Brightside: Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, new exhibits to show
BERLIN, Md. – The iconic Calvin B. Taylor Museum in Berlin brings history to life for community members. Now with the addition of two new exhibits, those with the museum say it’s bringing a whole new meaning to history for the community, by the community.
“The Eastern Shore is also really a dynamic history. You think about Harriet Tubman, you think about Fredrick Douglass, Rev. Charles Albert Tindley, there are so many interesting stories just waiting to be discovered,” says Melissa Reid, President of the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum.
In the coolest small town on the Eastern shore of Maryland, Berlin centers itself around the history that has made it what it is today, and the Calvin B. Taylor House museum puts it on display, year-round. “I think the museum is trying hard to be relevant to our community because without the community we’re just going to be a building full of dusty things that nobody cares about,” says Reid.
The new Charles Albert Tindley and Briddell family exhibits are both on display, which tells the intricate stories of these influential eastern shore families. “It’s nice that both of these exhibits have sort of ties of this giving back to your community and at the Taylor House Museum we feel very strongly that as the sort of resource for local history that we give back to the community because history is only relevant or only important if it’s relevant to yourself,” says Reid.
Charles Albert Tindley is coined as the founding father of gospel music, and he grew up right in Berlin before heading to Philadelphia. Tindley’s family members alive today helped share his story, with the help of audio and visuals to truly bring him back to life. “We knew with Charles Albert Tindley because of his stature in the church community with his music and his hymns and the stories about his voice and his command of a large crowd that we felt like we couldn’t not include audio and visual in this exhibit,” says Reid.
Meanwhile, right down the hall is the Briddell family exhibit. We’re told it was put together in collaboration with direct descendants of George and Martha Briddell, the first African Americans to purchase property along flower street and the Kitts Branch Tributary of Trappe Creek, known as Briddletown. “That’s quite an amazing feat that anybody anywhere in the United States has managed to hold onto the family property for over 100 and some years.” Reid adds, “So it’s really nice that so many people have a piece of the exhibit which I think speaks to Berlin and why I think Berlin is such a wonderful small town because of that sense of community.”
Now those with the museum say they can really engage audiences with more learning opportunities. With community members continuously making connections with the history that is their history. “That is something they’re going to remember and it makes a connection to this museum which again makes it relevant in a place that they want to come back and learn more, and the more that we present stories of our community then the more people want to come,” says Reid.
We’re told these types of exhibits can spark interest in community members taking account of their history while also being a part of history themselves. “Everyone loves a good story, and the Taylor House Museum has some fascinating stories to tell,” says Reid. “We are living history now and I think it’s important that we try and remember to keep track of that because once it’s gone it’s gone.”
A new mural of Reverand Dr. Charles Albert Tindley is on the side of Bruder Hill on Commerce Street.
The two exhibits are on display now, and you can visit the museum on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 11 to 3 p.m. You can also visit their website for more information.