By Morgan Pilz
Calvin B. Taylor House will reopen in beginning of July; online activities still offered
(June 18, 2020) Having skipped its traditional Memorial Day weekend opening because of statewide health-safety restrictions, the Calvin B. Taylor Museum will reopen to the public at the beginning of July.
The restored 19th century house-turned-museum has been offering online activities during its closure, and accepting contributions to its covid-19 collection.
“We have decided to follow along with what the town is doing, and we will not be opening for the month of June,” Melissa Reid, president of the Taylor House Museum, said. “We felt like because the town of Berlin has canceled their events for June, that was a good guideline for the museum.”
The Calvin B. Taylor House was built by 1832 for Isaac Covington and his family, who lived in Berlin during the Civil War. The Covingtons also owned plantations in Snow Hill and traded in the West Indies. Isaac’s estate inventory suggests he was a store owner.
The most famous occupant of this house was Calvin B. Taylor, who was a teacher, lawyer and founder of the Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company. He and his wife, Mattie, lived in the house from the 1890s until his death in 1932. During their occupancy, they made several changes to the house, including a back-wing addition and the installation of stained-glass windows.
The museum shares the history of the town throughout the centuries, and is currently creating a gallery that will demonstrate how the pandemic affected Berlin life.
On Thursday, March 26, the museum’s Facebook page asked members of the community to help create “an archive of how covid-19 is affecting lives in Berlin.” The museum has been asking for voice memos, letters, diary entries, photos or other memorabilia to be used for its collection.
According to Reid, there have not been a lot of emails responding to the request, though she does not believe items are not being stored for donation later.
“I actually have a whole stack of things that I’m collecting personally that I’m going to give to the museum,” she said. “So I think what we’ll do is, once we get a little bit closer to opening, we will remind the community that we are looking for things.
“So I think as we navigate through this, people will feel more comfortable leaving things possibly at the museum,” she continued. “But currently, we’re still really operating on very few people actually physically at the museum. We’re doing a lot of work from home and checking on things periodically, but we haven’t set up a place or a way for people to drop things off just yet.”
The contributions of community members will be archived at the museum for future use. This is not the first time the museum has collected people’s personal recollections. The museum has archived collections dating back to the Civil War.
For more information, or to submit voice memos or other stories about covid-19, email the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.