As informal learning environments, museums and sites of commemoration educate and entertain visitors of all ages and interests. In doing so, they generate significant return on investment by attracting out-of-area tourists who spend money and time in the community.

Senator Michael Hough, Delegate Jesse Pippy and the Frederick County delegation, understanding this economic and social equation, supported the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society’s request for a $50,000 bond initiative to complete the Museum of the Ironworker in Catoctin Furnace. This funding will complete the restoration/renovation of 12610 Catoctin Furnace Road and open this state-owned building with exhibits — including state-of-the-art forensic facial reconstructions of two enslaved ironworkers, that tell the story of the workers who helped make Maryland and this country. When complete, the structure will serve as the museum and visitors’ center for the Catoctin Furnace area of Cunningham Falls State Park, attracting group and individual visitors to the area.

Delegation members recognized that the new museum will encourage and attract new audiences to northern Frederick County and the surrounding Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. The stated goal of the historical society is to increase visitors to the larger Catoctin area. Visitors who come to the Museum of the Ironworker will presumably also be interested in seeing the larger scenic landscape in which the ironmaking industry developed and thereby spend additional time and resources in Frederick County, as well as surrounding Maryland counties.

The Museum of the Ironworker is something for the public to look forward to in these trying times. Historically, the citizens of Catoctin Furnace survived many hardships, mentally and physically. Their stories provide hope for all of us. The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc., an all-volunteer organization, will ensure that the taxpayers of Maryland are proud of this achievement and the new Museum of the Ironworker. Again, the board and members of the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society are immensely grateful to Senator Hough, Delegate Pippy, and the entire delegation for their vision and unfailing support. We look forward to welcoming you to the Museum of the Ironworker!

Elizabeth Anderson Comer is the secretary of the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc.

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