Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Residents Asked to Bring Stafford ‘Treasures from the Attic’ to Belmont on Sunday

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This Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., area residents are encouraged to bring historical items associated with Stafford County’s past to Belmont, Gari Melchers’ Home and Studio in Falmouth.

To help record the tales such objects and documents can tell during Stafford’s 350th anniversary, “Stafford Treasures from the Attic” is sponsored by the county Historical Society, the Stafford Museum and Cultural Center Foundation, and Gari Melchers’ Belmont.

Treasures from Attic

Experts will help people determine what they have and how to better preserve items. This might mean old photos, postcards, letters, journals/diaries, Stafford business letterhead or ledgers, furniture made in Stafford or from Stafford homes, artwork by Stafford artists or artwork of Stafford, dug-up relics and militaria from any period.

The society doesn’t want to obtain these items. With permission, they will be scanned or photographed and given right back to the owners as they wait.

“At our first public event, the Stafford Museum is striving to connect with longtime residents to explore the historical treasures that may be hidden from public view,” museum President Scott Mayausky said. “We are hoping to document artifacts, letters and photos. We also are eager to help solve mysteries that may accompany items or images.”

The museum foundation, which does not yet have a physical facility, will  launch a virtual museum in a month or two, said local historian Jane Conner, vice president of the Stafford Museum and Cultural Center.

“We’re trying to assemble and better access the full volume of historical treasures in the county, which would help us illustrate our rich history,” Conner said. “It would be useful to use some of these items in our virtual museum in our forthcoming website. The website will compliment the highly successful Facebook page we launched last year. This is an important part of the process to eventually gain an actual Stafford Museum.”

Conner said she hopes Sunday’s offering “will be a wonderful community event.”

Boy Scouts in Belmont’s parking lot will guide visitors to the historic site’s conference center and help carrying in artifacts, she said. At the center, members of the historical society and museum foundation will meet residents and help them fill out forms. People from Brooke Point High School’s Learn and Serve will scan and photograph items.

A panel of experts will help the community identify objects and help them care for their artifacts. Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library; Owen Conner, curator at the National Museum of the Marine Corps; and Al Conner, an expert on military history, will take part.

“We may ask them if they would loan an item to the museum, once we have a physical building,” Jane Conner said. “If not, we will ask if we could use the photograph that we take of it for our virtual museum.”

“Artifacts, which can be precisely located, can help us reconstruct the historical archeology of the Union troops in Stafford,” Al Conner said.

For example, a Vermont button found in the right place in the White Oak area could show the location of the Union army’s Vermont Brigade camps, he said.

If people have questions beforehand, Jane Conner said, they can email

“The museum is excited to work with Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the Stafford Historical Society on this special event,” Mayausky said. “The museum board hopes that this might become a regular offering to our community.”