CATAWBA ISLAND – The Catawba Island Historical Society’s Union Chapel Museum will soon close for its current, 5-month season. The last day of operation in 2021 will be Saturday, Oct. 9. Until then, guests are welcome to visit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Jane Spriestersbach, the Museum’s Curator, reported that attendance bounced back significantly after being adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
“With two weeks remaining before our October-to-May break,” she said, “we expect to welcome nearly 800 people. That is up over 50% from last year.”
Over the winter the museum trustees and staff will make modifications to current exhibits in the facility’s Timeline Tale of Catawba story which began 400 million years ago. Some totally new displays are also being contemplated to help keep the experience fresh for return patrons.
“Much of the Catawba saga is tied to development of its individual neighborhoods. For example, we have already highlighted the Cliffs and Rock Ledge,” said Dr. Richard Thomas, the Historical Society Board member with primary responsibility for designing and presenting museum content. “Plans call for sharing unique stories about Gem Beach, Little Pittsburgh, the Bluffs and Sugar Rock, the west beach communities of Byrneal, Kenykirk and Orchard, and others.”
Curator Spriestersbach notes that there is no admission charge to visit the Museum. Annual and lifetime memberships in the Catawba Island Historical Society provide most of the funds that underwrite its mission to preserve and protect local heritage. Membership topped 300 this year, a 40% growth over 2020.
“All kinds of people visit the museum,” she said. “We meet full-time residents, recreational homeowners, and vacationing tourists. One thing we find they have in common is their love of, and pride in, our Island. It shows up as growing membership support of the Historical Society’s effort to share the Catawba story.”
Despite scheduled seasonal closure of the Union Chapel Museum, the Catawba Island Historical Society has other activities planned for later in October. It will conduct its annual Membership Business Meeting and present a speaker in its Cultural Lecture Series later next month. More detailed information about those events will be available soon.