What goes on at the Washington History Club?
The Gunn Historical Museum’s Washington History Club has proven to be a “wildly popular” format for community storytelling, says Stephen Bartkus, curator of the museum, where a well-attended discussion of the origins and history of the Washington Volunteer Fire Department was held this summer.
“We have been meeting both in the morning and evening to accommodate different schedules for the past six years,” explained Bartkus. “The History Club has brought current and former residents together to share their rich memories of Washington.”
Dimitri Rimski, moderator of the Washington History Club at Night, adds, “Oral history is living history, the wealth of a community is its people and their memories. It’s not just papers and objects, without the context of their lives those things become silent. Granted every community is unique, but there is something about life in these small towns that is at the very heart of the American experience, and Washington is an exemplar of that.”
The Washington History Club was started by Gunn Historical Museum volunteer Willie Smith in 2012. His goal for the history discussion group was to gather people who share an interest in the history of Washington to talk about it, look up information, and share memories.
Other topics covered in recent months have included the Washington Ambulance Association, The Dramalites, Christmas Memories in Washington, New Preston, and the Washington Supply Company.