Celebrating our 105th season!

Woodman Speaker Series: “J.W. Booth and the Women Who Loved Him”

The Woodman Museum is to welcome author Ernest L. Abel for the continuation of its monthly Speaker Series, in which he will discuss his book John Wilkes Booth and the Women Who Loved Him, on May 29 at 7pm.

The book, released in 2018, recounts the history of the various and sometimes sordid romances of the quintessential American villain and assassin John Wilkes Booth. The author states that the narrative, rather than simply recounting Booth’s life, is about “the women whose lives took wild turns before and after Lincoln’s assassination—women whom have been condemned to the footnotes of history.” It is available for sale at the Woodman Museum’s giftshop.

The Woodman Museum’s connection to John Wilkes Booth has intrigued guests since its opening in 1916. The Museum campus, which includes the Woodman House (1818), the William Damm Garrison (1675), and the Keefe House (1825), also is home to the Hale House (1813). Senator John Parker Hale, the first openly abolitionist politician elected to Congress, was a native of Dover, NH and resided with his family on what is now Central Ave in the home that now belongs to the Museum. When the then senator lived in Washington, D.C., his daughter, Lucy Hale, entered into an interesting courtship with the young actor and southern sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Booth, who came from a family of actors, would win the heart of the senator’s daughter, shortly before he committed his heinous assassination of President Lincoln.

Author Ernest Lawrence Able is a distinguished faculty professor and an emeritus professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. He is a member of the Michigan Civil War Round Table, the Surratt Society, and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Able is also the author of more than forty scholarly and trade books and more than two hundred peer-reviewed articles and trade magazine articles.

The event, which is to be held at the Woodman House (182 Central Ave., Dover, NH 03820) is free to members and $5 for non-members.

Woodman House

Built in 1818 as the residence of Charles and Annie Woodman, The Woodman House today is a unique example of an authentic 20th-century museum. It now houses the Natural History and Veteran Memorial sections and contains extensive and well-preserved collections of local area interest.

The War Memorial Museum The top floor of the Woodman House houses an extensive collection of Civil War artifacts and memorabilia, as well as other collections from wars in which local citizens participated.

Among the many items of interest, one of the ten known “Napoleon” Civil War cannons, complete with its original caisson. Batteries of these guns stopped Pickett’s famous charge at Gettysburg.

Birds & Butterflies The Museum’s first curator, Melville J. Smith, created a series of wonderful dioramas to showcase the Museum’s excellent collection of birds. Shore and land birds in their natural settings and several specimens of Arctic Owls are displayed. An additional room is devoted to dioramas of tropical birds.

Several wall-mounted displays show off a beautiful assortment of jewel-toned moths, butterflies, and insects from nearby locales and the tropics.

Rocks and More Rocks An excellent mineral collection which includes nearly 1300 outstanding specimens. There are hundreds of fossils, collections of area rocks, and displays of dynamic geology.

Native American Artifacts A large display of Native American artifacts includes pieces from the Madbury Culture that lived in this area three to six thousand years ago, as well as the famous Red Paint Culture of nearby Maine. Interesting Incan items from South America are also on display.

Mammals & Marine Life  The museum’s first-floor gallery houses a large display of mammals and marine life with emphasis on the wildlife of New England. Included in the exhibit is a mounted specimen of the last cougar killed in New Hampshire — in nearby Lee in 1853, as well as a 10-foot polar bear killed by a Dover man near the Siberian coast in 1969. If sharks fascinate you, don’t miss the museum’s Marine Room where you can see a blue shark caught off the coast of Ogunquit Maine, or visually feast on a 27-pound lobster, a large green turtle, or a man-killing bivalve clam found off the Australian coast.

Snakes & Turtles A collection of snakes and turtles and a cabinet filled with botanical oddities are also housed in this section.

Childhood Gallery If you’re a doll lover, former or current Boy or Girl Scout, or if you simply want to show your children how kids used to entertain themselves, please visit our childhood room.

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