Teapots on exhibit in Troy

Collection is part of hundreds amassed by Tipp City couple.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. In just six years Laura and Bill Roop of Tipp City amassed a collection of 600 teapots!

Thanks to Bill’s generosity, hundreds of those delightful collectibles have been donated to the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center and are on display. The best news: they’re all for sale at an affordable $10 each. Monies raised will support future exhibits.

The elegant mansion, built in 1914 by Mary Jane Hayner in the Romanesque style, is a perfect setting for the Roop’s teapot exhibit. You’ll see florals and animal-themed teapots as well as an entire wall of Christmas-themed teapots. You’ll see some shaped like tiny houses or Asian-inspired ones. Some are made of fine china, others of glass and ceramics.

As a special treat during the exhibit, tea is served on some Wednesday afternoons from 1-3 p.m. You’re welcome to sip your tea as you stroll through the rooms of the house. The final tea event is slated for Wednesday, June 14.

How it began

The story begins when the Roops, both widowed, got reacquainted at their 50th Troy High School reunion. Two months later they were exchanging wedding vows. Although they’d never had a class together in high school, their parents had always been best friends. When Laura was in junior high, she and a friend would visit the Hayner Mansion (it was Troy’s public library at that time) and pretend it was their home.

Laura, the mother of four boys, two stepdaughters, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, had a varied career. She worked as a nanny for several families, was employed in a Dayton cardiologist’s office, and for 21 years served as a hostess at Neil’s Heritage House restaurant in Dayton.

Still she always found time to do for others. After making fleece blankets for American service members overseas, she began volunteering at the Hayner Center. For 12 years, she especially enjoyed using her creativity to enhance the annual high tea each spring that honors Mrs. Hayner’s birthday.

“Laura was a big part of the birthday tea and worked on the decorations and favors,” Bill recalls. “That led to both of us getting interested in teapots and we started buying them at antique shops and collecting them. We decided we would average $25 a piece. We had a lot of fun!”

Bill found himself building more and more shelves in the couple’s Tipp City basement to display their growing collection. Surprisingly, although he says he’s “hooked on iced tea,” he adds that neither he nor his wife were ever hot tea drinkers.

After Laura died in February 2022, Bill decided to donate their teapot collection to the Hayner Center. “She dearly loved volunteering there,” he says. “I was hoping they’d want to exhibit the teapots in her memory.”

That’s exactly what happened. On Friday, May 19, a reception celebrating Laura’s many years of involvement in Mrs. Hayner’s Birthday Tea as well as the gift of her large collection of teapots kicked off the special exhibition.

Curating the exhibit

David Wion, director of the Hayner Center, was excited about the idea of a tea exhibit from the get-go. A collector of quilts, leaded glass lamps, Depression glass and even a few special teapots, Wion is a tea drinker and could immediately envision the Roop teapots on display throughout the mansion.

“Our exhibit committee went to Bill’s house and wrapped up, packed and transported over 50 totes filled with teapots,” Wion explains. “I came up with the idea of building shelves on our exhibit walls and we also set up showcases. We put some of the vintage tablecloths from my collection on tables and displayed teapot settings there as well.”

The response has been extraordinary. “Everywhere I go, everyone is talking about the teapots!” he says. “They love the way it’s all set up and the afternoon teas have been a big hit.”

Bill Roop is also delighted with the exhibition which honors his wife. “Two ladies riding bikes from Tipp City stopped the last time I was there and bought 10 teapots!” he says. “Laura would have been so thrilled.”

HOW TO GO:

What: “Tea Anyone? The Roop Teapot Collection”

Where: The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, 301 West Main St., Troy

When: Hours are 7-9 p.m. on Mondays; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Through June 25.

Admission: Free

Parking: Free

For more information: www.troyhayner.org or call 937-339-0457.

Related programming:

  • The mansion will be serving tea from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14. No reservations are necessary. The event is sponsored by Gold Leaf Tea and Herb Company.
  • All remaining teapots on display are being sold for $10. Cash or checks only. Teapots purchased will remain on display until the exhibit closes and can then be picked up. It’s a good idea to bring along something to protect your teapot when you transport it.

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