By Carol Griffith
The quaint and quiet presence of the Greenbelt Museum at the corner of Westway and Crescent Road gives the wrong impression – the Museum is a veritable hub of activity and a vital part of the city.
One of the best loved of the many events hosted by the museum is the annual Roosevelt Ride. Bicycles decorated with streamers and flowers and riders dressed in vintage clothing will once again ride a prearranged route through the historic part of the city and return to the Community Center grounds for a picnic on Sunday, June 5 at 11:00 am. The event is open to all and free of charge. To ensure safety, the ride will be led by an expert bicyclist and accompanied by a police escort.
The Roosevelt Ride is just one of the many events hosted by the Museum. In keeping with its mission to encourage residents and visitors to explore the living legacy of the Greenbelt community, the Museum hosts a quarterly lecture series as well as special programs such as an open house at Halloween and in conjunction with the city’s Holiday Tree Lighting. Curator Megan Searing Young creates detailed exhibits such as the current one featuring the life and works of Lenore Thomas Straus, the sculptor of the Community Center friezes and the Mother and Child statue in Roosevelt Center.
Less visible is the Museum’s work in promoting the community to visitors. School groups often schedule a day at the Museum for a day of children’s activities that illustrate life in the early days of Greenbelt and enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds. International visitors, especially those associated with the Maryland China Initiative at the University of Maryland, tour Greenbelt and the Museum. Architecture and planning students from many countries also come to study Greenbelt.
In addition to these activities, the Museum serves the community through its collaborations with other groups in the community. “Collaboration with others in the community benefits us all by increasing our strengths,” said Sheila Maffay-Tuthill, the Museum’s volunteer and education coordinator. The Museum has partnered with the Greenbelt Theater, alight Dance Theater and the Labor Day Festival, among other groups.
Greenbelt Community Foundation (GCF) grants have provided invaluable assistance to the Museum’s work. The Museum has received three grants. One grant helped fund an update the Museum’s orientation film shown to all visitors. Another funded an exhibition entitled “Green From the Start: A History of Gardening in Greenbelt” and several associated programs, and most recently, a timeline exhibition created for the city’s 75th anniversary entitled “Greenbelt: The First 75 Years, 1937-2012.”
The Museum looks forward to increasing its presence in the community, particularly with the recent acquisition of the adjoining house at 10-A Crescent Road, and bringing Greenbelt’s history into the city’s future.
Sponsored by Greenbelt News Review, Paradyme Management and Beltway Plaza, the Museum’s Roosevelt Ride event is part of the Explore Your Greenbelt with the GCF to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Explore Your Greenbelt is a series of 14 monthly events and activities that will feature organizations that have received GCF funding. All are invited to attend to learn about these organizations and how GCF lives out its mission of “Nourishing all of Greenbelt’s Neighborhoods.”