Freeman retiring as curator of Railroad House museum

Jan. 19, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

The artifacts and historical treasures on display and stored at the Railroad House in downtown Sanford will no longer be cataloged by its long-time curator.

Bill Freeman Sr., a former president of the Railroad House Historical Association Board of Directors, recently announced his retirement as the curator of the Railroad House. He was honored during a reception Monday.

“It’s gotten too difficult to go up and down the stairs in the office,” said 87-year-old Freeman. “It’s a good time to get someone else on it.”

Throughout the last 15 years, Freeman has taken each historical item in the Railroad House and labeled it with a brief explanation of what it is and the importance of the item.

“I’ve always loved history,” he said. “And I’ve loved the artifacts. I think it is very important to record that history as well as display the artifacts that represents that era. It will be a way for (the younger generations) to find out what happened to us in the early 1900s and late 1800s.”

There are literally hundreds of items, photos, maps and files stores in the Railroad House, submitted by people from across Lee County, Freeman said.

“It’s important for them to see who and what help build our society, and our city and our county,” he said.

Freeman was named the curator because he saw the need to preserve the local and regional history, said board president Rebekah Harvey.

“It has been so valuable to the community, and Bill has been instrumental in getting all that done,” she said. “He has just done a super job.”

Edwin Patterson, a long-time member and former president of the board, will take over the curator position.

“There is a great deal of information, and all of that has come from Lee County people,” Harvey said. “Things they want to share and (they) want to have a place to put them. We preserve them.”