METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – Downtown Marlborough will become a living museum this summer.
The city will be the first Massachusetts community to establish a Museum in the Streets – a free walking tour that showcases Marlborough’s historical identity through a series of informational panels at downtown landmarks.
Bob Kane, Marlborough Historical Society vice president, suggested the idea after seeing a Museum in the Streets while vacationing in Maine a few years ago. Society members worked for the past 16 months to bring the initiative to fruition, said Robert Fagone, chairman of the Marlborough Historical Commission.
Museum in the Streets – launched by historian Patrick Cardon – is an international series of walking tours that foster a sense of historical identity, encourage preservation of local sites and provides information about stories, events and traditions. Communities in Connecticut, Maine, New York, Virginia, Michigan and Minnesota have established a Museum in the Streets.
The tour, expected to kick off on Memorial Day, will begin at the Marlborough Public Library and Monument Square and loop around to East Main and Maple Streets, stopping at 24 historical sites. Each site will consist of panels containing historical texts, photos and illustrations.
There will be two location map panels – one at the library and another in front of City Hall – to guide visitors through the tour. Pocket maps will also be available.
“It’s a really nice loop,” said Fagone. “We have so much history that goes back to the Revolutionary War. This is going to be a wonderful thing.”
The museum will highlight some of the city’s most famous residents, including William Dawes, who rode alongside Paul Revere on his midnight ride to alert the colonial militia that the British troops were marching from Boston to Concord on April 18, 1775. George Washington called him one of the Revolutionary War’s greatest heroes.
“He was instrumental in the Revolutionary War. A real character,” said Fagone.
Dawes owned a dry goods store on Marlborough’s Main Street.
Museum goers will learn about Crystal Eastman, a leader in the fight for women’s suffrage and co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. Eastman’s father was a pastor at the First Congregational Church in Marlborough, said Fagone.
The project is a joint effort between the city, Marlborough Historical Commission, Marlborough Downtown Village Association and the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation. Funding for the project came, in part, from a $5,000 Mass Cultural Council grant the city received last year. The Marlborough Brigham Family Trust, the Avidia Bank Foundation and Main Street Bank Foundation also provided financial support.
“The Museum in the Streets is yet another first for Massachusetts that is happening right here in Marlborough,” Meredith Harris, executive director of the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation, said in a press release. “We are proud to be at the forefront of a movement that both embraces local history and champions urban development in the region. It’s yet another reason for people to come to our city.”
This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.