EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

April 29, 2014

Whittier Birthplace opens this week

Whittier Birthplace opens tomorrow for its 121st season.

Again this year, the birthplace offers free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserves and their families, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The military program is part of Blue Star Museums, in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.

Museum curator Augustine “Gus” Reusch provides tours Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for people 62 and older and for students 18 and older. Admission is free for children 12 and younger and Whittier Club members. In addition, the public may download a free Freeman Memorial Trail guide at www.johngreenleafwhittier.com. The self-guided trail features 13 stations on the birthplace property — each a landmark cited in Whittier’s poetry or his many biographies. Other free downloads include Whittier’s Autobiography and Red Riding Hood in the online gift shop.

“The trustees again invite the public to tour this famous house museum and take advantage of the many free resources available online,” said Tim Coco, president of the Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead.

Whittier was a popular and successful poet during his lifetime, but perhaps his most important legacy is his activism in support of equal rights, Coco said.

“He fought slavery and advocated for women’s voting rights, placing his life at risk championing these causes on the national stage,” he said.

Thomas Whittier built the home in 1688 during America’s First Period of European settlement (1625-1725). It opened to the public for the first time in 1893 when former Haverhill Mayor James H. Carleton purchased the house and land and presented it to the Haverhill Whittier Club.

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