Medford Historical Society to open new educational center
After the donation of hundreds of volunteer hours, goods, and funds, the Medford Historical Society will be opening a new Education Center at 211 Church Road with an Open House on Sunday, Sept. 22, from 1–5 p.m.
This new education center is dedicated to honoring and preserving the legacy of Dr. James Still, known in the 19th century as the “Doctor of the Pines.”
The son of formerly enslaved parents, Dr. Still overcame the challenges of poverty, the lack of formal education, and cultural expectations to become a widely respected homeopathic physician who used herbal remedies to help his diverse patient base. His story is not only an important part of Medford’s history but also is a story that provides inspiration and motivation to all people of all generations in addressing life challenges.
Readiness of the new center marks the end of first phase in a multi-phase project that will culminate later in a cooperative effort with the state in the full historic restoration of Dr. James Still’s original medical office at 209 Church Road.
The two sites will be connected by historic gardens and nature trails and will be identified as The Dr. James Still Historic Site.
The open house on Sept. 22 will offer a wide range of free activities for all ages at this “outside-inside” event.
Outside activities will include a “passport” activity for children who will be challenged to find the answers to a series of questions around the grounds. Once completed, children can get their “passport” stamped and receive a special prize courtesy of the township’s Clean Communities grant.
At 2 p.m., at the newly installed “Tree Stump Theatre,” a Dr. James Still re-enactor will be there to tell his story “firsthand.” Other outside attractions include building your own scarecrow, visiting the magical Children’s Garden, playing seasonal games, checking out the special guests from Woodford Cedar Wildlife Refuge and listening to “old time” fiddler music by Nancy Longenecker and friends.
Inside the new center, presentations will be made by Burlington County historian, Joseph Laufer, and Still family members, Reverend Terrell Person and Machell Still-Pettis.
Additionally, Marc Lorenc, archeologist, will speak on how cultural archeology is a community effort. For hungry event visitors, refreshments will be available in the new instructional kitchen found at the back of the house and restored from its original 1913 roots.
Visitors to this event will be introduced to the types of presentations and activities that will be provided for our area schools and for students of all ages.
Parking will be available at Fellowship Alliance Chapel, 199 Church Road, where non-stop shuttles, starting at 1 p.m., will transport visitors to the new Center at 211 Church Road.