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Last chance to view ‘A Tribute to the Thursday Morning Club’ at the Great Barrington Historical Society Museum, April 20 and 21

“The histories are phenomenal,” says Robert Krol, executive director of the Great Barrington Historical Society. “The Thursday Morning Club has kept such a detailed history of their organization, and it's all spelled out in the display."

Great Barrington — This coming weekend is the last chance to view “A Tribute to the Thursday Morning Club,” an exhibit at the Great Barrington Historical Society Museum. The Society wishes to honor and celebrate the Thursday Morning Club’s 132 years of history and service to the community. The Great Barrington-based women’s club has dedicated itself to civic causes, education, preservation, and the arts. The exhibit, at 817 South Main Street, is free and open to the public this Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Since 1892, the Thursday Morning Club has supported a number of different causes with charitable donations. They began giving scholarships in 1946, and in just the last 20 years alone have given away $196,000 to local high school students. In 1916, the ladies of the club pulled together 2,725 items for the war effort. Today, veterans are one of the groups they seek to support.

“The histories are phenomenal,” says Robert Krol, executive director of the Great Barrington Historical Society. “The Thursday Morning Club has kept such a detailed history of their organization, and it’s all spelled out in the display. People are coming in and just sitting down and looking at all the records and pictures.” Krol exalted the club for keeping so many records and for having the insight to do so starting in 1892.

A copy of the Thursday Morning Club’s constitution on display at the Great Barrington Historical Society Museum. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrington Historical Society.

There is a book for every president of the club, with scrapbooks and photos on display. There is a plaque that honors Sarah Sheldon Collins, the first president, and a copy of the club constitution. Krol says the exhibit has been well attended, and he expects a flurry of activity the last weekend. Some of the visitors have been new members of the club, who have been saying the exhibit is “a great way to get to know the organization that they just joined,” recounts Krol.

Visitors will also find on display a quilt made by local quilter and quilt historian Connie Logan, which Krol calls “a nice tribute to the woman’s club and to Connie.”

When Logan was a member of the Thursday Morning Club around 20 years ago, there was a national competition, she explains, for members of the Thursday Morning Club to submit a quilt that showed the importance of women in club programs. “Being a quilter, they asked me if I would make a quilt,” says Logan. Her quilt, which features a wreath of appliqued flowers surrounding an embroidered woman in old costume, won first prize in the Massachusetts contest, and then went on to win first prize in the national contest.

When Logan heard about this exhibit, she offered the quilt to Krol, who said he would love to have it.

Logan gave up her membership in the club when it coincided with her Thursday quilting classes, but she remembers her time in the club fondly, saying, “they do wonderful things, and the programs were always great. It’s certainly a worthwhile organization.”

The Thursday Morning Club worked hard to pull together this exhibit. Lots of people came forward and handed relevant items in. “People are always willing to help if you ask for it,” said a historian on the club’s historical committee who wished to remain nameless because she “had a lot of help.” She explained, “It’s not me, it’s everyone, it’s the Thursday Morning Club.”

“Bob Krol has helped us immensely,” she added. She is extremely excited about all the artifacts that came to light. Furthermore, some children or grandchildren of a previous club member attended the exhibit and said they had even more materials stored away, which they wanted to donate to the club.

The Thursday Morning Club holds its member meetings on the second Thursday of the month, at the Great Barrington Congregational Church, at 1:30 p.m. (the time of day was changed long ago, but the name stuck). The charitable and social club currently has 96 members, and they are always looking for younger members, too.

They ve recently donated to the town to build a couple of bus shelters to keep kids out of the elements when the weather is bad. Another upcoming project is making a map of Great Barrington and the surrounding areas to highlight the club’s donations throughout their history, such as historical markers erected in the first cemetery.

On April 27, at the Claire Teague Senior Center, they will hold one of their esteemed fundraisers, “Bingo a la Mode,” combining bingo and scrumptious pies, to raise money for scholarships.

Read more about the Thursday Morning Club below, courtesy of Berkshire Edge columnist Carole Owens:

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