Explore Milford’s rich history at the museum

Since 1983, the Milford Museum on Walnut Street in downtown Milford has aimed to showcase the history of the people, businesses and past events of the city along the Mispillion River. We recently connected with Museum Executive Director Claudia Leister and Museum Operations Manager Nicole Rogers, formerly with the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, to share what’s new at the Milford Museum.

Learn more about the Museum by visiting them online at www.milforddemuseum.org, calling 302-424-1080, emailing info@milfordmuseum.org or stopping by for a visit at 121 S. Walnut St. in Milford.

The Milford Museum is a brick building and former post office located in downtown Milford on S. Walnut Street.

Q: What makes the Milford Museum a special place to visit?

A: The Milford Museum is special because it shares the stories of people, past and present, who have called Milford home. Small towns everywhere are very similar. Visitors will hopefully see something that will spark a memory to their past.

The Milford Museum holds over 13,000 unique artifacts that tell the story of the City of Milford and its surrounding areas. The museum highlights both the small-town life that many are familiar with, but also the industries that allowed small towns like Milford to thrive. There is something for everyone within the Milford Museum, from shipbuilding to medical history. Anyone can come in and find an interest in one of our exhibits.

Q: How does the museum collaborate with the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs?

A: The Milford Museum is housed in Milford’s first post office building dated 1910. When the post office moved in 1963, Health & Social Services used the facility for 20 years. Then, because it was a federal building, the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs assumed control. They leased it to the City of Milford and the Museum became its occupant in 1983. The Division is responsible for the care and repair of the building.

Q: What is one of your favorite items or exhibits at the museum and why?

A: There was never an inventory of the collections until Claudia Leister started in 2011. She has thoroughly enjoyed discovering what is here and sharing these unique items through exhibits. It took 11 years, but Leister finally installed the “Then & Now” exhibit to showcase the circa-1930s Permanent Wave Machine for hair curling! Before Leister started at the Museum, she never knew that the small, wooden spoons to eat ice cream were invented here.

Nicole Rogers’s favorite exhibit is the Medical Exhibit. Medical history is one of the most fascinating parts of human history, and to see the evolution of medicine, especially in a town that has become a major hub of medical facilities, is really fun. She loves showing people the dentist’s chair at the Museum — it looks like the most uncomfortable thing in the world. Visitors really get a kick out of it!

Q: What are some upcoming events or exhibits that people should be aware of?

A: The Museum just held its third, very successful fundraiser “Hippiefest” at the Causey Mansion on August 20. The next special event will be the Ghost Walk on Saturday, Oct. 22, where guided tours will stroll around town and share real stories of local murder and mayhem.  Check out our website for tickets and more information.

The Museum will also be open Saturday, Dec. 3. In December, the museum will be decking the halls with holiday decor, as well.

Q: How can people support the Milford Museum?

A: The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. The Museum is always looking for collection items to help share Milford’s stories. The newest exhibit talks about our Black community. People are encouraged to share stories and allow Museum staff to copy early Milford photographs.

Donations can be made online or in person, whether they be with cash, check or card. Monetary donations help the Museum fulfill its Annual Fund goals, which supports the mission to preserve and share the history of Milford for generations to come. Collections donations are also more than welcome. The Museum also is in need of volunteers for docentry, events and collections. Aside from volunteers and donations, people can give back to the Milford Museum by spreading the word to family and friends of our mission. They can’t do it without community support!

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: The Museum has been extremely fortunate to recently receive a Community Reinvestment Fund grant from the State of Delaware for the construction of a multi-purpose classroom. This will allow the Museum to offer more public programs, additional collections storage space and a handicap-accessible restroom facility.

Related Topics:  , , , , , , , ,