— By BRIAN SMITH
An exhibit honoring the 100th birthday of the late actress and Weatherford native Mary Martin that will officially open Wednesday at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center.
The center has artifacts and items from Martin, who was born Dec. 1, 1913, and her son, the late actor Larry Hagman. Memories of Mary Martin, who died in 1990, will focus on a number of more personal mementos and stories of the Broadway star, according to Center Curator Amanda Rush.
The exhibit, which runs through August, will kickoff with a birthday celebration 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, moved from Sunday because of the area’s winter storm.
A highlight of the planned event includes a lecture by Martin historian George Dansker, who worked on archiving a number of Martin’s items at the Weatherford Public Library and bringing them to the Doss Center. Dansker will also bring some of his personal items about Martin and show them.
The exhibit itself will focus on a collection of correspondence with the family and notable celebrities over the years. Rush said telegrams from Weatherford residents wishing Martin well at the start of her career will be on display, as well as Bing Crosby. Because of the delicacy of many of the artifacts, they will be posted on panels.
Martin was also a fan of needlepoint, and a number of her pieces will be on display, including her first-ever piece, a 5-by-7 rug she worked on during the performance of South Pacific.
“Martin’s character in the performance was excitable, so to bottle up the energy, she decided to take up needlepoint as a calming mechanism,” Rush said. “She said she needed a rug for the entryway to her home, so she started working on it a section at a time as something to do between shows.”
She became so adept at needlepoint, she wrote a book on her pieces, Rush said. “Mary Martin Needlepoint” isn’t a “how-to” book on needlepoint but discusses her pieces and the inspiration behind them. Many of the sweaters she wore throughout the years, many with tie-ins to her personal memories, will be part of the exhibit.
The exhibit is a fundraiser with proceeds going toward updating the gallery, Rush said. Admission to Wednesday’s event is free, which includes tours of the museum itself. Refreshments will be served.
The Doss Heritage and Culture Center is located at 1400 Texas Drive. For more information on the exhibit, call the center at 817-599-6168 or visit dosscenter.org.