It’s the busiest time of the year for committee members at the Penns Valley Area Historical Museum.
This year, one of the museum’s main themes was based on the 140th anniversary of the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair. That exhibit will run through October.
But it’s not just about commemorating the history of the valley, committee member Kay Gray said.
She said that museum members work through the year to hold events and take part in other community events that help raise money for the museum.
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One of its largest fundraising efforts comes Oct. 11-12 at the Dutch Fall Fest in Aaronsburg, where museum members will sell their “ever-popular” apple dumplings, Gray said.
She said baking and preparing for the fest will begin in a few weeks.
“We usually start three Wednesdays beforehand,” Gray said. “It’s quite an assembly line. We have it down to a science.”
The festival started 40 years ago and includes arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, live entertainment, activities for children and more.
“We’ve been out there selling dumplings for a long time,” Gray said.
She expects about 1,500 dumplings to sell this year, bringing in nearly $3,000.
“We don’t get money from the government or anything, so we’re always doing what we can to help keep the museum up,” she said.
The museum, which was founded in 1967, is a nonprofit educational organization with a mission “to discover, collect, preserve, interpret and present the pre-historical, historical and cultural heritage of the people of the Penns and Brush Valley regions,” according to its website.
It’s a volunteer-driven organization run by about 18 people on 12 committees, Gray said. Membership is open to anyone who wants to join — for a $10 annual fee.
Each year, the museum has a different theme, but also includes exhibits in each room of the Rudy-Corman House, 244 W. Aaron Square, Aaronsburg, that showcases early school days, postcards and advertising, a Civil War collection, exhibits, a craftsman building, and the Carriage House and Barn.
The postcards are from a private collection from member Paula Smith and her husband, Jim. They depict Penns Valley and date back to the late 1800s, Gray said.
The committee also is planning an Oct. 23 history dinner that will focus on the 65th anniversary of “The Aaronsburg Story.”
Gray said the “story” started in October 1949, when about 30,000 people gathered for a daylong community celebration honoring Aaron Levy, the Jewish immigrant who founded Aaronsburg in 1786 and donated land for the village to have a Lutheran church. The center of the celebration was at Salem Lutheran Church in Aaronsburg.
“It was a celebration of religious and racial understanding,” Gray said. “It’s coming up on a milestone year that we can celebrate.”
The museum is open 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays from May to October.