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Upstairs, Downstairs and Outside at Pemberton” will celebrate the official opening and viewing of the upstairs parlor bed chamber.

The chamber has a ceiling attached building bed tester from which the bed curtains are hung surrounding a low post bed. This very unique feature is only one of three existing examples of such a built-in cornice tester frame at its original site in the United States. One other example is installed in the Baltimore Museum of Art as part of their period rooms and was removed from an early house along the Nanticoke River. Another existing example was removed from a now destroyed house on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The frames are all unique to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. There is evidence that four of these unique ceiling attached frames were originally present in Pemberton Hall’s bed chambers.

The chamber is interpreted as being occupied in 1786 by Henry and Thomas, the grandsons of Isaac Handy, as Henry is packing his cases to return to Eden Academy for his formal education. Eden Academy was a boarding school located several miles downriver from Pemberton Hall along the upper reaches of Wicomico Creek.

Outside the bed chamber in the passage way, a sleeping mat, a wooden box and other items are reminders that each generation of owners of Pemberton Hall were slave holders to the end of the Civil War. These items could have been used by a companion and servant of young Henry and Thomas. The passage way also has a new exhibit of artifacts found at Pemberton and Harrington which shows the influence of world trade in Somerset County in the 18th Century.

Short tours, colonial food and music will be available downstairs. Outside tours of the milk house and the kitchen garden will take place with demonstrations using the well and playing colonial games. This is a great opportunity for a fun filled afternoon for the whole family to learn about and experience the 18th Century at Pemberton Historical Park.

The never before opened second floor of Pemberton Hall is about to be opened and interpreted to the public for the first time. The finishing touches and details are be completed at this time. (The grand opening to the public will be later in the New Year). It will feature exciting new exhibit spaces. You are invited to get a behind the scenes sneak peek of this important new exhibit room before it is opened to the public.

The year is 1786. Pemberton Hall and the riverside portion of the plantation are owned by Henry Handy. This exciting new exhibit will feature a bed chamber and passage way. It will tell the story of two of Henry and Jane’s sons, Henry age 9 and Thomas age 10 years old. It is the year before their father’s death in 1787. It will provide our visitors with part of a never before told story at Pemberton Hall and Plantation. This bed chamber will convey part of the fascinating “the rest of the story” of Pemberton Hall and of these two grandchildren of Isaac and Anne and what direction life takes for them after their father’s death. It will tell the story of Pemberton Plantation at the very beginning of our new nation.

This (about to be opened to the public) second story bed chamber is fully furnished and exhibits the only original, eighteenth century, in situ ceiling tester frame remaining in the United States. This highly unique feature of Pemberton Hall is one of only three still in existence in the U.S. It has been extensively researched, fully furnished and curtained. The results are outstanding. We invite our members, prospective members and invited guests to get an advance behind the scenes sneak peek of this new exhibit when you join us on January 10 from 2 to 4 pm for Pemberton Hall Foundation’s Twelfth Night open house.

       On Saturday Dec. 5  the folks at Pemberton Hall Foundation and Westside Historical Society will again offer a workshop in making your own natural greenery Christmas decorations.  This has become a popular annual event at Pemberton Historical Park,  a chance  to make beautiful wreaths, swags and other decorations for the holidays!

All the greens and materials needed will be provided by these two heritage organizations, plus hands-on instruction, and at the same time learn some interesting bits of the history of  the  commercial importance of the harvesting and creation of natural greenery wreaths on the Eastern Shore.   For many years in the 1800s and early 1900s  local farmers made a tidy profit to carry their families over the winter by cutting holly, cedar, and other greens, fashioning them into hundreds of beautiful wreaths, and shipping them by the railroad to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and other cities in the region.  This workshop will teach the same methods, using natural materials to make the finished product. No prior experience is necessary!

Classes will be held in the Education Building at Pemberton Historical Park  (on Pemberton Drive) and will begin at 10 am.  Space is limited to about ten persons working at one time, so although reservations are not required, to avoid waiting  for a space at the work table,  “students” may phone ahead – at 410-742-1741.

No  decorations such as ribbons or ornaments  will be provided, but if the  crafter wishes to include these they can be brought along  and the instructors will assist in attaching them to the finished product.  Some real  fruits (lemons, apples) also will be available for an extra fee if they are desired.

The cost for making one item is $15, but crafters may choose to make more than one  item,  with the cost being  $15 each.   Refreshments will be provided , and both heritage organizations will have a number  of  gift items for sale.

On Sunday, Dec. 6 the workshop will be held again in Mardela Springs at the Barren Creek Heritage Museum at 413 Main Street.   Instruction will begin  at approximately 2:30 and will continue for approximately one hour.  For information about either the Dec. 5th  or 6th workshops  email  or phone 410-742-1741 or 410-726-8047.

Thank you to PAC14 for editing and posting the video!

Pemberton Hall, Wicomico County’s premiere historical site, now has an expanded tour schedule.  Please see Public Tours for more information!

Get on board with Chesapeake Tours on June 13, 2015 for a guided tour of London Town, the 23-acre museum and park outside Annapolis featuring colonial history and an archaeological dig for the “Lost Town of London” & gardens overlooking the South River.  Also included is a guided tour of Paca House, the home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence as well as a 45 minute cruise on the Bay, Annapolis Harbor and the banks of US Naval Academy.

All this, and you don’t even have to drive, for only $84!  Even better, a portion of the proceeds is being donated to the Pemberton Hall Foundation!

For more info and booking, please see Chesapeake Tours and Promotions

Members and guests are invited to celebrate


Twelfth Night at Pemberton Hall


Sunday, January 11, 2015, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Twelfth Night is a festival in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany and concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is observed as a time of merrymaking. Food and drink are the center of the celebration in modern times. Come to celebrate Twelfth Night at Pemberton Hall with a little wassail and other 18th century goodies.


If you are a member of Pemberton Hall and did not receive your invitation, please contact us at 410-742-1741


Trip includes:

*Guided tour of exquisite original costume exhibit
*Guided outdoor garden tour by tram
*Guided house tour
*RT motorcoach transportation
*Bus driver gratuity
*Time for lunch at Winterthur; dinner stop at Buckley’s Tavern (meals on your own)
*LTD membership in Pemberton Hall Foundation (trip Sponsor)*
*8:30am departure // 9:00pm return (Salisbury Walmart North parking lot)

FOR RESERVATIONS: online @ or CALL: Priscilla, Chesapeake Tours & Promotions 443.366.2784

Poster Downton Abbey 3

The Spring 2014 edition of Pemberton News is out!  Please have a look!

Pemberton Newletter Spring 2014

If you’d like to become a member and support the work of the Foundation (as well as have this newsletter delivered directly to your email!), contact Renee Frederickson at

Pemberton Hall Foundation Board members Renee Frederickson and Bill Wilson recorded a 30-minute show for our local public access TV station, PAC14.


Here’s the link, enjoy!




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