On the afternoon of Sunday, June 8, from 2 to 4 p.m., members and friends of the Bethel Historical Society will have a one-time opportunity to view the interior of the new “Mary E. Valentine Collections Wing” before it is fully utilized as a “restricted-access” museum collections storage facility. Funded by a $200,000 bequest from the late Mary Valentine, as well as generous donations from individuals, businesses and foundations, the two-and-a-half story addition to the historic Robinson House reproduces the exterior of the original summer kitchen/shed ell as it appeared around 1885, soon after the house was redesigned in the Italianate style. The formal dedication and opening of the two-and-a-half story wing will take place following remarks at 2 p.m. by Society President Nancy Stowell White, Vice-President Tineke Ouwinga and BHS Executive Director Randall Bennett.
Construction of the Valentine Wing, which began in July 2013, has resulted in multiple benefits to the Bethel Historical Society, including the freeing up of significant exhibit space in the older portion of the Robinson House. The Society hopes to put this advantage to good use when it opens an expanded and updated version of its popular “Bethel: A Historic Town” exhibit in August of this year.