Historical Society president broadens interest and membership
By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The Marlborough Historical Society is committed to the preservation, education, and celebration of matters relating to the history of the city. President Janet Licht, who has led the group for eight years, has been totally committed to carrying out these objectives and has brought innovative ways to maintain its continuing success.
Growing in popularity and participation are several annual events – Christmas at the Farm, the Festival of Trees, chaired by Curator Bob Kane; an annual ice cream social; and the Marlborough High School scholarship program which is currently in progress. The scholarship program is open to any high school senior residing in Marlborough, regardless of the school he or she attends. For many years a $500 award was given in memory of Dorothy Medill, Claudia McCarty, and Frank Valianti, founding members of the Historical Society. Due to a generous donation this year, the award will be $1,000.
“Our 2014 scholarship program encourages students to learn more about our city's history and to spread that knowledge and enthusiasm through the most popular and powerful communication tools available today,” Licht said. “By expanding beyond a written research report, we hope to tap into the content creation skills of students by reaching new audiences, both young and old.” The winner will be announced in April at a special ceremony.
“We have seen firsthand how the web and social media can help take the history of Marlborough to far more people than will ever be able to attend a presentation. One of our local historians will spend hundreds and hundreds of hours on a presentation that only 50 or 100 people are able to attend, but now we'sl have literally thousands of people view the slides once they are posted online,” Licht said.
There has been a greater emphasis on getting youths acquainted with the society and all it has to offer. Cub Scouts and their parents have toured the Peter Rice Homestead at 377 Elm St., which houses the society and all its treasures. A program conducted last November, “Colonial Living in America” attracted a lot of young people who enjoyed the participation of several children, including Licht's grandchildren, Ashley, Kaylee, Kelsey, and Decker, all dressed in period costumes.
In line with the family involvement, she said her husband, Neil, speaks on behalf of the society at special programs and activities.
Founded in 1964, the group continues to grow and increase in membership. Although most of their events are held at the Peter Rice Homestead, members also spread their history of the city to interested residents. They recently conducted a special program at Christopher Heights Assisted Living facility. They demonstrated how to take raw (and sometimes smelly) wool fibers and spin them into all kinds of yarn. They also brought along a variety of wheels and drop spindles for residents to use as in the old days.
Licht attributes continued success of the Marlborough Historical Society to its enthusiastic and dedicated members.
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