The Hays House

The Hays House The Hays House is a historic site built in 1788 in Bel Air, MD. Now, it is a living history museum that demonstrates what life was like in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
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The Hays House is part of the Harford County Historical Society. We are open every Sunday from 1-4pm March through December. We have tours, demonstrations, and hands-on activities.

Operating as usual

04/30/2020

Here's a note from Bill Walden, President of The Historical Society of Harford County.

THIS PLACE MATTERS
May is National Historic Preservation Month. The Historical Society, in conjunction with the Harford County Historical Preservation Commission, originally planned to showcase an exhibit during the month of May, entitled This Place Matters at the Society headquarters including photographs and stories of historic properties. Due to the pandemic, this plan had to change.

We still wanted to share some of the stories of Harford’s historic properties and to let you share your memories about these places as well. So, each day in May a picture and brief history of a historic property in Harford County will be posted on the Historical Society of Harford County page.

We encourage you to check the site often and to share your memories of these places with us. The photographs, stories and comments will be archived for the enjoyment of future researchers.

We hope you will join us in the fun of seeing some of these old buildings and remembering your youthful adventures there.

As these pictures from our "Rosalie Calvert and the War of 1812" event illustrate, Mary Ann Jung not only engages her au...
03/13/2020

As these pictures from our "Rosalie Calvert and the War of 1812" event illustrate, Mary Ann Jung not only engages her audience, she also turns them into the story's characters!

03/13/2020

Per the following message from The Historical Society of Harford County, the Hays House Museum will be closed through March 31.

To HSHC Volunteers

Yesterday Governor Hogan called a state of emergency and issued guidelines to follow in making decisions for closing schools, businesses, etc. in light of the health hazards of the coronavirus outbreak.

In following these guidelines The Historical Society president and board members have decided we will be closing headquarters and Hays House for the next two weeks. (Until the end of the month; March 31)

All March events will be postponed. Announcements of the new dates to follow.

As this develops, I will keep you informed.

Thank you,
President Bill Walden

HSHC Newsletter Editor
The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc.
143 N. Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
Phone (410) 838-7691
FAX (410) 838-5257

02/27/2020
The Hays House is closed for the winter and will reopen on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Meanwhile, stay warm, and stay tuned f...
01/25/2020

The Hays House is closed for the winter and will reopen on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Meanwhile, stay warm, and stay tuned for news about the special events we've planned.

#hayshousemuseum #hayshouse #harfordhistory #harfordhistorical

Were you unable to attend the Hays House Museum's Christmas Open House? We're sorry you missed seeing the splendor, so h...
01/17/2020

Were you unable to attend the Hays House Museum's Christmas Open House? We're sorry you missed seeing the splendor, so here are pictures of the Country Garden Club's decorations. Enjoy!

Were you unable to attend the Hays House Museum's Christmas Open House? We're sorry you missed seeing the splendor, so here are pictures of the Country Garden Club's decorations. Enjoy!

The Hays House Museum will be open this Sunday, November 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. Stop in for a tour and a visit! Free admis...
11/05/2019

The Hays House Museum will be open this Sunday, November 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. Stop in for a tour and a visit! Free admission, and free parking on our lot between the Hays House and TD Bank.

In case you missed our earlier announcement: this year's hearth cooking event has been cancelled.

11/01/2019

Announcement! Due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, we must cancel the Hearth Cooking demonstration previously scheduled for Sunday, November 10, 2019. We apologize for this disappointing news.

The Hays House Museum will be open that day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., so please plan to stop in anyway for a tour and a visit with our lovely volunteers.

10/12/2019

The Hays House will be open this Sunday, October 13, from 1 to 4 p.m., with free admission and plenty of free parking on our lot. Come on in, and see Bel Air's oldest house. We can't wait to visit with you!

08/11/2019

The Hays House will be open today from 1 to 4 pm. Stop in, take a tour, browse around, or just chat with us! Free admission and plenty of parking on the lot between Hays House and TD Bank.

#hayshouse #harfordsoldesthome #historyisfun

If you visit the Hays House this Sunday, July 28, you'll not only get to see our display of little girls' dresses (and a...
07/25/2019

If you visit the Hays House this Sunday, July 28, you'll not only get to see our display of little girls' dresses (and a bonus--a gorgeous 1950s wedding gown!), you'll also see our recently restored furnishings The Alfred Jacob Miller portrait of Cassandra Smithson Gover, and the Victorian chest of drawers, are themselves a good reason to stop in. We will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with plenty of parking in the lot between TD Bank and the Hays House. We hope to see you!

Sunday, July 28, 2019 from 1 to 4 p.m.
324 N. Kenmore Avenue in Bel Air, next to Bel Air High School

If you haven't visited the Hays House in a while, you've missed seeing some of the great work that the Maryland State Qu...
07/18/2019

If you haven't visited the Hays House in a while, you've missed seeing some of the great work that the Maryland State Questers has funded for Harford County's oldest residence and small house museum. Our next open date is Sunday, July 28, from 1-4 PM. In the meantime, here's some info on one of our Questers' projects.

In summer of 2018 the Questers funded the restoration of a Victorian era chest of drawers that had been the victim not only of age and use, but also of non-professional repairs. We called on local antiques guru Arthur Benser to perform a furniture miracle for us. His assessment revealed numerous issues that hadn't been apparent to our untrained eyes. (We think he even felt sorry for the painful journey this piece of furniture had taken!)

Using his experience and ingenuity, along with wood and veneers salvaged from other old furniture, Mr. Benser replaced missing structural and decorative panels, including the bottom skirt. He repaired the drawers' dovetails, side panels and runners, addressed issues inside the case, and repaired and refastened the glove box and the mirror base. He cleaned and sealed the entire piece then reverently set it back in place in the North Bedchamber.

Here are some pictures taken during the restoration. You will notice that there's no "After" picture. A picture can't do justice to the miracle...you simply must see it for yourself!

We hope to see you on Sunday, July 28! We'll be open from 1 to 4 PM..

06/23/2019

The Hays House will be open today, June 23, from 1 pm to 4 pm. Stop in for a visit! We’d love to show you Bel Air’s oldest residence, as well as our current clothing display. Admission is free today.

06/15/2019

Have you reserved your space yet for our American Girl doll party? It's going to be so much fun!

06/08/2019

We hope to see you tomorrow at the Hays House for our Learning Bee about Mr. Thomas Hays’s neighbors!

We open at 1 pm. The presentation begins at 1:30. Admission is $5 adults, $3 senior and students.

Plenty of free parking!

06/07/2019

We hope to see you tonight at the Hays House for our June First Friday! It’s Free & it’s Fun!

We’re open from 5 pm to 7 pm tonight, June 7.

Lots of exciting news from The Hays House Museum this week! First, we extend a heartfelt Thank You! to the Smithson Ques...
06/02/2019

Lots of exciting news from The Hays House Museum this week!

First, we extend a heartfelt Thank You! to the Smithson Questers for funding a very important restoration project for us.

For many years, an impressive portrait of Mrs. Cassandra G. Smithson Gover (1824-1920), painted by Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874), hung in our dining room above the hearth. When the portrait was removed so the wall could be painted, the number and size of cracks in the frame prevented us from replacing it, lest it be further damaged.

Several months later the Questers gave us a generous grant for the frame's restoration, and now Mrs. Gover is back in her usual place of honor in Mr. Hays's house.

We hope you'll stop in to see her at one of our upcoming events! Stay tuned for more good news.

#hayshousemuseum #belairhistory #learningbee #historyisfuninharfordcounty

05/03/2019
The Hays House

The Hays House

Yay, it's 5/3/2019, the First Friday of May!

As a special treat, the Hays House will be open tonight from 5 to 7 p.m.

You can see the I Remember When display, and enjoy an informal tour through Bel Air's oldest house. It's fun and it's free! We'll see you soon!

05/03/2019

Yay, it's 5/3/2019, the First Friday of May!

As a special treat, the Hays House will be open tonight from 5 to 7 p.m.

You can see the I Remember When display, and enjoy an informal tour through Bel Air's oldest house. It's fun and it's free! We'll see you soon!

Here are two reminders for Sunday, March 10! 1: Remember to set your clocks forward one hour for daylight savings time, ...
03/09/2019

Here are two reminders for Sunday, March 10!

1: Remember to set your clocks forward one hour for daylight savings time, and
2: Remember to come to the Hays House by 1:30 for our special performance of "Margaret Brent and the Indians" by Mary Ann Jung!

The admission for this very special event is $5 adults, $3 seniors and students.

We're looking forward to the start of our 2019 season!

Stop in today before 4 p.m. to see our lovely natural decorations and hear Catherine Street Consort!
12/02/2018

Stop in today before 4 p.m. to see our lovely natural decorations and hear Catherine Street Consort!

12/01/2018

Visit the Hays House today! We are open from 1 to 4 pm.

Thank you to all who participated in our lively hearth cooking day at the Hays House! Cooks, volunteers, and visitors sp...
11/13/2018

Thank you to all who participated in our lively hearth cooking day at the Hays House! Cooks, volunteers, and visitors spent some fun hours in Thomas and Betsy Hays's kitchen--no doubt, more fun than was had "back in the day."
Our next event is our Christmas Open House, on December 1 and 2, when the house will be dressed in its holiday best!

09/20/2018

The Hays House will be open this Sunday, September 23, from 1 to 4 p.m. You may have seen on some calendars that we were to have a special event, but due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, the special event is not taking place. Instead, we will be open as a regular Sunday. Stop in and spend a few very enjoyable hours with us! You'll be glad you did, we promise.

09/08/2018

The Hays House will be open on Sunday, September 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. It will be a great time to visit us!

08/12/2018

For your visiting pleasure, the Hays House will open today (8/12) at 1 pm and close at 4 pm. We’d love for you to visit us today!

07/22/2018

The Hays House is open today from 1 to 4 p.m. Stop by! It's free!

06/24/2018

The Dollhouse event is sold out! Thank you for your interest!

If you didn't visit Hays House on "First Fridays in Bel Air" on June 1, you missed meeting some adventuresome people, an...
06/02/2018

If you didn't visit Hays House on "First Fridays in Bel Air" on June 1, you missed meeting some adventuresome people, and this picture proves it! After closing the Hays House, Jeanne, Susan, and Art went into town in their "work" clothes to join the fun. We enjoyed meeting all of the friendly people who made a point to ask us about our outfits and about Hays House! By the way, we think our Founding Fathers would have loved the selection of libations available.

05/04/2018

Don't forget to visit the Hays House tonight between 5 and 7 p.m. for our very first First Friday event! We're quite excited to participate in one of Bel Air's excellent community happenings. And remember, it's FREE and it's FUN!

04/06/2018

If you've ever thought how interesting and other-worldly it would be to sit in Thomas and Betsy Hays's house for just a leisurely visit, you'll have your chance this Sunday, April 8! The Hays House will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and you are invited to bring a sewing or other crafty project and sit with us for a pleasant (but productive) chin-wag. Don't know what a chin-wag is? We'll show & tell you, so do please drop in this Sunday. We can't wait to visit with you!

What a fun time we had yesterday! The Nancy Ann Storybook doll collection is also the story of how Rowena Haskin turned ...
03/26/2018

What a fun time we had yesterday! The Nancy Ann Storybook doll collection is also the story of how Rowena Haskin turned her passion for clothing design into a vastly successful business--way back in the late 1930s. Thank you to Barbara Park for sharing her own passion for Nancy Ann dolls and their creator with us, the lovely ladies who shared their dolls with us, and everyone who shared some of their time with us!

Happening today!
03/25/2018

Happening today!

Come to the Hays House this Sunday, March 25, for Barbara Park's "tell 'n show" about her Nancy Ann Storybook doll collection! We open at 1 p.m. The presentation begins at 1:30. Admission for this special event is $5 adults, $3 seniors & students. Join us for some vintage memories! You can even bring your own Nancy Ann doll to show and to tell us her story.

Come to the Hays House this Sunday, March 25, for Barbara Park's "tell 'n show" about her Nancy Ann Storybook doll colle...
03/22/2018

Come to the Hays House this Sunday, March 25, for Barbara Park's "tell 'n show" about her Nancy Ann Storybook doll collection! We open at 1 p.m. The presentation begins at 1:30. Admission for this special event is $5 adults, $3 seniors & students. Join us for some vintage memories! You can even bring your own Nancy Ann doll to show and to tell us her story.

Address

324 Kenmore Ave
Bel Air, MD
21014

General information

Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for students and seniors. Children four years old and younger are free. For special events adults are $5 and students and seniors $3.

Opening Hours

Sunday 13:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(410) 838-7691

Alerts

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The Hays House, one of Bel Air’s Historic Treasures

In 1788, John Bull built a one-and-one-half story gambrel roofed house on lots #39 and #41 in Bel Air (also called Belle Aire in various court documents). The original configuration comprised a hallway, main room, staircase, and two upstairs bedrooms. The house had several different owners between then and 1813, when it was acquired by Thomas Archer Hays. It stayed in the Hays-Jacobs family until the late 1950s.

If not for the persistence and ingenuity of a few members of The Historical Society of Harford County, the Hays House would have been destroyed in 1960 to make way for modern buildings. As the steward of the Hays House, the Historical Society is responsible for every aspect of its use and well being. Volunteers devote much energy, imagination, and time toward ensuring that the house remains vibrant, and accessible to the community.

The mission of the Hays House is to be a history-in-action museum and a valuable educational resource that actively illustrates and recreates to the extent possible the social, cultural, economic, and practical aspects of the daily life of rural gentry during the historical period 1788 – 1820.

The Hays House is a small museum with a large vision for the future. For the present, our hope is to give our visitors a personally relevant, worthwhile experience, and the desire to return…perhaps, as a volunteer.

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Comments

Howdy. So in the mid 80s I took a field trip from Homested Wakefield. I distinctly remember being told John Wilkes Booth stayed at the Hays house on the way to assassinate Lincoln. Is this still true? Thanks