The Woodman Museum is currently celebrating its 100-year anniversary with a variety of exhibitions, programs, and events. Visit Programs and Events for listings.
Centennial Gala Success
The Woodman Museum’s Centennial Celebration which took place on Saturday, July 23, 2016 was, by all accounts, a “rip-roaring” success. Despite the torrential rains, shattering thunder, and epic lighting, all the seats were filled by friends and supporters of the Museum. Emcee Cliff Blake, Board of Trustees president Dave Dupont, Wes LaFountain, and Centennial Committee member David Watters, among others expertly navigated through the program, expressing heart-felt thank you to the staff, members, supporters, and volunteers as well as Centennial Committee chair Noreen Biehl, and committee members. A proclamation recognizing the dedicated commitment of retiring curator Thom Hindle was warmly accepted, and Ed Wentworth was recognized for his development of the Robert Whitehouse Library in the Keefe House, and for his associated object-cataloging work over the last several decades. Wes LaFountain outlined the vision for the Museum, and unveiled the new Learning Lab initiative, where state-of-the-art technology will bring the Wonders of the Woodman Museum to all visitors, including those who may not be able to maneuver to the many exhibition areas upstairs.
To read curator Thom Hindle’s Centennial Celebration Gala Speech, click here.
The Woodman Museum is grateful to the many sponsors of the Centennial Celebration Gala, including the Benefactor level sponsors: Relyco; D.F. Richard Energy; Federal Savings Bank; Tasker Funeral Home; and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.
Community business partners include: Darci Creative, Jon West/Cocheco PrintWorks, Dupont’s Service Center, Garrison Hill Florists Inc., Harvey’s Bakery and Coffee Shop, Seacoast Media Group and Fosters Daily Democrat, 7th Settlement Brewery, The Portable Pantry Cafe and Catering, The Silver Fountain Inn and Tea Parlor, Strafford Farms Restaurant, Townsquare Media, Wentworth Greenhouses, WOKQ; and WTSN-AM 1270.
Patron Sponsors include: Defense Manufacturers, Dupont’s Service Center, Formax; Tamson Bickford Hamrock; Holy Rosary Credit Union; JoAnn Rohde & Anthony McManus; People’s United Bank; Raiche and Company, CPAs, PA; Red’s Shoe Barn; A. Darby Reynolds; and Dr. David & Mrs. Maureen Staples.
Thank you also to the following, who met a variety of needs and contributed time and talent for our 100th Anniversary Celebration, including: Howard Altschiller/Foster’s Daily Democrat; Emily Brillard; Ruby Daniel; Mike Day; Lucia DeDe; Naomi Densmore; Jean Fenerty; Terrie Hale; Valerie Lester; James O’Hearne; Rosanne O’Hearne-McBride; Peggy Purdy; Donna Rinaldi; and Catherine Schirmer.
Centennial Committee members included: Noreen Biehl, Centennial Committee Chair; retired Wentworth-Douglass Hospital; Jane Bard, President, Children’s Museum of New Hampshire; Cathy Beaudoin, Director, Dover Public Library; Jack Buckley, former Mayor; Dennis Ciotti, Museum Trustee; Jason Cleary, retired firefighter; Judi Currie, journalist; Beth Fischer, museum volunteer; Patrice Foster, former publisher, Foster’s Daily Democrat; Mike Gillis, Media Services Manager, City of Dover;Wes LaFountain, Woodman Museum; Mark Leno, Museum Trustee, retired Dover Police Department; Catherine Mazur, museum professional; Peter Michaud, NH Department of Cultural Affairs; Susan Smith, retired history professor; Mark Speidel, Edward Jones Investments; Mike Steinberg, CEO, Relyco; Grover Tasker, Museum Trustee, Tasker Funeral Home; David Watters, NH State Senate, UNH Professor.
Reenactors for the Centennial Gala included: Beth Hawthorne (Annie E. Woodman); Mark Speidel (Colonel Daniel Hall); Ron Cole (Senator John Parker Hale); Jacqueline Mazzone (Lucy Hale); : Bruce McAdam (Abraham Lincoln); Susan Smith (Marilla Ricker); Stewart Anderson ( Colonial Guide); and William Burr (Henry Law). Many thanks also goes to Amanda Duquette for coordinating the participation of the reenactors.
NH Chronicle Spotlight (May 2016)
One viewer commented: “I saw the NH Chronicle episode on the museum. WOW! My husband I will be visiting your museum for your July 23 centennial celebration. CAN’T WAIT! Looking forward to receiving [your newsletter]. My husband and I watch as many episodes of NH Chronicle as we can. It gives us information on places to visit in NH on our weekends off. We enjoy traveling, sightseeing, museums, & history.” – AML
NH1 News Network Video (May 2016)
Get a fresh look at the Woodman Museum in this new video for the NH1 News Network shot during Union Leader correspondent Kimberley Haas’s recent visit.
Celebrating 100 Years of WOW!
(Woodman Offers Wonders)
The following article, authored by Cathy Schirmer, was included in The Woodman Newsletter, Spring 2016. To receive a complete copy of the Newsletter, consider becoming a member.
When the doors open for the 2016 season at the Woodman on April 1st, the 100th Anniversary of the museum will officially begin. The passing of Dover resident Annie E. Woodman in January of 1915 set in motion a plan to create an Institute to foster education in science and the arts, as well as to increase and preserve the history of Dover and the state. Her generous $100,000 trust and astute naming of the three original trustees, each of them prominent with impressive backgrounds in civic, educational, and historical endeavors, made it possible for the Institute to open its doors the following summer, in July of 1916.
From its beginnings, the Woodman has been supported, nurtured, even loved by the Dover community, and by specific individuals who tirelessly worked to preserve and promote Annie Woodman’s vision. The early history of the museum’s first curator, Melville Smith, is well documented. He and his family lived in the rear apartment of the Woodman House, as did several successive curators, and his interest in taxidermy resulted in the museum’s extensive collection of preserved animals and insects. Over time, however, interest in the museum, and history in general, waned. Then a new era began with the involvement of Thom Hindle, who began his long service to the museum in 1976 as a volunteer, and in an organic progression was appointed trustee in 1996, and eventually trustee chair, later stepping off to become Curator.
Thom’s relationship with the museum seemed a natural fit. After all, the Dover native had visited the museum often as a young boy, and his adult profession as a photographer and historical photo collector blended well with the needs of the museum. Thom recounts that when he accepted trustee responsibilities in 1996, there were no museum memberships, and no admission was charged to view the museum’s exhibits. Since the museum was barely functioning financially, Thom knew things had to change quickly in order for it to survive. He and the trustees began a new plan that included selling memberships and charging a nominal admission fee. Since neither of these actions was a part of Annie Woodman’s original instructions, a court order was required to move forward. Over the intervening years, the trustees have improved the museum’s financial standing by holding a variety of very successful fundraisers, such as the 2009 reenactment of Abraham Lincoln’s appearance in Dover, when he had come to the Garrison City in 1860 during his presidential campaign. They have also added to the museum’s support and collections by pursuing and working closely with interested partners from throughout the region.
In 2004, Thom and the trustees embarked on an extremely successful capital campaign in order to purchase the Keefe House. Sited on land adjacent to the Woodman, the Keefe House, built in 1825, is the home of the museum’s new art gallery and library, and completes the four-structure campus. Thom, his wife Mira, and a handful of dedicated volunteers and trustees invested huge amounts of sweat equity in restoring the neglected building, and it is now an elegant and beautiful period setting for current and future art exhibits.
Meanwhile, the Woodman House, across the grounds, celebrates its own opening exhibition, The Woodman: 100 years of Change. Thom is curating a visual timeline of artifacts, documents, photographs, and other pieces that will visually guide visitors through all 100 years of the Woodman’s history. Given his background and relationship with the Woodman, Thom is uniquely qualified to create this exhibit, although it is also no doubt a poignant endeavor as he has announced he will retire this summer, after 40 plus years. It’s difficult to imagine the Woodman without Thom, but it’s likely he won’t ever be too far away! Heartfelt thanks and congratulations go to Thom and Mira for their many years of commitment and dedication that helped to make the Woodman the truly special place it is for all who visit. — Cathy Schirmer
100 Treasures: 100 Days
As part of the Centennial Celebration, the Woodman Museum has partnered with Foster’s daily Democrat to present a unique object from the permanent collection for 100 days. To view the items, visit this page.