Museum helps plant memories

Mar. 15, 2014 @ 07:26 PM

The Museum of Durham History is partnering with various organizations to plant small groves of memorial trees, with each site honoring an individual, family or organization important to Durham’s past.

Albright Community neighbors will celebrate the planting of a grove at 1017 Juniper Street on March 22. The site will honor Dorothy Kelly, Junior Kelly and the Albright Community Association. The Kelly family leads the Albright Community Association that since 1983 has worked to make their East Durham neighborhood a better place to live, work and play. Landscape work will begin at 9 a.m., with Garden Environments providing landscaping support.  A short program and celebration will follow at 12:30 p.m. The public is invited.

The Juniper Street History Grove is Durham’s second, following the Durham Central Park Grove, which was established last year and honors historian John Hope Franklin.  Each site contains several trees and appropriate plantings, a bench and a small marker telling about the grove honoree.

Additional groves are in the works for:

-- Holton Career and Resource Center, in conjunction with Durham Public Schools, Parks & Rec and Neighborhood Improvement Services

-- Maureen Joy Charter School, in conjunction with Bountiful Backyards

-- The “pocket park” at 301 Main Street, with the support of Self-Help Inc.  

A number of other groves are in the planning stages across Durham and in Bahama and Rougemont.

The Museum of Durham History envisioned the History Groves project as an innovative way to encourage appreciation of Durham’s rich past and build neighborhood pride. A Museum volunteer can guide groups interested in pursuing a grove, and the Museum has received a private grant to help fund grove start-up costs. Honoree selection and ongoing grove maintenance is provided by the neighborhood group or sponsoring organization.

Steve Channing has spearheaded the History Groves project.  “As a historian, filmmaker and long-time Bull City resident, and now a proud member of the founding board of the new Museum of Durham History, I see History Groves as a way to widen the footprint of the Museum across Durham, City and County,” he said.  “More important, it’s another way to remember those who came before us and left this place a better community.  And who can’t like more trees and benches?  I encourage everyone to join us on Juniper Street for planting day on the 22nd.”