OSWEGO - Fun games, prizes, ice cream sundaes and a scavenger hunt of the Richardson-Bates House Museum will all take place from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18 at the Annual Family Fun Day. The public is invited to come and take part in this summer fun activity for children and adults alike on the lawn of the museum at 135 E. Third St., Oswego.
In August of 1918, Florence Bates was living in the Richardson-Bates House with her husband Norman and their four young children: Betty, Norman Jr., Sally and Max. This was during World War I, where communities across the country were showing patriotic support for the American soldiers. Norman Sr. was a prominent businessman in Oswego and was chosen the chairman of the United War Fund drive and other causes during the war.
“They were a very civic-minded couple and taught their children to support important causes, especially during the war. Everyone was affected by World War I, and the Bates family provided their support in many different ways,” said Justin White, Oswego County Historian and board trustee of the Oswego County Historical Society.
One of the many endeavors for the family was volunteering as members of the local Welfare’s Auxiliary at the General Army Hospital No. 5 at Fort Ontario. It was there that they provided services to the wounded soldiers. This was often done with flowers, fruits, books, games and a friendly face of support to improve the patients’ morale. It also showed patriotic support to the veterans.
The family also was involved in the local Red Cross chapter work by providing financial assistance, and arranging training and working along with health professionals on the multiple projects needed to be sent abroad. This included providing first aid materials and other items needed to be organized in packages and sent abroad. The Bates children were included in the work with their parents.
In August of 1918, Florence and her children along with other local children formed a fair fundraiser idea that was organized entirely by children to support the needs of the Oswego Hospital. “This successful children’s fair day took place at the Richardson-Bates House and was hosted by the Bates children. We are now celebrating 101 years of children’s enjoyment at this very same place. It has always been a location for the community to enjoy and support worthy causes,” said White.
“Our goal is that Family Fun Day will boost the support of this museum’s legacy. We also hope to have more membership forms completed that day. We would like to bring in more volunteers for various projects, just as we are inspired with the volunteerism of Oswego children 101 years ago during tough times,” added White.
There will be a variety of fun games this year and prizes to win. A special activity will be a visual treasure hunt in the museum with prizes for the winners. Face painting will be another fun day feature and children’s books will be for sale.
Ice cream sundaes and lemonade will be available all afternoon. Cost of the games and sundaes will be a small charge. People can purchase tickets at the event. All proceeds from the event will go toward the operating budget of the museum. The Richardson-Bates Houses Museum will be open for free tours.
The Oswego County Historical Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1896 and dedicated to the preservation, promotion and interpretation of the historical resources of the county. The society owns and operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum at 135 E. Third St. in Oswego, a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is open for tours Thursday through Saturday from 1-5 p.m. and other times by appointment. For more information contact the museum during regular hours at 315-343-1342.