CUMBERLAND — The public is invited to a dedication of the Allegany Museum’s new Arthur and Bernice Friedland Grand Courtroom on Oct. 13 at 3 p.m.
Ironically, almost 30 years ago to the day, Bill Derlan, then a writer for the Cumberland Times-News, was interviewing Arthur and Bernice Friedland about the closing of their Tots to Teens store and their planned retirement. In 1989, the paths of the Friedlands (then disposing of inventory and displays) and a little-known predecessor to the Allegany Museum (the Western Maryland Station Center, then acquiring industrial and transportation artifacts for display) went in totally different directions.
While the Friedlands were phasing out a well-known business, some local history and heritage preservationists were slowly growing a regional museum. Their paths would cross in significant ways. Derlan’s Oct. 14, 1989, article, noting the closure of Tots to Teens after 30 years, quoted Arthur Friedland as saying: “We plan to relax and do some traveling, and we plan to stay active in the community.” According to the article, they wanted to “pursue the leisurely pace of retirement.”
Leisurely? Maybe the Friedlands were thinking that, while retired, they would attend a periodic meeting, maintain a committee membership or two, keep some minimal contact with the Allegany Community College Trustees, Maryland Humanities, American Association of University Women, Allegany County Library, Downtown Development Commission, etc.
While the Western Maryland Station was evolving into what is now the Allegany Museum, a privately funded nonprofit, the Friedlands were improving the community at all levels — culturally, financially, educationally, spiritually and economically.
Instead of “the leisurely pace of retirement,” Bernice Friedland, with Arthur’s support, seems to have shifted their community service gears into overdrive. For example, she co-chaired (with the late George Wyckoff Jr.) the1997-98 Allegany College Foundation campaign, exceeding its goal by over $400,000.
She founded a local Literacy Council, and then continued tutoring until the effort was absorbed by the college. She actively served on the Chamber of Commerce’s education committee. She also worked steadily to build and grow both the county and state Commissions for Women, the Maryland Women’s Commission Hall of Fame, the local Women’s Refuge, the Child Abuse Task Force, the Tri-State Community Concert Association, Music at Penn Alps, and, finally crossing paths, the Allegany Museum.
As active as the Friedlands were while retired, Bernice added the museum to her calendar. For years, she has been a Friend of the Museum, a donor, active volunteer, director, advisory committee member and stalwart proponent of its educational programs and community outreach. In honor of her late husband, Arthur, she has made and fulfilled the largest financial pledge ever received by the Allegany Museum in its history.
Light refreshments will be served at the dedication. Museum exhibits will be open until 4:30 p.m. The museum is located at 3 Pershing St., Cumberland. for more information, call the museum at 301-777-7200.