The Historical Society of Kent County hosted more than 80 guests on Sunday, October 8, at Highfield, the home of Michael and Ann Bourne, to celebrate Michael Bourne’s life work and his family’s gift to the Society.
The family’s gift includes Bourne’s hand-drawn architectural renderings and research files on all those properties he worked on in Kent County.
“We are talking about scores of beautiful drawings and thousands of pages of research. They are the largest single gift ever made to the archives of the Historical Society in its more than 80-year history,” noted
Society president Barbara Jorgenson at Sunday’s event.
Local Properties Featured, Move Now to Bordley History Center
Nine of the local properties Bourne helped restore were featured on Sunday, with full size reproductions of his detailed drawings. The drawings, never displayed publicly before, feature Brampton Inn, Buck Bachus House, Custom House, Piner’s Grove, White Swan Tavern, Partner’s Addition, Marsh Point Farm, Willow Grove, and Great Hopes.
These drawings move to the Bordley History Center later this week as an exhibit of Bourne’s work, which will be available through December 2023. The Center is located at 301 High Street, Chestertown, and is open Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Guests also heard personal stories from three of Bourne’s longtime associates—well-known local preservation architect Barton Ross, who met Bourne when Ross was a 9-year-old and later worked with him; Nancy Miller Schamu, former Executive Director of the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers who met Bourne in 1989 and worked with him many times; and William (Willie) Graham, curator of architecture for Colonial Williamsburg for 35 years, who worked with Bourne there and on many projects.
Donate to Support the Bourne Collection
The Society is seeking donations to preserve the Bourne Collection. “Many have responded generously, but we continue to ask—and need—your support to do what is right by the Michael Bourne Collection—catalog it, care for it, and share it with the public,” said Jorgenson. All funds donated to the Michael Bourne Collection are being held in a special fund designated solely to the preservation and ultimate sharing of Michael’s life work. Donations may be made on the Society’s website here or mailed to the Society’s office at P.O. Box 665, Chestertown, MD 21620.