Thursday, September 22, 2011

Treasure Hunt at Wenham Museum


By Angela Rodriguez
Gordon College News Service
September 20, 2011
(This story appeared September 21, 2011, in the online edition of the Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle.)

WENHAM, MA ­– From knick-knacks and old jewelry to dining room tables and linens, all are part of the Wenham Museum’s second Attic Treasure Sale of the year, September 24-25 at 132 Main Street in Wenham.

“It’s a full scale rummage sale with everything from furniture to old shoes,” said Mary Ann Streeter 79, co-chair of the Attic Treasure Sale. “There’s nice china, glass, jewelry, books, you name it, we have it.”

The sale started over 30 years ago in the basement of First Church in Wenham as a rummage sale to raise money for the Wenham Museum and its educational programs. For the past 20 years, it’s become a large Attic Treasure Sale where residents can get rid of their junk, and buy some one else’s treasure. Streeter, who was also on the board of the Wenham Museum for twenty years, has been a large part of the volunteer process for the sale. She donates to each sale, and always buys new treasure as well.

“We strongly appreciate all the donations the people and the community bring us,” said volunteer Cheryl Emmons, 63, of Wenham. “The Wenham Museum is a non-profit and relies totally on donations; we don’t want to cut back on programs.”

The money raised will go towards specific programs such as craft fairs, family days, or historical events where children can learn about colonial life as well as the museum’s dolls. Emmons said many school groups and representatives come and learn from the volunteers at the museum or participate in the history programs that are offered.



 The sale is also a great draw for antique dealers in search of furniture, vintage clothing or jewelry. 

“We sell a lot of furniture, something we never have before,” said Christine Wildes, 43, of Wenham. “We’ve done so much better because people are selling their houses and getting rid of their furniture.”

Wildes has been volunteering at the Treasure Sale for the past eight years, and has help from her 13-year old daughter and her friends. “We sold about  $14,000 worth of things last year,” she said. “It’s been a steady rise of $1,000 per year.”

Residents are encouraged to donate if they have been cleaning out their attics, and all age groups are involved.  It is an entirely volunteer staff that makes the two-day sale run, and most items are usually sold for under $20. The most expensive piece is usually furniture, and Streeter said it is their first year having three dining room tables to sell.

This has become such a popular event that there are lines both opening days. Saturday is the best day to come according to Streeter, but she also puts new things out Sunday morning.  Items are discounted in the afternoon of Sunday.

If people want to volunteer, Streeter said they have an advantage because of their help. Volunteers are allowed to pick and buy items from the sale the Friday before it opens. Streeter said it’s always a draw for those who want select items they’ve seen.

“All ages are welcome to come to the sale. We have furniture and linens for college students, and everything else for others,” Streeter said. “We even had a set of old Greek text books I thought would never sell, and then a seminary student came and bought the whole set!”

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