History and FAQ
When was the Museum founded/opened? What about the building the Museum
is housed in? History and community have always been key elements of
life in the historic riverfront port of Kinsale, where in 1977, three
young Kinsale natives -- architect Harry Lee Arnest and historians Frank
Bailey Jr., and Walter B. Norris Jr. -- spearheaded the creation of
the Kinsale Foundation.
They were joined by other area businessmen and
historians like Earl Carter Moss of Moss Chevrolet, Edna Sanford Douglas,
the Bevanses of Bevans Oyster Co. and the Cardens of Potomac Supply
in forming Kinsale Foundation. They envisioned a group that would
welcome newcomers to the historic village and unite in protecting Kinsale’s
environment -- both cultural and physical.
In the ensuing years, the
foundation has bought property for public use, as well as collecting
and safe-guarding documentation on local history. The Foundation
co-hosts holiday gatherings with Cople District Volunteer Fire Department.
The Museum building (which at various times housed a tavern, a butcher
shop, and many other businesses) was given to the Foundation by Arnest's
widow in 1989. After extensive restoration, Kinsale Museum opened
to the public in 1993.
The two work hand in hand to promote preservation
of Kinsale, which became a historic district in 2005. The
Foundation has since bought the old Ice Cream Parlor and has created
gallery space there.
- How would you describe the feel of the museum?
- A welcoming place where stories are brought to life.
- How is it funded?
- Dues and donations from members and area businesses support the Museum and Community Events.
- Is there a gift shop?
- Yes! There are many items of nautical genre, including handmade soaps, beautiful pillows, vases, art cards and much more including: jewelry, books, prints, framed art, keepsakes, and souveniers.
- Are there any special
programs and/or partners that the Museum hosts or works with annually?
- Crafters, artisans and other exhibitors are invited to setup in the Park starting at
5 p.m. on the closest Saturday to July 4th prior to the commencement of
community fireworks on the Kinsale Bridge at 9:15 p.m.; as well as the 3rd
Saturday of every September during Kinsale Day, and at Noon on the 1st Saturday
in December during Christmas in Kinsale. Annual events include an Easter
Egg Hunt and the annual Summer Dance and Silent Auction.
- What significant exhibits make Kinsale Museum stand apart
- An extensive collection of photographs, scrapbooks, and other
mementoes bring the past alive in the present. The water is ever present
in vivid artworks by Phil Arnest and John Barber, Melvin Foxwell's Northumberland
and the Estelle Leonard, several skipjack models, other boat models on loan
from Turner Waughtel and the Sandy family, photos of steamboats, and exhibit
about the Floating Theatre which Edna Ferber detailed in her book "Showboat".
Kinsale is a port.