Museum welcomes speaker on Feb. 7 who will highlight valentine-making industry

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 January 2023 at 8:57 am

Provided photo: Bill Wallace serves as executive director of the Worcester Historical Museum in Worcester, Mass.

CHILDS – The Cobblestone Society and Museum will offer a virtual presentation Feb. 7 in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Just a week before Valentine’s Day, the museum will welcome Bill Wallace, executive director of the Worcester Historical Museum in Worcester, Mass. Wallace will educate and entertain when he presents “Be Ours: Worcester’s role in the American Valentine Industry.”

For nearly a century, from the early 1850s to the late 1940s, Worcester was at the heart of the American valentine-making industry. Esther Howland, who made hand-assembled creations, is considered by some to be the “Mother of the American Valentine.” Her creations, to the mass-produced cards of the 20th century, make Worcester’s story one of innovation, creativity and ever-expanding markets.

The presentation, shown on a large screen TV at the Thompson-Kast Visitors Center, will tell about the three generations of Worcester businesses, all encouraging someone to “Be Mine,” and how to identify Worcester originals in a collection.

Interested persons can also register for a Zoom link, which will arrive in e-mail inboxes on Feb. 6. Sliding scale admission is $5 to $20.

Those who wish to watch the presentation at the Visitors Center must call (585) 589-9013 to register with a credit/debit card. Seating is limited.

Bill Wallace is the long-time executive director of the Worcester Historical Museum. During his tenure, the museum moved to its current location, expanded its programs and exhibits and restored and operates Salisbury Mansion (1771) as Worcester’s only historic house museum. A native of Northern New Hampshire, he is a student of Mount Washington history, a gravestone enthusiast, and – if not at the museum – is frequently found at a Disney property.

A question and answer session will immediately follow the speaker’s remarks to conclude this hour-long program.

This program will benefit the Cobblestone Society and Museum, a 501c3 organization. Any business owner or individual interested in contributing funding for this event or a future virtual program is asked to contact the Cobblestone’s assistant director, Sue Bonafini at