Longyear Welcomes Members at Lynn Opening Celebration on September 13, 2014

Longyear Trustee Ellen Williams speaks at the opening celebration.

The crisp autumn evening of September 13, 2014, began with Longyear staff busily preparing for the opening celebration at the Mary Baker Eddy Historic House in Lynn. At 5:30 pm guests were welcomed into the tented backyard of the house where an opening program began with remarks and readings by Longyear Board of Trustees members, Ellen Williams and Reid Wagstaff.

Gary Wolf, preservation architect, shared with guests the ways that the house was transformed through the restoration process. James Suber, Longyear’s Researcher and Publications Coordinator, shared insights into the exhibit design process.

After the opening remarks, guests toured the first, second, and third floors of the house. Longyear staff members stationed throughout the house provided the history and significance of each space. Of note was Mrs. Eddy’s third-floor study, where she finished the first edition of her book Science and Health.

On the first floor, guests explored the newly installed exhibit, “Mary Baker Eddy at 8 Broad Street: Foundational Work for a Worldwide Movement.” Here, material covering Mrs. Eddy’s writing, teaching, and work founding a church is amplified with historical documents, images, and objects of the period. Of special interest are reproductions of the first three editions of Science and Health,which visitors are allowed to pick up and examine closely.

When not touring the house or exhibit, guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, dessert, sparkling pear cider, and hot drinks outside under the tent, where there were additional presentations on nineteenth-century printing and Mrs. Eddy’s efforts to acquire copyrights for the first three editions of Science and Health.

The evening highlighted a sense of fellowship and appreciation for the work that has been completed at the Lynn house, both historically and recently. Executive Director Sandra Houston closed her remarks by expressing gratitude to the many friends of Longyear, including members, donors, supporters, and former and current staff, who made the restoration and this opening event possible.

The exhibit’s title in the entryway.

On Saturday, September 13, 2014, Longyear Museum held a grand opening to celebrate the years of hard work on the Mary Baker Eddy Historic House at 8 Broad Street, Lynn, Massachusetts. Part of this event included the unveiling of a new exhibit on the first floor of the house, “Mary Baker Eddy at 8 Broad Street: Foundational Work for a Worldwide Movement.”

The evening begins.

After being welcomed by Longyear staff, guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres in the reception tent.

Longyear staff.

Though it was a rainy evening, Longyear staff stood by with umbrellas to ferry guests between locations. 

The opening program.

The opening program included readings from the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. Longyear trustees, staff, and the consulting architect shared highlights of the eight-year restoration and exhibit journey, as well as reflections on the significance of the project.  

During the rest of the evening, guests toured the historic house and the new exhibit. In the reception tent, curatorial staff gave presentations on specific aspects of Mrs. Eddy’s work. 

The restoration architect, Gary Wolf.

Gary Wolf, the architect who oversaw the exterior and interior restoration, talked with guests throughout the evening while sharing photos of the restoration process. 

The new exhibit.

The exhibit, curated by Longyear Museum and produced by Amaze Design in Boston, focuses on Mrs. Eddy’s years in Lynn but also covers the years before and after this eventful period. Designed to complement the house tour, the exhibit also stands alone as an educational experience. 

The exhibit features not only panels with text and visuals, but a number of hands-on elements and reproduction artifacts, including facsimiles of the first, second, and third editions of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. A section of the exhibit highlighting Mrs. Eddy’s legacy after the Lynn years includes testimonies of healing published in the Christian Science periodicals throughout the decades (pictured right). 

Guests in the gift shop.

The gift shop featured a new scarf with a pattern based on one of the reproduction wallpapers in the Lynn house. This wallpaper was reproduced from an original layer discovered during the restoration process, and was likely there during Mrs. Eddy’s time in the house.

Remarks from the Event

This 40-minute video is a complete recording of remarks from the introductory program at the Lynn Opening Celebration on the evening of September 13, 2014.

The speakers are:

  • Ellen Williams, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • Reid Wagstaff, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • Gary Wolf, Preservation Architect
  • James Suber, Researcher and Publications Coordinator
  • Sandra Houston, Executive Director

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