CHILDS — 2017 was a year of incredible growth for the Cobblestone Society and Museum under the leadership of its new director, Doug Farley of Newfane.
“It was a wonderful year,” said Farley, who became director in March.
Under his leadership, the museum saw increased visitation, improved finances, implementation of new and successful programs and a membership drive that surpassed all expectations.
“We were hoping for 15 new members and we got 60,” Farley said.
He is excited about the prospect of further growing membership with the selection of Gail Johnson, current treasurer, as membership chair this year.
Johnson started the first membership dinner for Orleans Ducks Unlimited and has scheduled the Cobblestone Museum’s first membership dinner on April 25. Michael Zambito, chef at Zambistro’s in Medina, will cater the event.
Johnson’s affiliation with the Cobblestone Society goes back a long way. Her mother was the first treasurer of the Cobblestone Society when it was founded, and Gail was a member of the last class to attend the Cobblestone Schoolhouse when it closed in 1952.
Also in museum leadership, Sue Bonafini trade the title "volunteer coordinator" for that of assistant director.
The past year saw a series of successful programs, including a Ghost Walk, the first Antiques Appraisal Fair, a Sunday Painters class, a Historic Trades Fair, a Sports Widows’ Series of crafts and educational programs, a Summer Solstice Garden Party and a quilt show. All of those programs are returning this year, and more new programs will debut.
The first new program is a Maple Syrup Bus Tour in March, hosted by Georgia Thomas of Medina.
On May 4, a Progressive Organ Concert will feature three different historic organs in Albion and three musicians. The concert will begin at North America’s oldest cobblestone church and move to Christ Episcopal Church and First Baptist Church in Albion. A progressive meal will be served along the way.
The returning outhouse tour scheduled May 18 has appropriately been titled, “Here We GO Again.” Last year’s event was a sell-out.
A June 26 bus tour led by Bonafini and Farley will include stops at several businesses that have adaptive reuses for their historic cobblestone buildings.
On July 1, the annual Patriotic Service will take place at the 1834 Cobblestone Church.
Another new program which promises to be among the most unique is “A Day in the Life of a Cobblestone Family.”
Scheduled July 13, a guided tour will feature a snapshot of 19th century family life, including father’s life as a farmer, mother’s responsibilities in the cobblestone house, the children’s day at school and the family’s day-of-rest activities on Sunday.
Cobblestone Camp, summer classes for children, will debut in July. Bonafini will oversee as participants make a cobblestone house or log cabin and learn about the heritage on a cobblestone tour.
Yet to be announced is the date of a Cobblestone Society Garden Bus Tour, led by Sue Starkweather Miller, who will take visitors through some of Orleans County’s finest home and business gardens.
Of course, the Cobblestone Ghost Walk and Christmas Tour of Homes will be returning.
Bonafini urges anyone to explore volunteer opportunities at the Cobblestone Society Museum; stop by or call (585) 589-9013 to discuss how to get involved.