Celebrating 125 Years, Liriodendron launches major museum renovation and expansion project


The Liriodendron Foundation is launching a capital campaign to raise money for renovations of the historic mansion. Here are the details provided:

Liriodendron Mansion (photo credit: Pamela Harvey)

Celebrating 125 Years, Liriodendron Launches Major Museum Renovation and Expansion Project

(Bel Air, Maryland – February 9, 2023) The non-profit Liriodendron Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of an exciting project marking the 125th Anniversary of the construction of the historic Liriodendron in Bel Air, MD. Renovations of the mansion’s current Museum Rooms and the addition of museum elements throughout the first floor and garden areas will honor the legacy of Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly and the Kelly family, as well as highlight local history.  A capital campaign to raise $150,000 has kicked off with initial donations from individual supporters and a major contribution from a local philanthropic foundation.    

Constructed in 1898, the Liriodendron was built as a summer home for Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly, his wife Laetitia, and their nine children.  Dr. Kelly was a world-renowned surgeon, naturalist, philanthropist and author.  He was one of the founding physicians of Johns Hopkins Medical School and Hospital in Baltimore.   

The house and 196 acres were purchased by the eldest son, Frederich Kelly, and his wife and remained in the family until the 1970’s, when the house and the remaining 103 acres were sold to Harford County for use as a public park with the Kellys retaining the right to remain in the home for their lifetime.  In 1981, the Liriodendron Foundation was established as a 501(c) nonprofit corporation to manage the County-owned property as an art gallery, rental venue and community gathering place. At that time, Foundation volunteers created displays of historical photographs, letters and documents in two Museum Rooms to help visitors learn about Dr. Kelly’s life and many interests. 

Now the Foundation is launching a project to improve and expand museum elements throughout the mansion and grounds to engage visitors and tell the story of Dr. Kelly, the Kelly Family, and the Liriodendron, and their connections with local history.  With funding from the Dresher Foundation, a conceptual design was created by Quatrefoil Associates and work is underway to develop exhibit elements that are fully accessible, interactive, educational, and will appeal to visitors of all ages and backgrounds.   

The improvements will take place over the next two years, with the resulting exhibit providing visitors with an understanding of the far-reaching legacies of Dr. Kelly and the Kelly family, a sense of the impact of the Liriodendron on life in Harford County over the past 125 years, and a lasting connection with our shared community. 

Fundraising for the project will focus on donations from individuals, local businesses, and other organizations, and grants from foundations.  As part of the capital campaign, The Liriodendron Foundation will hold its first signature event, a Summer Soiree, to be held on August 25, 2023 from 6 to 9 pm on the grounds of the Liriodendron.  Guests will enjoy the grace and elegance of the Liriodendron with hors d’oeuvres and beverages and the music of Ain’t Misbehavin’. Funds raised through this event will benefit the Museum Project.   

Information about the project plans is on display at the Mansion, which is open to visitors – free of charge – each Wednesday from 1 to 6 pm, and on the Second Sunday of each month from 11 am to 3 pm. Plans may also be viewed during public-facing events. 

For more information about the Museum Project, the Summer Soiree, and events at the Liriodendron in 2023, visit www.Liriodendron.com