I remember the early years of my four and a half decades living in Hallowell. During those times I looked longingly down at the old mansion as I entered Vaughan Woods wondering what the stories behind that place might be. The old house with the big woods seemed mysterious, holding secrets I would never know, and I so wished that I could go in and learn all it had to tell.
Somehow about a dozen years ago, I was lucky enough to be asked to volunteer at the Homestead, which had recently become a museum. There was to be a recorder concert in the music room, and the staff wanted me to help decorate with old holiday ornaments so that the room might look the way it had many years earlier. I was invited to the concert, and I have been hooked on the marvelous place ever since. Sitting by the open fire in that gorgeous room watching three people put on an amazing historic concert was balm for my soul. The place has had me in its spell ever since.
I later became a volunteer museum interpreter, delving into the history of each of the seven generations of Vaughans and Gibsons. We volunteers are always happy to research, pull weeds, develop programs, serve as docents — anything that will enhance VWHH. We think it is an honor to be able to do so.
Great things have been happening throughout the past year— weekly house and garden tours in the warm months, two artist retreats in and around the Homestead, a May Day celebration, a June Garden party, Summer internships and a Fall Gathering for the community. Additionally, local third graders visited the Homestead to learn how historians love and use maps, and seventh graders volunteered time to care for the woods and grounds, developing a sense of stewardship for the natural wonders that this treasure provides to our community. The Gerald T. Mahoney Research Fellowship provided months of historic research done by a young woman pursuing a career in historic preservation.
Your donation will enhance existing programs and enable us to expand offerings at VWHH. I am thrilled that this venerable old place that seemed so mysterious years ago is now open and available to all who visit. Please join us, if you haven’t already, in our venture to expand the offerings of this incredible resource.
Best wishes for a wonderful Holiday season,
VWHH Board Member