One item at a time, the Penns Valley Historical Museum is cataloging the life and times of valley residents and sharing the area’s heritage with the public.
The museum’s collection is built primarily on donations from community members, said Kay Gray, the museum’s collections and exhibits chairwoman. Current exhibits include vintage wedding dresses from the 1940s and ’50s and a collection of items collected from the former Potter Township School.
“We start with what’s in our inventory and formulate ideas of what might make a good exhibit,” Gray said. “If we don’t have enough items, we’ll contact other people in the area and see if anyone is interested in donating.”
Many of the items for the school exhibit were donated by the Penns Valley Alumni Association, including graduation photos that date back to the 1920s and ’30s.
Another collection at the museum marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts of America. Items were provided by Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania — the area’s Girl Scout organization — and will become permanent parts of the collection when the exhibit ends.
Gray said that exhibit has prompted requests from several Girl Scout troops to visit the museum and she’s enjoyed sharing the organization’s history with them.
“We tend to get a lot of senior citizens who are more interested in vintage-type things, so it’s nice to get some younger people in there and give them exposure to the museum,” Gray said.
In addition to its exhibits, the museum offers what Gray describes as an extensive genealogy collection for anyone looking to learn more about their family’s roots in Penns Valley. Museum volunteers also give talks on local history to groups throughout the area.
“Our mission is basically to store, preserve Penns Valley history in any way that we can,” Gray said. “We want to make sure it lives on for future generations.”
The Penns Valley Historical Museum is open 1-4 p.m. Saturdays through October or by appointment. The museum is located at 224 W. Aaron Square, Aaronsburg. Visit www.pennsvalleymuseum.org or call 349-4811 for more information.