Monday, February 26, 2018

Another Visit to the Laurel Museum, Maryland

See our previous visit here...

We visited The Laurel Museum and enjoyed some of the new exhibits.

The Laurel Museum

In the 1990s, DC American football team Washington Redskins considered moving to Laurel, Maryland, to avoid DC bureaucracy. The attempt failed because some locals were convinced it would bring a lot of negatives to the community (air pollution, vandalism, tax increases, etc.) and successfully shot down the attempt.

Redskins in Laurel--didn't happen

School integration by enforced busing began in 1973 for Laurel residents. Both sides of the community struggled with the issue, since young children were often taken far from their home. The scheme lasted until 1998.

Integration--did happen

After several incidents of alleged racial profiling, the Laurel police department started using body cameras in 2013, which did reduce the number of complaints. One such camera is on loan at the museum.

Body Cam display

Just as the Laurel branch of the Prince George's County Library was about to be reopened, a controversy arose over its name. The library was named after Charles H. Stanley (1842-1913), a former mayor of Laurel and state comptroller whose family donated the land in 1963 for a library to be named in his honor. The controversy arose because he was also a Confederate soldier. Debate raged for a while but the Library's Board of Trustees voted to keep the name.

Laurel Library display

A nearby exhibit talks about Civic Engagement and how local citizens can have an impact on local decisions.

Ways to engage civically (and hopefully civilly too!)

Old time ballot box

Next to the Civic Engagement exhibit is one focusing on local organizations that strive to improve the community through a variety of ways--raising money and awareness for the poor, the hungry, the old, the artistic, and on and on...

Some of the local civic organizations

More displays

And even more displays

The children's area of the museum is located in the basement, which is accessible down a rickety staircase or through a side door.

Guess which door gives access to the basement!

The museum sometimes has summer programs for children. Items from previous programs are still available for visitors to enjoy.

The mechanical advantage

Marble tracks

The basement also has information and items about the history of the building. It was a home for mill workers built by the Patuxent Manufacturing Company in the 1840s. This building housed four families, each of which had separate kitchens in the basement. The families on the main floor had indoor staircases down to their kitchens; those on the second story had to walk down an external staircase. This inconvenience was offset by the upstairs families having access to the attic for storage or extra bedrooms. The display of kitchen wares was fun for our kids to see and play with.

Kitchen table and washing bin

The washing bin in the above picture served both as a bathtub for the family and as a clothes washer. Below is a butter churn that mixed the butter with a crank on the side, rather than the classic "pole in the top" that's often depicted in movies and television.

Butter churn

View of the back of the building

If we follow the same schedule of visiting, we'll come again in two years, just in time to see the time-capsule opening!

2020 can't be that close, can it?

We may try to visit again sooner. Only time (and the blog) will tell.

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