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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Questers donate display cabinet to Bicentennial Museum

- it will house the Museum’s HMS Victory replica ship -

by Sylene Argent

On Saturday, members of the now defunct Pelee Past Questers (1498) group, Beth Smith and Jackie King, presented a new, locally crafted display case to Maidstone Bicentennial Museum Curator, Victoria Beaulieu.

  “It is gorgeous,” King said of the new display case. “I’m so proud of it.”

  The display case, which local crafter Adrian Sylvester made – who has created other oak display cases for the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum – will house the local Museum’s HMS Victory replica scale model ship.

  The Maidstone Bicentennial Museum purchased the scale replica model around a year ago as this vessel has a link to WWI Navel Petty Officer, Arthur Plant, who was of Maidstone. The Museum has a display of Plant’s items, including his uniform, trunk, blanket, and even his winter undershirt.

  Beaulieu noted Plant served on the HMS Victory, during WWI, which was Lord Nelson’s tall ship during the Napoleonic Wars. The ship was still in commission and used as a training vessel in the early 1900s.

  “We have a direct connection, even though it is an English Naval ship,” Beaulieu noted, which is why the Museum bought the replica of the ship. The display case, “Is the icing on the cake to this whole display we have out here.”

  King said she was able to see the HMS Victory in England a few years ago. The replica the Museum was able to get, she said, is a, “Wonderful and beautiful representation of it.” She added the way the multiple sails on the ship are represented in the model is fantastic.

  The Museum, Beaulieu said, is very grateful to the Questers group for the display case that will house the replica scale model ship. Without being able to fundraise currently, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the donation is especially appreciated, she added. “It means a lot to us. It means all the work that the Maidstone Area Historical Society out here does, when we get donations like this and people in the community support what we do, it makes it worthwhile for us.”

  Smith said she became aware of the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum, and all it offers the community in terms of the preservation and promotion of local history, a couple of years ago when searching for a venue for a Questers’ convention.

  “I wandered in here one day and was very impressed. And, so I eventually created a day tour that brought a busload of ladies up to see the Museum,” Smith said. “When we decided we were going to end our chapter, one of the last causes that we applied for money for was for this particular cabinet.”

  The Maidstone Bicentennial Museum, Smith said, “Is a real gem.” She said she was really proud her Questers group was able to put money towards causes to restore items that can teach future generation about the past.

  Due to the pandemic, the Maidstone Bicentennial Museum will not be open until the spring.


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