Lost & Found Laurel Opens February 9, 2017

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Remember Knapp’s’s? Cook’s Hardware? Fyffe’s Service Center? Lost and Found Laurel, a new exhibit that takes visitors on a trip down memory lane opens February 9, 20014 at the Laurel Museum. Focusing on the 1960s through the present, the exhibit explores the shops, schools, restaurants, activities and celebrations that created a fondly remembered community.  Pairing the old and new, it reminds today’s residents that while some businesses and institutions vanished, new, equally memorable ones have replaced them. 

The exhibit includes sections on schools, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, libraries, and festivals. A variety of objects ranging from trucks to high school football uniforms and varsity jackets to restaurant menus will be featured throughout. Highlights include a “Hershey” sign from Knapps News Service, sign from the Laurel Drive In Theater movie, a wall papered with matchbook covers from Laurel businesses, a “restaurant” area with tables and menus, and a school room. A “mall-like” directory will guide people through the exhibit and a map will connect places mentioned in the exhibit to their locations in Laurel.  Visitors will also have the opportunity to help the Laurel Historical Society (LHS) identify unknown people and places that are in its archives.

One section:  “The Good Old Days…?” is a sobering reminder that not all memories of the period were good ones.  The panel incorporates photos and newspaper stories from the 1960s. It reminds visitors that Laurel citizens struggled through integration efforts, KKK cross burnings and firebombs and that tensions between the black and white communities were high, and relations sometimes difficult.

Notes LHS Executive Director Lindsey Baker: “In "Lost and Found Laurel" we hope we've captured part of what it means to be a Laurelite--our great strengths and some of our weaknesses, both now and then.”

Lost and Found Laurel was created with the assistance of Richard Friend, who manages the popular Facebook page “Lost Laurel” https://www.facebook.com/lostlaurel.  In addition to loaning a number of items, Friend also designed the logo and panels for the LHS exhibit.  He is also allowing the LHS to raffle off the first two copies of his new book Lost Laurel: The Book during the exhibit’s Grand Opening February 9.  Other object contributors include Jack Bowen, John Floyd II, the Laurel Leader, and Peter and Martha (Kalbach) Lewnes. Support was also provided by the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission.

Lost and Found Laurel will run through December 21, 2014. The Laurel Museum is open Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00a.m.-2:00p.m. and Sundays 1:00-4:00p.m. Admission is free. Visits by school groups and tours over 10 people can be scheduled other days by appointment. Speakers are also available to talk with community and civic groups. The Laurel Historical Society John Brennan Research Library is open by appointment. For more information visit www.laurelhistoricalsociety.org, or contact the Laurel Museum at info@laurelhistoricalsociety.org, 301-725-7975. The Laurel Museum is at 817 Main Street, Laurel, Maryland, 20707.  ##