Visitors will be able to relive the history of southern Carroll County with the Sykesville Gate House Museum's newest exhibit: "Treasures from the Attic."
Museum curator Mark Fraser said he got the idea for the new exhibit simply by cleaning out the attic of the Gate House.
The exhibit will open to the public starting Thursday through early September during the museum's regular hours, 1-5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 1-4 p.m. on Sundays.
"Treasures from the Attic" will feature various objects from the town of Sykesville dating back to the late 1800's. The items displayed include a slate blackboard used for teaching in the early 1900s, a telephone from the early 1900s, an antique wooden washing machine and a steam locomotive bell that guests are able to ring.
The museum also has a large selection of artifacts from the B&O railroad which ran through Sykesville.
Fraser's favorite part of the museum?
"Anything having to do with trains," he said.
Among the railroad memorabilia is a train platform used by passengers, china dishes from B&O railroad dining cars and pieces of the B&O railroad and toy trains from the 1930s.
"The artifacts tell us about a very progressive community," Fraser said. "The citizens of the area have always been farsighted and wanted to preserve their history."
It is free to view the exhibit and almost all of the objects are allowed to be touched, except for those in display cases.
Most of the objects in the museum are donated by members of the community, Fraser said.
"We are always in gathering mode, always taking new donations," he said.
In addition to the "Treasures from the Attic" exhibit, the Sykesville Gate House Museum will also be offering a series of free family programs this summer on select Sundays in June, July and August. The first, an interactive "Reptile Wonders" program including at least 10 species of reptiles, takes place this Sunday.
These hour-long programs will be open to children of all ages with no registration required. Other programs this summer will feature a Confederate soldier re-enactment, a medieval knight re-enactment and an interactive "Bugs" program with live insects.
Most people who attend the museum are middle school-age and above, Fraser said, but he hopes to get children as young as second- and third-grade to attend the programs.
Fraser also said he expects to continue the monthly family programs through the fall, and eventually offer them all year long.