The 3rd annual “Evening at the Museum – a Candlelit Tour of the Past” was held on October 19 and 20th at the Downing House Museum complex in Memphis.
Local actors from the Memphis Community Players volunteered their time and talent to portray historical figures by narrating life stories to groups of patrons as they participated in a walking tour held in the twilight by lantern and candlelight.
The activity provided the community an affordable opportunity to visit the museum and participate in a fun and cultural activity with family, neighbors, and friends.
The US Bank awarded the Museum a grant for $1,700 which helped with expenses for the evening event as well as a free outdoor movie hosted by the museum on September 22nd.
There were more than 95 ticketholders for each evening of the shows. The evening began with a welcome from the upper veranda by an early pioneer to Memphis (Dr. Harlo Donnellson). Small groups were then led through each character’s station by volunteers dressed in period clothing. Tour leaders included: Angie and Elle Wentworth, Jenna and Bryleigh Ward, Mary Ann Kirkpatrick, Brooke Wineinger, Debbie Gaj, Melanie Holloway, Leslie Clark, Larry Riney, Janet Hamilton, Michella Hull, Kim Nicoli, Marie Alexander, and Adam Slayton.
The bell ringers clanged a dinner bell to signal the times to move to see each character after the five minute narrations. Bell ringers were Julie Clapp and Josiah Holloway.
The talented actors from the Memphis Community Players included: Lynnette Dyer – portraying an orphan from the orphan train, Teresa Cotton portraying Ella Ewing, Jeff Dyer portraying Tom Horn, Frank Wineinger talking about the Conestoga Wagon and oxen team, Joe Fulk portraying William G. Downing, Lori Fulk portraying Minnie Bence from the Bence School of Music, Angela Westhoff portraying Callie Smith the superintendent of rural school in Scotland County, Scott Westhoff portraying Mr. Barnett the father of the soldier in the field, and Barbara Blessing portraying William Downing’s niece and describing the life and death of Dr. Aylward.
Ticket sales and advertising were handled by Pamela Shalley, Debbie Seamster, and Sheila Berkowitz. Refreshments were prepared and served by Elaine Forrester, June Kice, AnnaLynn Kirkpatrick, and Dr. Harlo Donnellson. Local 4-H members baked and donated 12 dozen cookies and Casey’s General Store donated 10 dozen cookies for the event.