The Julia A. Purnell Museum in Snow Hill, Maryland, exhibits a collection of artifacts and memorabilia reflecting the history of Worcester County and the woman’s art and heritage. The museum was established by William Purnell to showcase the needle art of his mother Julia LeCompte Purnell, displaying many of her works, tools she used, and memorabilia from her long life.
Julia Purnell died in December 1943, two months after her 100th birthday. The museum, which was originally located in a separate building on his property in Snow Hill, continued to grow as William, an avid collector, added artifacts to the collection. He proudly exhibited old tools, toys, machines, cooking utensils, clothing, books, and curios. The museum therefore was no longer a tribute to one woman’s art, but had become a repository for the memories of the entire town. In the 1950s, William donated the entire collection to the Town of Snow Hill, which moved the collection to the historic building of today — the former St. Agnes Catholic Church, built in 1891. The church closed in the early 20th century. Since 1957, the beautiful structure has been home to the Julia A. Purnell Museum.