Grand Opening of the Little House Museum Set for First Week in April

Susan London • • March 2017

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Five years of blood, sweat and tears will come to fruition Saturday, April 1, when the Little House Museum and Gallery in Rolesville celebrates its grand opening.

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For the first time since owner Terry Marcellin-Little purchased the house in 2012, the public will be welcomed to explore the historic property through a series of guided tours offered at set times throughout the week.

Little House Museum & Gallery

The exterior of the restored John Lewis Terrell House, site of the soon-to-open Little House Museum and Gallery.

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Marcellin-Little, who will be spending the weeks leading up to the opening attending to the remaining details, is excited about the continued exploration into the town’s history and the opportunity to involve the public.

“The opening is about home. Rolesville is our home,” she said, adding that we still have a lot to learn.

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The John Lewis Terrell house sits at 201 N. Main St. and marries the ghosts of Rolesville’s past with the people of its present. The house dates to the 1800s, and its restoration has been the pet project of Marcellin-Little and historian Betsy Wall, who have extensively researched public records relating to the property in an effort to uncover its story.

Little House Museum & Gallery

An original painting by Gayleen Aiken will be on display at the Little House Museum.

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The tours will take guests inside and outside of the house to explore six aspects of Rolesville’s past, including the lives of the early inhabitants of the house, the role the granite bedrock that makes up much of Rolesville’s geology has played in the town’s history, an exploration of artifacts found in Rolesville and the vicinity, and how Vermont folk artist Gayleen Aiken’s paintings of life in a quarry town tie in with Rolesville’s past.

Michael Bailey, the local history enthusiast whose hobby has involved excavating Native American, Revolutionary War and Civil War artifacts, will be on hand at the tour’s first stop to talk about the items he has found in the area.

“These local artifacts represent some of the earliest history in Wake County. … Many were here before we were, and the evidence and artifacts are exciting to share with the community,” said Bailey, who has worked with Marcellin-Little throughout the process of developing her vision.

Little House Museum & Gallery

Original artifacts from the John Lewis Terrell House in the Family History Room.

Wall will also be present in the Family History Room to discuss the textiles of the time and the daily life of the home’s early residents.

The outside portion of the tour will include a stone-lined well, an explanation of how historic wells were built, and a peek at the detached kitchen – a separate building with authentic cut-stone chimney and hearth that is still in the process of being restored.

Pam Eagles, an officer of the newly formed Rolesville Historic Society, will conduct walking tours of the original historic downtown, highlighting historic structures that are still standing, hidden in plain sight.

The museum will open at 9 a.m. April 1 with tours every two hours, the last tour starting at 5 p.m. On April 2, special craft activities for children ages 6-8 and 9-12 will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and kids tours will take place at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

During opening week April 3-7, there will be extended hours and tours at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day. On Saturday, April 8, tours will start at 9 a.m. and continue every two hours, with the last tour at 5 p.m. The museum will be closed April 9-16 for Easter and spring break before regular operating hours take effect, with the museum open Tuesdays and Thursdays from to 1 p.m. Admission is free.