Groovy fun: Hippiefest, ice cream social to raise needed funds for Milford Museum

August means two steps back into history and one leap forward with fundraising for the Milford Museum.

This first of two fundraisers scheduled for this month will be an ice cream social in the rarely seen Mulholland Spoon Mill Building located along the Mispillion River, 7 Marshall St., next to the dog park.

John Hanna Mulholland opened the spoon mill in 1920. A newsletter from the Milford Historical Society dated in the fall of 1995 said Mr. Mulholland was an immigrant born in Belfast, Ireland in 1865. He moved to Canada when he was 15 where he joined the militia. He later would return to Ireland, visit England, return to Canada to get married and eventually settled in Philadelphia.

An innovator at heart, Mr. Mulholland would go on to invent a couple of processes that would last for decades to come before he moved from Philadelphia to Milford.

“On October 15, 1915, Mulholland filed an application with the U.S. Patent Office in Washington for a ‘paper dish or plate which permits printing or other colored advertising matter to be used in a sanitary manner,’” the historical society’s newsletter reads.

At the time, the advertising would bleed onto ice cream which Mr. Mulholland knew was unsanitary. He later invented the Bentwood Spoon, a small, wooden spoon, also used for ice cream. The process he developed was derived from the Laurel, Delaware area when he observed Delaware canners manufacturing sturdy, but cheap, baskets for fruit drying and canning, the newsletter continued.

Combining the plate and spoon patents, the Mulholland family worked to open their spoon mill in Milford where it remained in full operation from 1920 through 1953, shortly before Mr. Mulholland died in 1958. The mill finally closed in 1973.

“He also designed the city crest. There might have been another business in that building after the spoon mill, but now it’s been cleaned out. It’s like a big warehouse,” Milford Museum Executive Director Claudia Leister said.

Hoping to show off a slice of history, she said the museum is hosting a fundraiser fit for Mr. Mulholland’s legacy — an ice cream social.

The event will be held Sunday, Aug. 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. at $10 per person or $25 per family of four. Those planning on enjoying ice cream from the Mulholland Spoon Mill can pay for the event that day but should RSVP by calling 302-424-1080 ahead of time.

“I think it gives you an appreciation for your community, for the people that saw the potential here years ago and moved forward with it. And I think it lets you envision what the future could be for Milford and how you could be a part of it,” she said.

The second of two fundraising events for the museum in August will be tailored to adults.

The Hippiefest, a first of its kind in Milford, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock from Causey Mansion Saturday, Aug. 24 from 4 to 8 p.m.

Unlike the Roaring 20s Party held by the museum in May, the Hippiefest will be held further back on the grounds at Causey Mansion, allowing for more room in their grassy backyard.

Lincoln City Band and Cool 101.3 DJ Dana McDonald will take turns replaying music from the 1960s and 1970s. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket and/or beach chair, and their best “hippie” outfits to join in the fun.

Barbecue-style food, beer, wines and sodas are included in the $25 per person price.

“We brought the price down. -lot of younger people have said they can’t afford $55, but $25 is what they would spend going out to dinner for one night, only we happen to also have all this stuff going on,” Ms. Leister said. “Jan and Joey are so generous to offer the property for use. And I think it’s so unique to have 3.5 acres in the middle of Milford.”

Funds raised from each of these events will help keep the museum running. Ms. Leister said the museum is also considering an expansion but will need considerable funds to make that happen.

The museum has also changed up several exhibits recently to keep something new in front of the public.

“I had this two o’clock in the morning aha moment and decided just because this is how things always were before me doesn’t mean this is how it should be or has to be,” she said.

A doll exhibit which has been on display for decades now has been removed to make room for a new exhibit. The ladybug display from the front of the museum was placed in the room where the dolls once lived.

A new, smaller exhibit of 1920s toys now occupies a space near the museum office.

“The toys stir memories and bring a connection to people who come in. If you go away learning one thing, we’ve been successful,” Ms. Leister said. “People are still coming in to see the Made in Milford exhibit. This is the second year, and it’s a lot of research and time. I do it all myself — the dry matting, cutting, researching. . . I do want to put our things on display. I don’t want people to think they give us things and it sits in the basement.”

The Milford Museum will also host a Speakers Series event presented by Mike Lambert on the Eastern Shore Baseball League Thursday, Aug. 15 at the Milford Women’s Club at 7 p.m.

For more information about the Milford Museum or to see other upcoming events, visit www.milforddemuseum. org.

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