2020 End-of-Year Recap
To all of our social media friends,
Thanks for your interest in the Spring-Ford Area Historical Society! We’re glad to have you as one of more than 6,500 people who follow us on Facebook. We realize that many of you only know us from our Facebook posts and may not be aware of all that the historical society does, or that we have a museum on Main Street in Royersford. Allow us to provide you with a year-end summary. If you aren’t currently a member, we ask that you consider joining the society. Our membership fees are very reasonable and they are our major source of income.
This year has been unprecedented, to say the least, and it did cause us to explore alternative ways of carrying out our mission, which is to preserve the history of the Spring-Ford area and tell its story. Major impacts have included the closure of the museum for almost five months, the cancellation of our four evening programs, and the loss of our major fundraiser: participation in Royersford’s Community Day.
While no one was permitted to visit the museum in-person, March through July, traffic on our Facebook page significantly increased this year. Our president emeritus, Bill Brunner, along with other society volunteers, regularly post a half dozen or so daily items of local historical interest. It is not uncommon for these posts to be viewed many thousands of times, as well as be shared across the country. In November alone, Facebook posts reached more than 31,000 people!
Readership of our online blog also increased with posts about the rail road in Royersford, Royersford’s oldest houses, the bridges crossing the Schuylkill River from Spring City to Royersford, Sanatoga Speedway, the Spring City Race Track, and the Spring City “Castle” (SC High School on New Street). Several guest bloggers contributed stories about growing up in the time of polio, the Sacred Heart Fair, and the adventures of a Bechtel’s Dairy milkman. An increasing number of users have signed onto our website for regular announcements about blog posts and updates for society events.
While we can’t hold our local history programs in-person, we are working with the Royersford Free Public Library to offer two Zoom-based online programs. Kelly Quigg at the library has been making arrangements with us and a program on the history of Royersford in World War I will be offered on Wednesday, December 16. A second program on Wednesday, January 6 entitled “A Night at the Museum” will feature items from our museum’s collection including several new acquisitions. Go to our website, (www.sfahs.com), for details on how to access these programs. If they are received well, we will consider offering additional online programs until such time as we can hold our programs at the Royersford VFW again.
Many in our area, while sheltering at home, chose to clean out and reorganize closets and crawl spaces, and we were the benefactors of that activity. Donations of items of local historical interest increased significantly this year. We are grateful that so many thought of the historical society when those “finds” were made. Keep them coming! Donated items of local interest are one of the major things that keep our museum going and enable us to tell the story of the area. Remember, we can scan two-dimensional items like photographs, adding them digitally to our archives, and returning the originals to you.
While a decreased electric bill was a positive side effect of the museum’s closure, most of the society’s other expenses continued without a break. Costs associated with maintaining our collection, archives, and website continued and we were also faced with a rather expensive project: replacing the 110-year old porch roof on the Lewin farm house. When the century-old tin was peeled back, we weren’t sure what would be found. Thankfully, the wooden decking didn’t look too bad for eleven decades! The tin was replaced with an aluminum standing seam roof and the old interior gutter system was replaced with exterior K-gutters. The cost of this major project was in excess of $10,000.
During 2020, our printer/photocopier was upgraded to a color model, and our quarterly newsletters are now printed in color. No one is more excited about this than Bill Brunner. Bill has been busy updating old and creating new inserts in full color. We are able to provide color newsletters at a modestly increased cost. Also upgraded was the museum’s Internet service and WiFi network.
The board of directors and other volunteers have been at work improving the curb-appeal of the farm house, focusing on a face-lift for the outside of the museum. This included the removal of overgrown mature shrubbery at the front of the farmhouse and pressure washing and painting of the newly exposed areas. New planting beds were established and more than 200 daffodil bulbs were recently added. Come spring, there will be an explosion of color! Older beds, including the ivy next to the cold cellar were reestablished, and new bricks were used to create a path to the mini-patio next to the screened-in porch. If you haven’t seen it, stop by and check out our newly painted navy-blue front door! This year, we also acquired red, white and blue bunting to be displayed on the porch of the farm house, Memorial Day through Labor Day, (see picture, below). Plans for 2021 include painting the front porch.
One project that is still in process is the addition of a chairlift to the second floor in the gallery. This chairlift will provide handicap access to the new military room, which we are hoping to officially open, post-Covid. The requirements for installing a chairlift in a public building are rather daunting…and expensive. So far plans and permits have set us back almost $2,000, and we haven’t purchased the lift yet! We are hoping to have it operational by the spring.
We would love to have you as one of our members! It is the support of individuals like you that makes the museum a reality and allows us to continue our mission of preserving the area’s history and telling its story. Click on the membership form to the left, or go to our website, (www.sfahs.com), and click on “Membership.” It is probably no surprise to inform you that our donations are down significantly this year. Many non-profits are struggling due to decreased activity as the result of the pandemic. If you are able, we ask that you consider an end-of-the year, tax-deductible donation to the historical society. Your gifts are most appreciated and we count on contributions above and beyond our very reasonable membership fees to continue our important work. Again, thank you!
As always, we are on the lookout for volunteers, especially individuals who would be willing to help co-host when the museum is open by appointment. At the present time, we are open by advance appointment only, (Sundays, 1:00-3:00 pm & Fridays, 11:00 am-3:00 pm), and are only able to accommodate one small group at a time. If you are interested in serving as a co-host, assisting an experienced volunteer, contact president Amy Demchik, by calling the museum at 610-948-7127.
Thank you for considering to support the museum as well as become a member! You make a difference in helping to preserve and share the story of our area. That story is a rich one, and with your membership and generous gifts, we will strive to continue to improve the work of the society. While none of us know what 2021 holds, still we are excited about the possibilities! Thank you for helping to make those possibilities realities!