Museum of History
During the month of February in celebration of Black History Month, the Gloucester Museum of History is featuring an exhibit honoring the memory of Mr. Eldridge N. Cook of Gloucester. The Museum exhibit features a display of items from Mr. Cook's business, his home and his church. In addition to the Museum exhibit, a month-long calendar of events is also planned to honor Mr. Cook's life and legacy.
Mr. Cook was a lifelong County resident, a nationally known entrepreneur, and owner and operator of Cook's Oyster and Seafood Company on Sarah's Creek for over 70 years, eventually employing approximately 250 people. In the community, Mr. Cook also served on the Virginia Marine Products Board, Social Services Board and the Gloucester Planning Commission. In 2010, at the age of 95, he closed his seafood business and continued to contribute to Gloucester and his church, First Morning Star Baptist Church. He established the Eldridge N. Cook Charitable Fund with the Gloucester County Foundation to give a "hand up" to young people in danger of "falling through the cracks". He also contributed to the Rappahannock Educational Foundation earmarking it for a special scholarship fund.
The month of February 2019 will celebrate Mr. Cook with commemorative events planned throughout the month, including:
Saturday, February 2nd at 1 P.M. - "Eldridge Cook's Lasting Legacy" will be presented in the Colonial Court House and highlights Mr. Cook's philanthropic endeavors. A tour of the exhibit in the Museum will follow the presentation.
Wednesday, February 6th at 2 P.M. - Rappahannock Community College will present a 45-minute program on Mr. Cook's life in the Glenn's Campus auditorium.
Thursday, February 14th - "Mr. Cook's Birthday" will be broadcast on WXGM Radio with Dr. Dorothy Cooke speaking.
Tuesday, February 19th at 3:30 P.M. - "A Tribute to Mr. Cook" by Ben Borden and Graham Blake will be aired on WXGM Radio.
FEBRUARY 14, 2019 has been designated as ELDRIDGE COOK DAY in Gloucester County in honor of Mr. Cook's birthday in 1915.
Also continuing on display is "The Good Old Days" exhibit which includes household items, clothing, toys, photos, tools, and numerous other items that were used in Gloucester from the late 1800's to the mid-1900's.
Another popular exhibit at the Museum is the original oil painting of Civil War General W. B. Taliaferro reviewing the last general muster of the Gloucester Militia at Roaring Springs Plantation the 4th Saturday in May 1860. Painted by Robert E Goodier (1925-1999), the painting has been donated to the Gloucester Museum of History by his family. The artist’s daughter, Elizabeth G. Esrey of Middletown, Delaware and son, Winslow R. Goodier of Glen Allen, Virginia, agreed that the painting should be returned to Gloucester because of it’s historic significance to the County. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Goodier lived at Roaring Springs Plantation from 1992 until 2004.
The Museum also continues to display numerous permanent exhibits which include:
- Antique Survey Equipment
- Battle of the Hook
- Celebration of African American History in Gloucester
- Civil War
- Free School House
- Gremer Doll Houses
- The Hotel Botetourt
- James D. Gardner
- The Old Country Store
- Warner Hall
Museum Exhibits on the Second Floor
The second floor of the Gloucester Museum of History is also open to the general public. The theme of the eight station exhibit is "Echoes From The Past, Six Periods of Gloucester History."
The exhibit traces Gloucester's rich history and varied contributions from 5 million years ago, when the area was covered by a warm tropical sea, to the Civil War, when it gave both a General to the Confederate Army and was home to James D. Gardner, who rose from oysterman to become the only recipient of a Congressional Medal of Honor from the area while serving in the Union Army.
Other exhibits include:
- Archaeological findings from "Paradise" (home of the Lees)
- Archaeological findings from the Fairfield Plantation
- Bacon's Rebellion
- Gloucester's participation in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War
- Native Americans
Also continuing on display on the second floor is the exhibit "Threads: A Loving Legacy Unfolds." This exhibit highlights the creative handiwork of ladies from two families who helped shape the history of Gloucester County - the Sterlings and the Shacklefords. Pictures of each woman are included and stories of many of the pieces on display, some dating back to 1920. The display was created by cousins Hilda Anne Nolen Hodgson, Amy Williams Boykin, Heather Sterling Pearce and Mary Anne Sterling.