“Who founded Gillian’s fundeck? Who founded Gillian’s fundeck?” My children wanted to know. They were on the last question of a scavenger hunt at the Ocean City Historical Museum.
My family and I first vacationed in Ocean City, NJ in the early 80’s. An August vacation in Ocean City quickly became a family tradition, as we’ve been visiting the beach town nearly every year since. Over the years, the tradition has included renting surreys, playing miniature golf, and renting bikes.
However, at this point my desires for my Ocean City vacation are simple: Go to the beach, and take my children to the rides on the boardwalk. I have little desire to do anything else. Ms. MMK, on the other hand, likes to try different things. She’s the type to read travel books, view local websites, and consult local publications. This year her research brought us to the Ocean City Historical Museum.
Thirty years of coming to Ocean City and I didn’t even know the town had a Historical Museum. Anyway, my expectations for the Ocean City Historical Museum were minimal. I figured we’d kill a half an hour and Ms. MMK would feel like we got some culture. Well, we got much more than I bargained for at the Ocean City Historical Museum. We pulled in to a crowded parking lot of a large building and entered the well-kept clearly laid out Community Center. The center also held the town library, swimming pool, café, aquatic and fitness center, and a senior center. The Ocean City Historical Museum is not big and doesn’t have flashing lights. There are only a few exhibits that are hands on. Yet my children were entertained and both found interesting things to look at. SJ was fascinated by the story of a ship named the Sinida. In 1901, the Sindia embarked from New York on a 5-month voyage which took it to China and Japan. On December 15, while on its way back, the Sindia ran aground onto the Ocean City beach. They never figured out why the ship crashed and part of the ship remains buried in the sand.
BR was intrigued by the pricing guide from the 1960 Acme Supermarket. He studied the prices surprised at how inexpensive food was. So, he was focused on food shopping – like father, like son.
My mother was sold when she saw the Grace Kelly exhibit. Apparently, Kelly’s family spent summers vacationing in Ocean City, NJ. The Philadelphia born princess is a favorite of my mother’s. In fact, while touring through Europe, my mother instructed me to stop in Monaco and to make sure to let people know I’m from Philadelphia just like Grace Kelly.
I enjoyed reading up on the history of Ocean City, NJ . I learned about the town’s beginnings and its growth. Originally known as Peck’s beach, the town came to be known as Ocean City when 4 ministers took it over in 1879 and laid out the streets and lots for cottages.
Ms. MMK enjoyed the old cash register and switchboard. She explained to the children that the switchboard was used to make phone calls. When I dialed my boyhood number on a rotary phone, SJ was confused. “You mean you have to dial.”
An hour later, my family and I were ready to leave the Ocean City Historical Museum. We had gotten our share of culture and knew much more about our vacation town. By the way, the answer is David. David Gillian. The children learned that and received a prize for completing the scavenger hunt– an Ocean City pencil. Thanks Ocean City Historical Museum.