Harford Historical Society to hold sneak-peek event at future county history museum
May 11—Spring into history at the Historical Society of Harford County's grand reopening celebration on Saturday, May 20, from 2-6 p.m. at the Historical Society headquarters, 143 North Main Street in Bel Air. It is a free, rain-or-shine event.
The society is reopening its building to the public after being closed since 2020, while restoration efforts were completed on the former Bel Air post office building, which were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The building was built in the 1930s and the Historical Society assumed control of the building in 1995.
"We still have restoration work to go, but we're doing a soft launch of the museum that we're building in the lobby and the restoration work that's been done so far," said Chris Potts, executive director of the Historical Society. "We want to give people a sense of where we are and what's coming next."
The organization held online events during the closure, and volunteers have been working onsite doing cataloguing and archival work. Potts said volunteers are being recruited.
"The work that we do here is ongoing," Potts said. "Volunteers are the backbone of the organization. We're excited about the energy and ideas that the new volunteers are bringing. The longstanding volunteers have been very supportive and mentoring the new ones."
One of the county's Harford 250 celebrations, the event will feature an outdoors section with music by the band Six Feet Apart. Double Groove Brewery will be on hand to host a Harford 250 Beer Garden, and there will be a variety of local food trucks.
Harford 250 is the county's sestercentennial celebration that started in March and continues for an entire year with a variety of events throughout the county.
Inside the society's headquarters, an array of interactive displays will encourage attendees to vote on some of the exhibits they would like to see at the museum, Potts said, as well as select favorite photos, preview selected artifacts, marvel at bygone fashions, and test their knowledge of famous places around the county.
Activities for kids will include a sand table archeological dig and a family scavenger hunt with prizes.
The highlight of the event will be a behind-the-scenes peek at the newly emerging Harford County History Museum, with a curated display of Old Baltimore artifacts. Old Baltimore was Harford's first county seat in the late 1600′s and early 1700′s.
The Morning Sun
The artifacts were discovered at an archeological dig in 1999-2000 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, which was the site of Old Baltimore. They have been stored at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in Calvert County.
The Historical Society and Aberdeen Proving Ground have partnered to bring some of the artifacts to the museum for a first-time exhibit.
Also, in recognition of May as National Preservation Month, Harford County government will be presenting its 25th Historic Preservation Awards from 2 to 3 p.m.
County historic preservation planner Jacob Bensen will announce the winners of this year's awards, which honor excellence in historic preservation within Harford County in four categories: Preservation Project Awards, Special Preservation Awards, Local Government Preservation Awards and Preservationist Honor Awards.
Bensen and members of the Society's restoration team also will be sharing pictures, showing blueprints of the building that date back to the 1930s, and discussing the work that has gone into preserving the Society's headquarters and restoring the lobby space for the museum.