Gar­den Club do­nates $5K to Kir­wan House Mu­seum

To be used to re­pair Su­per­storm Sandy dam­age

Record Observer - - News - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­times.com

CH­ESTER — When Su­per­storm Sandy tore through the re­gion dur­ing the sum­mer of 2012, it left a lot of dam­age in its wake. Some of that dam­age oc­curred at the his­toric James E. Kir­wan Mu­seum on Do­min­ion Road in Ch­ester.

While most of the ex­te­rior dam­age was re­paired soon af­ter, there is still quite a bit of work to be done in­side, and that’s why the mu­seum was se­lected as the spe­cial project of the 2016 Queen Anne’s County House and Gar­den Pil­grim­age.

On Thurs­day, June 30, of­fi­cials of the Queen Anne’s County Gar­den Club, the Kent Is­land Gar­den Club and the Mary­land House and Gar­den Pil­grim­age gath­ered at the mu­seum to present a check for $5,000 to the Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety, which has its head­quar­ters in the build­ing. The do­na­tion comes from the pro­ceeds of this year’s House and Gar­den Pil­grim­age, held April 30.

The Mary­land House and Gar­den Pil­grim­age asks the spon­sor­ing club each year to se­lect a project that the club wants to sup­port with some of the pro­ceeds from its tour, said Anne Foss, pres­i­dent of the Queen Anne’s County Gar­den Club. It was this year’s spon­sor­ing club, and it chose the Kir­wan House Mu­seum.

“Wa­ter in­tru­sion turned some of the plaster into mush,” said mu­seum cu­ra­tor Linda Col­lier. There is also wa­ter dam­age to walls and ceil­ings, and wall­pa­per and paint, es­pe­cially in the hall and par­lor, which are de­scribed as be­ing “par­tic­u­larly in bad con­di­tion.”

It was pointed out that while Sandy dealt the house a “se­vere blow,” most of the ex­ter­nal dam­age to the roof and win­dows has been re­paired.

“This was more than we hoped for,” Col­lier said of the do­na­tion. Her­itage So­ci­ety Pres­i­dent Jack Brod­er­ick called it a “sub­stan­tial” gift. The en­tire do­na­tion will go to­ward mak­ing the nec­es­sary in­te­rior re­pairs, he said.

The house and gen­eral store at­tached to it date from about 1889, and it was the home and busi­ness lo­ca­tion of State Sen. James E. Kir­wan for many years. He was a com­man­der in the old Mary­land Oys­ter Navy and a busi­ness­man with many di­verse busi­ness in­ter­ests, which were car­ried out on what is now mu­seum prop­erty. He is per­haps best known for lead­ing the bat­tle against a gov­ern­ment pro­posal to con­vert Kent Is­land into a weapons prov­ing ground dur­ing World War I.

Kir­wan’s gen­eral store was a long­time fix­ture in the com­mu­nity and re­mained in op­er­a­tion un­til the late 1940s. It was do­nated to the Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety in 1994 by Kir­wan’s grand­daugh­ter Mary Cather­ine Kir­wan. It has been re­stored to its ap­pear­ance in the pe­riod 1890 to 1920 and 80 per­cent of the ar­ti­facts and fur­ni­ture in the build­ing are orig­i­nal to the house and store.

The Kir­wan House Mu­seum, lo­cated at 641 Do­min­ion Road, is open the first Saturday of each month from noon un­til 4 p.m. and cos­tumed so­ci­ety do­cents pro­vide tours. For more in­for­ma­tion log onto www. ken­tis­land­her­itage­so­ci­ety.com.

PHOTO BY JACK SHAUM

The Queen Anne’s County Gar­den Club presents a check for $5,000 to the James E. Kir­wan Mu­seum to as­sist in re­pair­ing dam­age caused by Su­per­storm Sandy. From left are Linda Elias, Kent Is­land Gar­den Club Pres­i­dent; Queen Anne’s County Gar­den Club Pres­i­dent Anne Foss; Kai Marchant, Mary­land House and Gar­den Pil­grim­age Chair; Kir­wan House Cu­ra­tor Linda Col­lier; and Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety Pres­i­dent Jack Brod­er­ick.

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