While her imagination paints vivid pictures in her mind, many of these images are also based on stories that have been passed down generation after generation in her husband’s family. Her husband’s ancestors once owned the home and eventually donated it to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, she says.
“Ever since I married my husband, I’ve heard stories about how they were contributors to the community and this house was always full,” she said
The home has come to mean a great deal to her, Rockwood says, spurring decades of volunteerism as a docent where she has continued to pass down the stories of those who once lived in the Reese-Peters House to visitors.
“When I am in here, I think about them walking around in the rooms,” she said. “My mother-in-law would come over here and say, ‘He sat over there,’ meaning her grandfather. So it means a lot to me.”
As a long-time docent, Rockwood has experienced many of the permanent and revolving exhibits at the center first-hand. Among her favorites are the “Paramount Pictures” exhibitions that celebrate fashion, movies and television.
A new exhibition curated by Lancaster native Randall Thropp, “Distinctly Paramount: Fashion & Costume from the Paramount Pictures Archive,” is set to open June 5 this year.
Rockwood says her interest in design dates back to her childhood. “Back when I was a young girl, a lot of girls and some boys made their own clothes,” she said. “My sisters and I made our own clothes, so we have always been interested in construction and how things are put together.”
As a docent, Rockwood says she also enjoys greeting guests, discovering their hometowns and answering their questions.
“It’s important that people who come from out of town realize this is their Decorative Arts Center, too,” she says.
Rockwood says she believes her husband’s ancestors would want it that way, as well.
“I think they would have been so proud of what this has become,” she says. “It’s an amazing thing that we can provide this education.”