During its off-season, the Newark History Museum curates new exhibits.
Mary Torbey, the Collections Care team leader at the museum, said exhibits change every season as a tradition to allow residents and visitors to see new and different collections. For the 2021 season, the museum has debuted two new exhibits: 100th Anniversary of the Newark Country Club and “Did You Grow Up in Newark?”
The museum worked during the off-season on these exhibits with university students, according to Torbey. Claire Bullard and Morrigan Kelly assisted in designing and assembling the exhibits.
Torbey said that the museum was approached by the Newark Country Club looking to collaborate for its 100th anniversary.
“So, this year, we were actually approached by the country club because they were celebrating their 100th anniversary, and they wanted to see if we could do a collaboration together to help display some of the artifacts from the country club and share the anniversary with the greater community,” Torbey said.
According to Torbey, the Newark Country Club loaned the museum the majority of the objects in the exhibit. The artifacts have never been displayed to the general public before, as they had only been exhibited at the country club.
“The Newark Country Club loaned us just about everything that’s in the country club exhibit, and these are things that have been displayed at the clubhouse, but they’ve never been displayed to the general public,” Torbey said. “So, this is the first time the general public would get the opportunity to see some of these objects. I’m sure most people in the general public wouldn’t know that … the clubhouse itself was originally a converted barn.”
Torbey said some of the objects exhibited include an oil painting of the original Newark Country Club, a putter that belonged to a former golfer at the country club named Mary McDowell, photographs and a mannequin that represents a modern golfer at the country club.
“One of my favorites is … a portrait of Joe Aneda Jr. … who was the golf pro at the country club from [1952-1976],” Torbey said. “The portrait was done by Tubby Raymond, who everyone knows [was a] football coach at the University of Delaware.”
The “Did You Grow Up in Newark?” exhibit, originally called “Growing Up in Newark,” is a collection of objects and photographs that are meant to bring nostalgia to those who grew up in the area. Rather than long explanations of objects, the exhibit consists of a series of questions related to the experience of growing up in Newark.
“The idea is that we want to display several different objects from different time periods that would provoke memories of growing up in Newark,” Torbey said. “We covered decades from the 1920s to the 1990s, and instead of giving a lot of explanation about the artifacts, we just wanted to try to jog people’s memories and provoke thought and discussion about what it meant to grow up specifically in Newark, what was special about growing up in Newark.”
According to Torbey, the idea to change the exhibit to a discussion-based exhibit was from a volunteer named Beth Over.
“Some of the other volunteers came up, specifically a volunteer named Beth Over, who came up with the idea,” Torbey said. “She pulled up a shoe-horn from Pillnick’s Shoes, which was a famous shoe store on Main Street that sold children’s shoes, and she said, ‘We should have a sign next to it that says, “Did you buy your Buster Browns at Pillnick’s?’’’ and that kind of just kicked off the whole idea … so each one of the exhibits has a little question next to it.”
Some of the objects displayed in the “Did You Grow Up in Newark?” exhibit include a mannequin wearing gear from local swim clubs, a t-shirt from Wonderland Records, pictures of Santa Claus visiting the Newark Shopping Center and a photograph of a 1924 Newark High School senior trip to Washington, D.C. Torbey said these objects came from the museum’s archives, which people have been donating to since the museum opened in 1989.
“The museum came into existence in 1989, and people have been donating things since then; so we just kind of reached into our archives and pulled out things that had been donated to us over the course [of several] years and tried to find things that were representative of a youth spent in Newark, Delaware and tried to represent many different decades,” Torbey said.
The Newark History Museum is located at 429 South College Ave and is open Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment. Admission is free.