After two years, many hurdles, and lots of persistence, we finally have the green light to build our new archives center at Munroe Tavern!
The new archives center will be a barn-like structure built onto the back of Munroe Tavern, and will have three floors of usable space. The main floor will serve as exhibit space and a reading room, while the basement and upstairs will serve as storage space.
Our archives are currently housed in the basement of the Hancock-Clarke House. While this space is climate controlled and safe for the archives, it’s not handicap accessible and is not an ideal location for staff, volunteers, visitors, and researchers. It’s also not big enough.
Lexington Historical Society cares for documents, photographs, diaries, and letters, all of which serve as a window into the community’s past. If we don’t move the archives to a new building, we’ll no longer be able to accept new archival donations because the Hancock-Clarke basement is nearly maxed out. The new building will allow us to house our archives in an even better space, while still leaving room for more accessions.
Earlier this month, a team of archaeologists dug in the ground where the building will be located, but found nothing of significance (that’s a good thing!). We are scheduled to break ground for construction in early May, and expect to complete the project in late fall of 2018. Moving the archives will take a bit longer, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
For more information on this project, please visit http://www.lexingtonhistory.org/new-archives-center.html, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
To support the archives center with a financial contribution, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 862-1703.
-Erica Dumont, Executive Director
Last summer, while helping our Archives Manager Elizabeth do some organizing and accessioning (adding an item to our collection), I came across a document from 1737. The history nerd in me always loves reading documents that are nearly 300 years old, but this one in particular caught my eye. A much later transcription of the document is below, but the gist of the original document describes a fight over a lemon. Say what?
To wit, "David Comee of Lexington . . . Innholder . . . saith that on ye [the] twenty fourth day of May . . . one James Croseby of Billerica . . . was at ye dwelling house of ye Complainant . . . and did there and then with force & violence take a Lemon from ye Complainant and Refused to Return it and was going away upon which ye Compt [Complainant] followed him out of his house and ye Sd [said] James Crosbee without any just provocation took up a stone & struck the Complainant on ye side of his head with ye Stone: bruised ye flesh, broke ye skin, forthed blood & wounded him sorely on ye head."
I'm sure the experience was very unpleasant for David Comee, but I confess I (and other staff) have giggled about this document many times since its discovery. The question remains, though. Why in the world did James Croseby/Crosbee need a lemon so badly?
-Stacey Fraser, Collections and Outreach Manager
Featuring the voices of Lexington Historical Society permanent staff and occasional guest authors.