View From the Porch
In each edition of the Historical Society’s newsletter, the current President uses this column to capture how the Historical Society is keeping its mission to preserve and promote Moorestown history. As the new president of the Historical Society of Moorestown, I am honored that I now have the privilege to fill this column.
I love to listen to people’s life stories, and some of Moorestown’s long-time residents are great story tellers. I now wish I could have participated in one of Mary Peacock’s Christmas plays, or tasted a fresh doughnut from the Peter Pan Bakery, or bowled on a team at the old bowling alley that stood on Chester Ave. What I always find interesting in these stories is that at their core there is a powerful connection to community. The storyteller is sharing his or her recollections, but the memories are always about people sharing an aspect of the town. To me, that sense of community is why we exist as an Historical Society. We have taken on the challenge of preserving the objects that represent Moorestown history. But the wedding gowns, photographs, diaries, and newspaper clippings (among other things) are not by themselves the inheritance that we are safekeeping. Intrinsically, each of these objects contains an aspect of Moorestown’s long-held sense of community, and that spirit of community is the underlying heritage that we preserve.
In addition to the materials we collect, our exhibits and programs also serve a role in promoting community. When people of different generations and backgrounds gather at our New Jersey History Speaks lecture series, they have the opportunity to connect and learn together with their neighbors in town. When visitors view our History Rocks! exhibit, which closes at the end of June, they are reminded that we are part of a larger community that spans centuries into the past—a profound reminder that we are also connected to future generations that will inhabit this region. And, when Moorestown’s third graders visit the beautifully preserved and maintained Smith-Cadbury mansion this month for the annual third grade tours, they get one of their first opportunities to absorb the years and years of community building that make this town unique.
Community is always threatened in a society prone to faction. We divide along party lines during important community discussions. We fail to acknowledge people outside of our immediate neighborhood. We drift into the safety of exclusive and fail to appreciate the value of inclusive. Therefore, we must be involved in moments that promote community. This summer, the Historical Society will do just that.
Look for us on June 3rd at Moorestown Day—an excellent opportunity to visit the Smith-Cadbury mansion and escape the heat! Say hello to us when we march down Chester and Main during Moorestown’s annual 4th of July parade. And, I want you this summer to send me your pictures and stories which capture how you see the heritage of community alive in Moorestown today. We would love to feature you and your family on our Facebook page!
As always, we appreciate your generous and continued support. We are unable to carry out our mission without our amazing members, and we truly hope that you plan to renew your membership with us for the 2017-2018 season. Your generosity will help us continue to preserve and maintain our archives and library. Also, because of your support, we are planning exhibits and programs that commemorate Moorestown’s role in World War I; we are preparing our always exciting Ghost Tours which will return in October; and we are lining up guests for the third season of our New Jersey History Speaks lecture series which launches this fall.
I hope to see you in the community…
Mickey DiCamillo, President
to view a color PDF of this June 2017 Newsletter click here.
Top right: Model of Smith-Cadbury Mansion, built by Bill Rose. Image shows north side of the house with the restored side porch.