The Robbins Heritage Center joins the Neild Museum, the Goldsborough Stable and the Meredith House on the grounds of Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester at the end of Maryland Avenue. Together, they provide visitors a modern and spacious museum complex from which to trace the history of Dorchester County through a variety of displays and interactive presentations. Currently upgrades are being made to improve exhibits and include the addition of audio features, more hands-on elements and the introduction of many Dorchester personalities, bringing the displays alive.
The Robbins Heritage Center has recently become the home of the Research Center, where visitors may research a huge variety of subjects as well as family history of the area.
The Neild Museum showcases Dorchester’s agricultural heritage with hundreds of artifacts. Farming history is explored with the interwoven theme of “work and family,” transporting the visitor to a recreated farm, set in the 1920s. Visit the kitchen, porch and stable. Imagine that the original McCormick reaper is working and that the plows are hitched to teams of draft animals. Changes are taking place in this space, as well. The recently opened “Country Store” exhibit, in addition to offering a charming look at early commerce, provides meeting space for programming and workshops. This area also houses the Heritage Shop, where visitors may purchase books and other goodies.
The Meredith House is currently being revitalized with more exhibits than it has held in quite some time. With the Research Center move to the Robbins, three rooms have been emptied for display. One has already begun its transformation to that of “Annie Cornish’s Quarters” which interprets and conveys the room where previous owners, Mr. and Mrs. Russell Smith’s housekeeper, Annie, lived.
This Georgian-style home, built circa 1760 in its present location, displays antique furniture, portraits, china, silver, and quilts. Also exhibited are the artifacts of the seven governors of Maryland from Dorchester County.
Since most of food stuff was harvested or bought in volume , the Stronghouse/Smokehouse was a sturdy building that the excess was stored in until such time that it was moved to the pantry. It was also used as a smokehouse for smoking and curing meats. This may be the oldest structure on the campus.
The Goldsborough Stable is named in honor of Governor Charles Goldsborough, born in 1764. The stable originally sat on the adjacent property once owned by William and Elizabeth Ennals on Shoal Creek. Elizabeth’s nephew, Charles Goldsborough, came to live with them at the age of four after the death of his parents. Upon the death of his aunt, he inherited the shoal creek property. Charles Goldsborough served in the Maryland State Senate US Congress and was Maryland’s Governor from 1818 to 1819.
The stable’s brickwork suggests its age and prominence. This type of brickwork was considered the most decorative of the various bonds and historically was used extensively for residences. This stable was built for a refined home. Most stables of this era are long gone especially on the Delmarva hence its rarity.
Inside the stable are many transportation vehicles, used throughout the county and donated by various residents. Among the artifacts are a sulky, pony cart, a buckboard, and horse driven sleighs. There are also tools of the woodworker, wheelwright and blacksmith along with various other items including saddles and harnesses.
The Herb Garden, located near the entrance of the Neild Museum, is a horticulture project begun in 1980. Creation of the garden included grading the site, moving the old stronghouse to its present location, and laying intersecting brick pathways. The sundial was a gift to the Historical Society from the Dorchester Garden Club, which is responsible for the care of the garden.
This is a colonial type garden intended to demonstrate the many uses of herbs, both practical and aesthetic, and to instruct the public in the pleasures of growing, even in a small space, something fresh, fragrant, and flavorful.
Open Monday through Friday 10AM to 4PM, Saturday 10 AM to 2 PM, or by appointment