August means two steps back into history and one leap
forward with fundraising for the Milford Museum.

This first of two fundraisers scheduled for this month will
be an ice cream social in the rarely seen Mulholland Spoon Mill Building located
along the Mispillion River, 7 Marshall St., next to the dog park.

John Hanna Mulholland opened the spoon mill in 1920. A
newsletter from the Milford Historical Society dated in the fall of 1995 said
Mr. Mulholland was an immigrant born in Belfast, Ireland in 1865. He moved to
Canada when he was 15 where he joined the militia. He later would return to
Ireland, visit England, return to Canada to get married and eventually settled
in Philadelphia.

An innovator at heart, Mr. Mulholland would go on to invent
a couple of processes that would last for decades to come before he moved from
Philadelphia to Milford.

“On October 15, 1915, Mulholland filed an application with
the U.S. Patent Office in Washington for a ‘paper dish or plate which permits
printing or other colored advertising matter to be used in a sanitary manner,’”
the historical society’s newsletter reads.

At the time, the advertising would bleed onto ice cream
which Mr. Mulholland knew was unsanitary. He later invented the Bentwood Spoon,
a small, wooden spoon, also used for ice cream. The process he developed was
derived from the Laurel, Delaware area when he observed Delaware canners
manufacturing sturdy, but cheap, baskets for fruit drying and canning, the
newsletter continued.

Combining the plate and spoon patents, the Mulholland family
worked to open their spoon mill in Milford where it remained in full operation
from 1920 through 1953, shortly before Mr. Mulholland died in 1958. The mill
finally closed in 1973.

“He also designed the city crest. There might have been
another business in that building after the spoon mill, but now it’s been
cleaned out. It’s like a big warehouse,” Milford Museum Executive Director
Claudia Leister said.

Hoping to show off a slice of history, she said the museum
is hosting a fundraiser fit for Mr. Mulholland’s legacy — an ice cream social.

The event will be held Sunday, Aug. 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. at
$10 per person or $25 per family of four. Those planning on enjoying ice cream
from the Mulholland Spoon Mill can pay for the event that day but should RSVP
by calling 302-424-1080 ahead of time.

“I think it gives you an appreciation for your community,
for the people that saw the potential here years ago and moved forward with it.
And I think it lets you envision what the future could be for Milford and how
you could be a part of it,” she said.

The second of two fundraising events for the museum in
August will be tailored to adults.

The Hippiefest, a first of its kind in Milford, will
celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock from Causey Mansion Saturday, Aug.
24 from 4 to 8 p.m.

Unlike the Roaring 20s Party held by the museum in May, the
Hippiefest will be held further back on the grounds at Causey Mansion, allowing
for more room in their grassy backyard.

Lincoln City Band and Cool 101.3 DJ Dana McDonald will take
turns replaying music from the 1960s and 1970s. Attendees are encouraged to
bring a blanket and/or beach chair, and their best “hippie” outfits to join in
the fun.

Barbecue-style food, beer, wines and sodas are included in
the $25 per person price.

“We brought the price down. -lot of younger people have said
they can’t afford $55, but $25 is what they would spend going out to dinner for
one night, only we happen to also have all this stuff going on,” Ms. Leister
said. “Jan and Joey are so generous to offer the property for use. And I think
it’s so unique to have 3.5 acres in the middle of Milford.”

Funds raised from each of these events will help keep the
museum running. Ms. Leister said the museum is also considering an expansion
but will need considerable funds to make that happen.

The museum has also changed up several exhibits recently to
keep something new in front of the public.

“I had this two o’clock in the morning aha moment and
decided just because this is how things always were before me doesn’t mean this
is how it should be or has to be,” she said.

A doll exhibit which has been on display for decades now has
been removed to make room for a new exhibit. The ladybug display from the front
of the museum was placed in the room where the dolls once lived.

A new, smaller exhibit of 1920s toys now occupies a space
near the museum office.

“The toys stir memories and bring a connection to people who
come in. If you go away learning one thing, we’ve been successful,” Ms. Leister
said. “People are still coming in to see the Made in Milford exhibit. This is
the second year, and it’s a lot of research and time. I do it all myself — the
dry matting, cutting, researching. . . I do want to put our things on display.
I don’t want people to think they give us things and it sits in the basement.”

The Milford Museum will also host a Speakers Series event
presented by Mike Lambert on the Eastern Shore Baseball League Thursday, Aug.
15 at the Milford Women’s Club at 7 p.m.

For more information about the Milford Museum or to see
other upcoming events, visit www.milforddemuseum. org.

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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