HADDONFIELD, N.J. ( Oct. 3, 1998) -- In a first-of-its-kind ceremony at the Indian Tavern Museum here today, Harold "Hank" Haynes received both a "Volunteer of the Year" award from the tavern as well as a certificate of appreciation from the New Jersey State Park Service for his volunteer cabinetmaking work.
One of the first to sign up for the Indian King Tavern's unique craftsmen's guild three years ago, Haynes, who lives in neighboring Cherry Hill, was also the first to complete a project and has since completed more restoration projects than any of the other volunteers to date. Some of his work includes eighteenth century chairs, clay pipe racks, tables and specialty items such as hand-made wooden buckets. All are authentic reproductions of the furniture and artifacts that would have been used in the 249-year-old tavern during the colonial period.
In a presentation ceremony held in one of the front dining rooms of the tavern, museum manager William Mason cited Haynes for "extraordinary efforts" which, he said, had been crucial to keeping the facility's restoration program on schedule for completion by next year's 250th anniversary celebration.
Mason also announced that the "Volunteer of the Year" award program would now be an annual event at the Tavern.
Christian M. Bethmann, the State Park Service superintendent who oversees a number of the region's state historic sites, including the Indian King, lauded both Haynes and the other volunteers who have almost completely re-furnished the tavern.
'We have never had anything like this'
"Throughout the state, we have had situations where volunteers and organizations have donated antique furnishings but we have never had anything like this where so many people join together to make so many reproductions in a single project," said Bethmann. "The beauty of this is that it can be used by visitors. In most of our state museums, you can't touch, you can't sit, you can't even walk into some areas because of the fragility and value of some of the pieces. Here, you have a living, working sort of tavern atmosphere that school children and others can actually experience first hand."
Bethmann said the unique volunteer craftsmen program, which was organized by Mason, had profoundly changed the nature of what the Indian King Tavern Musuem was. "Before this started, there was no way you could interpret this place as a tavern. it just did not work because we had no furniture. We had nothing to show visitors. But now, because of people like Hank Haynes who we're honoring today, it can be experienced as a real tavern where people of the 1700s gathered and drank and ate and went about their lives. We can finally tell their story here and let our visitors actually feel why this such a very special place."