 Howard St. in Aberdeen, numerous newspaper articles with photos had been published about the newest features of the Aberdeen Room Museum, but none drew as much attention as an unusual event in 2003. There was an article in the Sunday Edition of "The Sun" with a photo of the McCormick Spice Company's tea room front that was for sale. It seemed that the Elizabethan style structure was left behind when McCormick moved from the Inner Harbor in Baltimore to Hunt Valley.

The style was very appealing, and the windows at 18 Howard St. were leaking badly, so we made a Sunday visit to the antique shop to look at this wood and glass two-part front with doorway. It was obvious that the wood was not weather-worthy to replace the front of the Aberdeen Room, but that did not keep Doc, a volunteer, from purchasing it and having it shipped to Aberdeen.

So, this beauty had to be used as an interior display front! All parts were numbered, so the City of Aberdeen's public works department came to the rescue and installed it at the back of the exhibit area of the museum. It fit exactly! It was very obvious that this important part of the exhibit should be devoted to the two most important parts of Aberdeen history - the railroads and the canning industry. Newspapers delighted in the story, and featured it.

That was 2003, but another event in 2004 drew considerable interest. Aberdeen, Scotland has been acknowledged as our mother city, and also the namesake of about 30 other towns and cities around the world. Fred Bull, a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, decided to write a book about as many of these as he could visit, and make a video, so one summer day in August he visited the Aberdeen Room, included photos and story in his book, "Aberdeens Around the World" and placed an interior picture of the 1852 plant, and us, on the back cover!

This created an even closer relationship with our mother city. Lord Provost John and Lady Helen Reynolds visited Aberdeen in April 2005, and we held a tea the Aberdeen Room in their honor. We had pipers from the Highland Society to greet the royal couple when they arrived by train.

We were invited to give a lecture about the history of Aberdeen as a part of Aberdeen's Heritage Trust's lecture series at Aberdeen City Hall in 2005. A DVD was filmed at the Aberdeen Room as part of "Historic Harford," a Harford Cable Network TV show narrated by Joe Swisher, from the Aberdeen Heritage Trust.

For years we had been sketching Aberdeen scenes as a fundraiser for the museum, some 350, in fact. When it was suggested that a book should be written and illustrated with some of the sketches, the book "Sketches of Village to Town to City recalling Aberdeen, Maryland," was published in 2006. Another success for the Aberdeen Room.

The book prompted another award from the Small Museum Association. In February 2007, the highest award, the Hunter-Burley award, was presented.

In cooperation with the Historical Society of Harford County, the Aberdeen Room is endeavoring to save the 1885 railroad station in Aberdeen. After it was suggested in the Historical Bulletin for Aberdeen's centennial in 1992, that this structure was worth saving, the goal is still in sight.

The Historical Society of Harford County and the City of Aberdeen have presented the Aberdeen Room Archives and Museum with a Certificate of Appreciation and Proclamation of Appreciation, respectively, for outstanding service for 25 years!

On Saturday, Dec. 1, an open house in celebration of its 25 years will be held at the Aberdeen Room at 18 Howard St., from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and all are invited. This free celebration will be in conjunction with the Annual Christmas Street celebration.

As part of the celebration, prizes of a quilt, a gingerbread house, "Dining on the B&O," and "Sketches of Village to Town to City," will be chosen in the December. Tickets for these four prizes are available at the museum, or from volunteers. For more information, please call the museum, 410-273-6325.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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