Cathedral of the Pines reopens museum Saturday
By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent | May 19. 2017 12:19AM
Chairman of the Cathedral of the Pines Board of Trustees Donald Upton works to get ready for the reopening of the Cathedral of the Pines Museum planned for Saturday. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)
The museum is also being renamed in honor of Peter J. Booras, who died in 1995 and who was heavily involved with the cathedral for many years, chairman of the Cathedral of the Pines Board of Trustees Donald Upton said Thursday.
“It’s a history of the cathedral basically,” Upton said.
The museum had been located in the basement of Hilltop House for about 60 years when the smell of mildew caused the cathedral to close the museum.
“Three years ago we shut it all down, and we upset a lot of people,” Upton said.
After a lot of work and raising a lot of money the museum is reopened, cleaned up and better than ever, Upton said. The museum is still in the basement but now includes a heating and cooling system that also controls the moisture level of the air, Upton said.
Sibyl and Douglas Sloane III originally purchased 128 acres in Rindge in 1937 planning to have their four children build homes on the land eventually.
Then in 1944, their son Sanderson “Sandy” Sloane, who was serving in the Army Air Corps, was shot down over Germany.
In 1945, the community gathered for a memorial service in the clearing overlooking Mount Monadnock, which is now the cathedral sanctuary and where Sanderson Sloane had planned to build his home.
In the years that followed, the family welcomed all faiths to the outdoor cathedral and built a memorial to their son.
In 1957, Congress recognized Cathedral of the Pines as a national memorial to all American war dead. Today, it continues to honor all Americans who serve the nation.
In reopening the museum, Upton said he made a point of honoring and telling the story of Sandy’s brother Jack.
“In the old museum no one mentioned that Sanderson had a brother. I thought it was pretty amazing that a family had two sons that went to World War II and both were pilots. That is also pretty amazing,” Upton said.
Sandy didn’t come home, but Jack did, Upton said.
The museum also tells the story of the Women’s Bell Tower, Upton said.
Douglas Sloane III had a vision that there should also be a memorial for all women killed in service, Upton said. So in 1967 the Women’s Memorial Bell Tower was built.
This first memorial in our nation to solely recognize women who served is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The bell tower includes bronze tablets depicting women serving, designed by Norman Rockwell and sculpted by his son, Peter Rockwell.
The outdoor cathedral sanctuary that has views of Mount Monadnock also hosts religious services, weddings and funerals.
The cathedral has a cemetery, a Zen garden and several smaller outdoor chapels, including the Mother’s Chapel and the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, where the annual blessing of the animals takes place. The cathedral also has hiking trails and music and performance programing.
Upton said the museum will be open when the cathedral is open.
The cathedral is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no admission charge; donations are accepted.
Calendar events are listed online at www.cathedralofthepines.org.