There is much to remember about Sally and her interest in the community of Arden and its unique history. She was instrumental in leading the effort to preserve our history for all of us to enjoy and to share with future generations. Sally was part of that very special group of women we have come to call the Founding Mothers of the Arden Craft Shop Museum.
Those of you who knew Sally remember that she would be the best person to tell the story. And the best way to tell what Sally did for the archives is to quote her own words. We are fortunate to have a copy of the remarks she gave at the opening of the Museum in October, 2004.
Sally told the audience, “What an exciting moment this is for the Ardens, for all of us, and especially me. The dream began 15 years ago with the official formation of the Arden Archives Committee in 1989. In the beginning it wasn’t so much a dream as a panic. Oh, some of us had been conscious of the need to preserve the story of Arden, the 1980 celebration committee had gotten a grant from the Delaware Humanities Forum and created the first edition of the Arden Oral History; but it was the death of Virginia Shaw - Arden’s professional historian and archivist- that brought on the panic attack. Virginia could answer any question about who did or said what when in town; we counted on her official memory.
When Virginia died, 5 of us looked around and realized it was time to get serious about Arden’s history. So, the first committee was formed - Jean Brachman, Joan Colgan, Pat Liberman, Ethel Montfort and I began gathering art, sculpture, iron work, and files from attics and basements around town. For several years, the bust of Frank Stephens lived in my living room- my children draped him in tinsel for Christmas and gave him a mask for Halloween.
But all was not easy. Folks began to grumble about using town funds for a rental. Talk of a private little club for old ladies was heard around the byways. So, we had to give up the Red House (At the Craft Shop). Now, where do we go? We couldn’t just pack it into Rae’s basement. A space was carved out for the collection on the Buzz Ware (Village Center) stage- Pete Renzetti built a temporary wall to secure our temporary home.
Museum & Archives Committee