WIHA Hosts First Dinner Meeting of the Season

Photo by Marianne Salza

The Winthrop Improvement and Historical Association (WIHA) held the first dinner meeting of its 2022-2023 season on October 4 with Bob Upton, president of the Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation (RSCHP), as the special speaker. Upton is one of the original members of RSCHP, which manages the Revere History Museum, and works closely with the Rumney Marsh Burial Ground.

Claire and Dave Hubbard, 2022 winner of the Massachusetts
History Alliance Award, and WIHA President Michael Herbert.

“This is a great opportunity for me to come here once again,” said Upton, who collects Revere memorabilia. “I conducted a Revere Beach slideshow many years ago.”

Founded in 1994, RSCHP collects, promotes, and preserves the history of Revere by identifying and cataloging artifacts and photographs for community resources.

Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation and WIHA hope to learn from one another and collaborate, as Revere and Winthrop have shared histories. Upton noted that town historian, Dave Hubbard, appeared in RSCHP’s documentary video, Revere Beach: The Changing Tides, which raised $30,000 for the Revere History Museum, and can be viewed on YouTube.

“One connection we have with Winthrop is all the people of Winthrop have gone to Revere Beach, and have special memories,” mentioned Upton. “Winthrop and Revere histories are tied together. The history of Revere in this area is significant.”

Upton grew up in Revere as a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Church. The Revere History Museum now resides in the parish’s former rectory. The 125-year-old, four-story building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, like the Deane Winthrop House.

The Revere History Museum, located at 108 Beach Street, Revere, has undergone some $450,000 in renovations over the past three years in collaboration with Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School (The Voc).

“We are trying to figure out how to get fire prevention services,” explained Upton. “We’re not sure where that money is going to come from; but we have members of our organization who know how to write grants.”

Upton encouraged WIHA to build relationships with local organizations like RSCHP has with The Voc, that is currently sending Revere students to do electrical work in the facility; and will later install heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, as well as do carpentry work.

Although the pandemic reduced patronage, RSCHP has been able to reach larger audiences digitally through the development of the RevereBeach.com website, and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. 

“I think it’s important to get more people involved. Let them know there is an opportunity to participate, and you need their help,” Upton recommended. “To me, it’s all about the volunteers who have donated their time. It’s incredible what volunteers will do if you give them the tools to do it. Encourage them.”

The Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation’s director of museum operations is a trained archivist who is digitizing collections of written materials with a team of volunteers.

Upton, a former Army recruiter, suggested WIHA partner with local businesses to sponsor fundraising events, and offer the Deane Winthrop House barn as a meeting location for other non-profits. “Find out what skills people have, and see how you’re able to apply those things,” Upton urged. “I’m all about collaboration. If you give people the opportunity to help you, they will do that; but offer them help. This is a tight-knit community.”

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