Highlands Museum to Host Friendship Tea

Myrna Hill

The Ashland Beacon


   We all need a little help from our friends, right? With the Highlands Museum Friendship Tea event, the Friends of the Highlands get just that. The Museum is having their sixth tea event, one of their first events since COVID-19.

   The Friendship Tea is an event unlike any other in the area. Reminiscent of British traditions featuring afternoon tea, the event will feature hand-selected brews and finger foods provided by the Jockey Club. 

   “The Friends of the Highlands had their first tea in 2013 which was Victorian themed,” Friends of the Highlands President Sheila Rice said. “We are now calling it a Friendship Tea because we want the museum to have more friends!”

   Rice has been a member of the Friends of the Highlands since 2012. She is Chair of the Tea Committee and oversees a board with Kathy Hill, Joyce Thompson, and Donna Suttles under her. 

   Like nearly every business, the Highlands Museum had to cancel just about every event on the schedule for 2020 and early 2021. The museum has not hosted a tea event since 2018. With the number of people vaccinated rising and daily case numbers falling, the Tea Committee felt it was safe to have their event for the first time in three years. 

   The Highlands Museum has been a cornerstone in the Ashland community since its doors opened in 1984. The museum is rich in local history, from Billy Ray Cyrus, the Judds, to a life-like 19th century school classroom. The museum sees thousands of guests of all ages each year. 

   “I feel the museum provides great information and entertainment regarding our community’s history.” Rice said. “We felt it was safe to have 6 to a table and enforcing the wearing of masks when not eating.”

   The event is like a traditional afternoon tea. The brews are hand-selected by Jean Fraley, who has done so since the very first tea event. The Jockey Club will also provide two small sandwiches and three desserts that will compliment the tea. The teas and food will be served by gentlemen from the community, including Mayor Perkins and the Ashland City Commissioners.

   “I am not usually a big tea drinker, but I always look forward to sampling what Jean Fraley has chosen each year.” Rice said. 

   In addition, a display of the Highlands Museum’s newest exhibit will be presented. The exhibit features a collection from Anita Madden, an Ashlander who was well-known for her lavish Kentucky Derby parties. Her events seemed like something straight out of The Great Gatsby—lavish parties with thousands of guests with extravagant themes, food, and drink. Celebrities, politicians, and other public figures often attended. She resided in the Hamburg area of Lexington, and her parties made Lexington a Derby weekend destination, despite the race being held in Louisville. The exhibit will feature a curated collection of beautiful gowns worn by Madden during her prime years. Madden passed away in 2018.

   The event will be held on Saturday, May 15, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 ahead of time or $30 at the door. For tickets and additional information, call 606.329.8888 or visit www.highlandsmuseum.com.