A trip back in time -- Andover style

CARL RUSSO/Staff photoJoan Koesterherm, a volunteer for the Andover Center for History and Culture, holds a 1934 photo of Marjorie West Emmons in her wedding dress. The actual wedding dress is on display on the left. Emmons' wedding dress and her mother's 1908 wedding dress were donated to the center by their families and were displayed at the center's annual gala. 

Everywhere they turned, visitors to the Andover Center for History and Culture's annual gala saw reminders of the town's past.

A 1900 wedding dress here. A 150-year-old camera there. A student desk from the old Punchard School.

The list went on and on.

Andover's treasure trove of noteworthy documents, books, photos and other items from the town's earlier days are highlighted each year at the event.

Guests love to learn about the old treasures, said Elaine Clements, executive director of the center.

"We always feature items from our collection and people enjoy that," she said. "Our connection to the past and stories about the past are so important."

This year marked the fourth annual "Be Giving" gala, and a collection of wedding gowns from an Andover family stole the show. The oldest gown dates back to 1900, another to the 1930s, and there will be a third gown added from a wedding this season.

Last week's gala was held at Andover Country Club and also featured many historical stories about Andover — like an old tale about growing cranberries in town and works of art done by four local artists who were inspired by the town's vast collection. The art pieces were sold at the gala.

The center's collection has about 50,000 items. The collection started in 1911, according to town records.

"Every item has a story and we have always connected with those stories. Yes, that has been our mission," Clements said. 

For gala attendees looking for contemporary news, they were reminded that AVIS’s 125th anniversary juried art exhibit, Natural State, featuring artworks inspired by AVIS reservations and the natural beauty of Andover is still on display at ACHC, 97 Main St. The exhibit runs through Oct. 31. 



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