“Memory,” Sherborn's iconic eight-foot bronze female statue and monument in the heart of the center of town in the Central Cemetery, has received state recognition of its historic importance by being awarded a grant to fund needed restoration. The funds are a matching grant awarded by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which administers the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund.
Sculpted in bronze by well-known artist Cyrus Dallin, “Memory” and the surrounding monumental New Hampshire granite monument, designed by Boston architect William Ware Dinsmore, were given by native son William Bradford Homer Dowse to honor the men of Sherborn who died in wars from 1676-1918. The statue and monument were dedicated in 1924 at a ceremony to mark the 250th anniversary of the town.
Sherborn's most significant piece of public art, “Memory” is outdoors and is visible to all who travel the busy crossroads of Washington Street and South Main. As a result, it is constantly exposed to weather and pollutants generated by vehicle traffic which cause deterioration of the bronze surface of the statue and generate the need for periodic conservation. The granite surround is in need of cleaning and re-pointing. The monument steps will be reset.
The Sherborn Historical Commission, with the cooperation and assistance of the Selectmen, Advisory Committee and Capital Budget Committee, wrote a grant application, which was supported by a vote of Town Meeting. Notification from the Massachusetts Historical Commission of the award was received in early July. More detailed plans for the work were developed over the summer and the upcoming bidding process will result in appropriate contracts for both the surface conservation of the statue and the needed granite work.
According to Historical Commission co-chairs Peggy Novak and Susie Wheelwright, the needed conservation work and the funding for it has been the subject of ongoing discussions in cooperation with the Advisory Committee for several years. The work will be completed by June 30, 2018 and will prepare the graceful bronze lady overlooking the village from her classic granite setting to withstand another decade or two of wear and weather.
A large historic 1924 photograph of the dedication of the statue and monument are located in the upper hall of the Sherborn Town Hall next to the Selectmen's room.