History of Wakefield Museum

By Quinn O’Hara

Photo by Quinn O’Hara

In 1974, in the midst of the flooding of Milford Lake, seven Wakefield women organized a project to protect and preserve Wakefield’s historical artifacts.

Those women were Annetta Hayes, D. Lum, Evelyn Hawes, Gertrude Marshall, Betty Herman, Selma Brocker, and Marion Mason. Joy Shandy, the Wakefield Museum’s current Director, said that without their foresight, much of Wakefield’s history may have been lost to the floodwaters and time.

Once built, the original museum had just 2,400 square feet of space. In the years since, the Wakefield Museum has received several expansions to continue collecting and preserving old clothes, furniture, collectables, old bottles, photos, family histories, and other items with a connection to Wakefield. The most recent of those expansions, the Cooper-Newell Wing, was unveiled on May 25.

Because the museum receives no tax dollar support, its operation and expansions are entirely funded by donations from patrons and individuals who wish to see Wakefield’s history preserved, further emphasizing its status as a community-based custodian of local history: just as its founders intended when establishing the museum 50 years ago.

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