The Historical Society of Carroll County is open for business! For the first time, we have regular Saturday hours.

Our longheld Monday-to-Friday times weren’t very family-friendly, especially for those looking for things to do on weekends. So we’ve made some staffing adjustments to open the doors of the circa-1820 Cockey’s museum and the historic Sherman-Fisher-Shellman house Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop in first at the museum shop at 210 E. Main St. in Westminster. The price of admission for both attractions is only $5.


In Cockey’s, we first have the Time on Our Hands exhibit. It’s all about the history of timekeeping and clocks. We are fortunate to have one of the finest tall clock collections in the state. It includes several exquisite examples made by Taneytown’s own Eli Bentley between 1785 and 1820, as well as smaller mantle clocks and pocket watches. In our digital age, kids should see how the minutes were measured in county homes over 200 years ago.

The country’s commemoration of the centennial of World War I began in 2017, and Carroll County men and women played their part. Also in Cockey’s, there are wonderful period photos of local troops and junior Red Cross volunteers that evoke those trying times. And today’s veterans will be interested in seeing what their brothers in arms wore 100 years ago. Displays including a period helmet, uniform and gas mask. Visitors are also invited to pick up a stereoscope to see a collection of three-dimensional battlefield views from the Great War.

In an adjoining room, we feature some of the unique treasures of the historical society. These include a beautiful, early-1800s blanket chest; an 1824 silk wedding dress (it’s maroon — wearing white didn’t start until Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840); and a colorful circa-1880 spool cabinet for displaying sewing thread. It once graced the Nusbaum and Jordan dry goods store down the street.

In the 1807 Sherman-Fisher-Shellman house, receive a guided tour and learn about its onetime residents, what they did and how they used each room, now furnished circa 1820. The kitchen is a real eye-opener for today’s cooks. Then enjoy a self-guided tour of the lush gardens, featuring vegetable plants and an herb and dye garden. A brand-new exhibit is the footprint of the log loom house, once a home for slaves and a place where they also wove linen and cotton.

If you are interested in researching your family’s roots or the history of an old house, plan a visit to the research library, also at 210 E. Main St. It is open Wednesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m., and 9 a.m. to noon on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.

We could make none of our treasures available to the public without the generous assistance of our dedicated corps of volunteers. If you’d like to see where your talents and interests might fit in, please give us a call at 410-848-6494.

I hope you will take advantage of the wonderful experiences we offer as we continue to fulfill the historical society’s mission of “connecting the past to the present and making the county’s vibrant history tangible, relevant, and meaningful for today’s diverse communities and for generations to come.”

Frank J. Batavick is the Board of Trustees chair for the Historical Society of Carroll County.

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