News Release, St. Mary’s County Public Information Office
Leonardtown, MD – The Friends of St. Clement’s Island & Piney Point Lighthouse Museums are pleased to announce the purchase and installation of the St. Mary’s County Museum Division’s first penny press machine at the St. Clement’s Island Museum in Colton’s Point, MD. The machine is located in the lobby of the museum and features original designs, highlighting St. Mary’s County treasured historic sites associated with the Museum Division. The four pressed penny graphics include the Blackistone Lighthouse, the Piney Point Lighthouse, the Drayden African-American Schoolhouse and “Maryland Begins Here” with an illustration depicting Maryland’s first settler’s sailing ship, the Dove.
“The whole museum staff contributed to the pressed-penny design selection,” says Karen Stone, Manager of the St. Mary’s County Museum. “We wanted to represent the entirety of sites under the Division’s care and the most popular destinations for visitors to our museums.”
Jayne Walsh, the Friends Museum Store Manager has been enthusiastic about Penny Press machines since her children were little, saying “Penny press machines are a big draw for family members of all ages, both as souvenirs and collectible items. A pressed-penny at the St. Clement’s Island Museum is the perfect inexpensive, 51-cent souvenir for children and adults alike.”
Ms. Walsh continues by mentioning the machine isn’t just about the final product, but also the interactivity involved. “The staff wanted a hand-crank machine so children can have a full interactive experience – from choosing and setting their design selection, inserting the coins and then cranking the large wheel that flattens the penny until they hear the clink of their souvenir penny hitting the return cup.”
The official grand unveiling of the new penny press machine will be on Monday, March 25 at the Maryland Day festivities at St. Clement’s Island Museum. The public is encouraged to come celebrate the founding of Maryland at the state’s birthplace with a ceremony from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. featuring guest speakers, dignitaries from around the state and program. The museum and water taxi will be operating for visitors prior to and after the ceremony, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and are free to the general public during Maryland Day.
The Friends Museum Store would like to thank the community and patrons for their support in donations through our Friends Facebook page fundraiser and in the Friends Museum Stores “Spare Change” collections. $443.14 has been raised through contributions that began as a campaign in September of 2018. The Friends organization sponsored a large portion of the procurement costs as well, donating $2000 toward the final total.
The Friends are not stopping there! The Penny Press Fundraiser is continuing, with the goal to buy a second penny press machine for the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park location. To this end, the Friends Museum Store continues to offer a $1,000 sponsorship opportunity to any business who would like to help fund the second machine. This opportunity includes a permanent brass plate on the Piney Point machine acknowledging the benefactor. Community contributions can also be made at both St. Clement’s Island Museum and Piney Point Lighthouse Museum by dropping spare change into the large carboy jugs located in the museum stores, or through check donations mailed to the Friends Museum Store at 38370 Point Breeze Road, Colton’s Point, MD 20626, and through the Friends’ Facebook page donation button located at www.Facebook.com/FriendsSCI.
The Friends of St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Museums raise funds in order to support historical interpretation, education programs and special needs of the sites managed by the Museum Division of St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks. The Friends organization is a 501(c) 3 organization sponsoring events, assisting with acquisitions and supporting efforts to broaden the understanding of our culture and community’s heritage. For more information, please visit www.Facebook.com/FriendsSCI .