Oak Hill and the Martha Berry Museum: a historical time capsule dedicated to a southern and progressive woman of her time. Comfortably set in the Mount Berry area (just off Hwy 27) north of downtown Rome, the museum serves as an educational tool showing guests the beginnings of an important woman in the area.
This woman, Martha Berry, is the founder of Berry College. Berry is a small liberal arts school located up the road (north on Hwy 27) from the Museum. In medieval times a college was an ambiguous collection of intellectuals studying within an already established urban community. Separating from this tradition Martha Berry started her school in a one room log cabin for rural and poor mountain children in the area. Continuing with the new progressive tradition of like minded women of her time she valued family, education, and vocational work; instilling a combination of these values and Christian ideas to create the Mount Berry community.
The Oak Hill staff now works to preserve Martha Berry’s family home. I went to visit it early one morning to avoid the heat. The air was like pea soup, and I could almost scoop up the humidity with a spoon; yet within Oak Hill’s garden area the moisture took on a preservative role hydrating the array of plants while awakening them to the soon to be summer heat.
I could write more about my visit to the Oak Hill and Martha Berry Museum, but I will not. The amount of information and depth the curators go to explain, and in some areas show, the life of Martha Berry is best experienced in person. A boring chart and laundry list of to-do activities could be made, but why dampen the spirit of Martha Berry with such nonsense? In her own words, “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Go out and do.