The historic Bloomfield Manor in Centerville, Maryland once belonged to Mary Edwardine Bourke, one of the earliest female historians of Maryland. Today, an eponymous nonprofit plans to honor this pioneering woman by transforming her property into the Maryland Museum of Women’s History.
Turning the house built in 1760 into a museum requires extensive renovations. The Mary Edwardine Burke Emory Foundation has partnered with Michael Dowling, an architect long associated with Maryland Historic Trust and Historic Annapolis, to restore and update the house. Planned renovations include installing ADA compliant bathrooms, an elevator, appropriate museum lighting, and a fire suppression system.
Dowling has proposed adding a structure to the rear of the building that will house the updated bathrooms and elevator as well as office space. The building’s current two-story glass courtyard will be turned into the museum entrance. The front facade of the manor will remained untouched.
Despite some setbacks in the renovation work, including finding a beehive under the second floor of the house, the museum anticipates opening in August 2020, in time for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Even without a physical home, the Maryland Museum of Women’s History has been at work sharing the story of Maryland women through online exhibits and special events.