The Sykesville Gate House Museum of History has mounted an exhibit of hand-tinted photos from the early 1900s. Before color photography was invented, black and white photos could be "colorized" by hand-painting colors onto a printed photograph. In Sykesville, three sisters made a living by colorizing photos in this way.
Elsie Sluby Jones, Ida Webb Jones, and Frances (Fanny) Isabelle Jones were born in the 1870s and 1880s, and lived together in and around Sykesville. Elsie, the youngest, loved photography and bought an expensive camera to take photos. Ida, who had an artistic bent and took classes at the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, hand-colored Elsie's photos. Fanny helped out by keeping house, cooking, and driving her younger sisters around Maryland to take photos. Their hand-tinted images of historic buildings, landscapes, farm life, and flower arrangements are an excellent example of an art technique from the early twentieth century.
More than 20 of the Jones Sisters' works are now on display at the Gate House Museum, located at 7283 Cooper Drive, Sykesville. The exhibit is now open to the public and will be on display through the summer. The Sykesville Gate House Museum hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.