Share your exhibition stories with us

Recently, a longtime Worcester County Horticultural Society (WCHS) member, now retired and living in Arizona, stopped by the Tower Hill Library. He was wondering if we’d be interested in some of his photographs and memorabilia from his days exhibiting flowers and vegetables at 30 Elm Street, our headquarters from 1928-1986. We’re always interested in adding to our institutional archives — but we also enjoyed hearing his stories as a frequent prize winner. We especially liked hearing about the time his mother allowed him to miss school so he could participate in a show. When he returned to school the following day and presented his mother’s note, the teachers’ response was that they already knew what he had been up to: his picture with his prize-winning entry was on the front page of that day’s newspaper!

Our current library exhibit, Looking Back: The WCHS Spring Exhibition includes images and articles about that much-heralded rite of spring that took place for 85 years in Worcester and for many years was the Society’s biggest show. There are many wonderful images and artifacts from the show on display, but our exhibit case can only tell a small part of the story. So, we’re also interested in hearing your stories and recollections about the Spring Show as well. Did you ever exhibit, or volunteer during the event? Were you and your family among the thousands that would wait in line on Elm Street to get into the Horticultural Building? Do you have any photographs or mementos of the show?

On Saturday, May 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. we’ll be recording stories as part of an effort to create an oral history of the event. You can register here or contact Kathy Bell at or 508-869-6111 x116 if you have questions or would like to set up another date or time to participate. We’ll be collecting stories the entire time the exhibit is on display through September 2017.

Newspaper article on a Horticultural Hall exhibit in Worcester.

The last WCHS Spring Exhibition was held in 1991 just as the Society was establishing a year-round garden at Tower Hill.  In a column by Paul Rogers encouraging attendance at the last Spring Show, he noted the real reason the show’s run was ending: “A flower show’s existence can be as brief as a few hours or as lengthy as 10 days. A botanic garden is forever.”

Kathy Bell 
Tower Hill Library