Curators’ Tour and Talk on “Camps of Kent: Memories of Summer”
The curators of the Kent Historical Society’s 2015 Exhibit, “Camps of Kent: Memories of Summer,” gave a special tour and talk about this popular show on September 19, at Seven Hearths.
In a nostalgic, varied exhibit that closed September 27, the Kent Historical Society explored the town’s camping past. During camping’s peak in the 1950s and 1960s, a surprising number of camps were tucked into the hills and hollows of Kent. Exhibit curators Marge Smith (the curator of the Kent Historical Society) and board member Melissa Cherniske gathered the material for the exhibit.
Co-exhibit curator Melissa Cherniske said, “Working on the ‘Camps of Kent’ show was a gratifying experience for all of us. It was such a pleasure to be able to bring a piece of the past alive for everyone.”
Many of Kent’s camps may be gone, but they often have alumni networks that help former campers and counselors stay connected. Through various social media outlets, the Kent Historical Society has been in touch with the alumni associations for Camp Francis, Geer Mountain Camp, Camp Kent, Kenico, Camp Po-Ne-Mah and Leonard/Leonore. This has proved crucial for the exhibit, because many past campers provided the artifacts and memorabilia that are on display. Many Kent camp alumni associations held reunions and attended camp-themed hikes over the summer, and the Kent Historical Society dovetailed its programming with these warm, heartfelt gatherings.
Curator Marge Smith said, “This exhibit succeeded because of the tremendous response we received from former campers, counselors, and camp owners, who shared their artifacts and memories with us. One of the most rewarding aspects has been hearing former campers express such depth of emotion about their camp experience and their time in Kent, and its lasting importance in their lives.”
The Society is grateful to the Exhibition Sponsors: Kent School, The Marvelwood School, South Kent School, Victor Fink in memory of Camp Leonard-Leonore, Nicholas/Tobin Insurance, Union Savings Bank, Bain Real Estate, Ira Goldspiel and William Pitt/Sotheby’s International Realty, and Barry Labendz & David Birnbaum of Kent Falls Brewing Company.