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Museum honors history of Berlin women

Image courtesy of the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum
A black and white photo displayed inside the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum in Berlin shows an image from the past of Main Street and the iconic Rayne’s Reef restaurant.

By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(Oct. 11, 2018) Women are the driving force of Berlin’s downtown sector, considering that they either own or operate 80 percent of the businesses there.

With that in mind, the staff at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum decided to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Town of Berlin’s incorporation with an exhibit honoring the “Year of the Woman” campaign organized by Angela Reynolds.

“She asked different organizations to take part … and asked our museum if we would be interested in doing a ‘Women in History’ display,” Museum Curator Susan Taylor said.

The display will be part of a town celebration this Saturday on Artisan’s Green, sponsored by Atlantic General Hospital.

“I have a start. It’s a work in progress,” Taylor said on Monday. The exhibit includes profiles on botany professor and philanthropist Mary Humphreys, as well as Mattie Taylor, wife of Calvin B. Taylor.

The museum is also featuring an “Images of the Past” exhibition on Berlin history between 1900 and 1950.

“We read 50 years of newspapers at the Snow Hill library and we have little excerpts,” Taylor said. “We tried to pull out things from Berlin, and then national events too, to give you a timeframe.

“As part of that, we did oral histories, interviewing a lot of our local people and just asking them what the town was like and what they remembered,” she continued. “We have two books of that [transcribed].”

One of the two books is dedicated to wartime remembrances.

“A lot of people should come in and see this exhibit while it’s here, because this is a great place to start your tour of the town and learn where we came from,” Taylor said.

Additionally, board member Patricia Dufendach has put together a World War I exhibit on display at the museum. Other subjects profiled in museum exhibits include “The Father of Gospel Music” Rev. Dr. Charles Albert Tindley, race horse War Admiral, and the Berlin Fire Company.

As for why women have been such a powerful presence in the town?

“I think women are the ones that get things done,” Taylor said with a laugh.

Museum Treasurer Sandy Savage joked it was because women were better at multitasking.

“The men are employed with other corporations [outside the town] and the women are here in town, at home, and then they started the businesses to have something to do after the kids went to school,” she said.

Visit the museum on 208 North Main Street in Berlin, or on the web at Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., through the end of October.