Local Family donates memorabilia to APG Museum
July 22, 2011
Story and photo by YVONNE JOHNSON
When Sallie Cohee Zebley heard about the new Aberdeen Proving Ground Museum, she immediately thought of the Family mementos tucked away in her attic.
Zebley, who is the great-granddaughter of Pooles Island lighthouse keeper Stephen Cohee, felt pretty certain some of her historic Family treasures would find a good home at the museum, slated to open next fall.
Teresa Kaltenbacher, of APG’s Directorate of Public Works Cultural Resources Program, and Museum Director Gail Fuller visited Zebley’s 100-year-old home on Bush River in Edgewood July 12.
There, they viewed post turn-of-the-century furniture, clothing, documents and even antique duck decoys Zebley’s father and grand-father used to support their Families.
Fuller was especially interested in a World War II Army uniform and black work hat in the style of World War II-era Coast Guard issue. She also scanned a 1942 issue of “LOOK” magazine containing a feature story on APG and a photo of Zebley’s father.
Along with husband Norman, sister Lucy Armstrong and cousin John Bowman, Zebley has lived in the area most of her life. She said they grew up crabbing and playing in the waters of the Bush River and that she can remember when the river ran clear, “and you could see down to your toes.”
“We’re almost the last in line and when we pass on we want to see these things go somewhere where they will be appreciated,” she said. “It’s nice to know that [APG] thinks so highly of preserving Pooles Island history,” she added. “I just wish I’d paid more attention to all the stories when I was a little girl.”
How to donate
The former Ordnance Museum is transitioning its assets out to make way for the new museum which will house artifacts detailing the history of APG as well as the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, recently relocated from Fort Monmouth, N.J.
Museum Director Gail Fuller said she is looking for items to do with the installation’s World Wars I and II history, chemical and biological research, testing and evaluation, engineering history and the development of munitions.
“I believe this will be the only Army museum with a large focus on civilian contributions in addition to the history of Soldiers,” she said. “We are looking for everything that has to do with Aberdeen or Edgewood.
Anyone who thinks they might have something of interest should contact me and describe what it is. If it sounds interesting I will either come out and evaluate it or ask them to bring it in, depending on the item.”
Most items will be put on display indoors while some fragile items may be put into storage to be displayed later, she said.
“We do need uniforms from those who served here. Even after we open we will continue to build our collections on the history of Aberdeen and Edgewood.”
To contact Fuller, call 410-306-4707 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.