Museum professionals are just like us — assuming you recently found pieces of a 500-year-old suit of Spanish armor stuck up in your chimney.
If not, then remain calm. Boal Mansion has come up with a tidy way for you and your loved ones to fold yourselves into local history without having to submit to the ordeal of a lengthy centuries-long waiting process.
The mansion is aggressively making improvements across its 48-acre estate, with plans to add a garden amphitheater for outdoor performances and a tropical hothouse for butterflies. Visitors can also memorialize a friend or family member by having a tree planted in their honor.
Work began earlier this month when Jim Savage, an affiliate instructor in horticulture at Penn State, worked with several local maintenance companies to tend to trees on the property damaged by storms or invasive diseases.
Failing that, there's always the great indoors.
"We now have the largest collection of Columbus artifacts in the Western Hemisphere," museum director Bob Cameron said.
The explorer's history is documented in a small structure adjacent to the property's main office. If you've ever wondered what Columbus' desk looked like, well, then wonder no more.
In the mansion, a room that used to be a conservatory has been transformed into a space for rotating exhibits. First up is a collection paintings all made by women with a connection to the property.
This May, the second floor of the mansion will be made available to visitors for the first time. One room is devoted to weaponry and other vestiges of war.
There's the aforementioned 500-year-old suit of armor, a Spanish crossbow and shrapnel from the bombing of Paris during World War II.
Cameron is interested in the lineage behind each item, the stories that give them texture and life.
"That's the provenance. That's what really gives things meaning to a museum," Cameron said.
Drop-in tours at the Boal Mansion Museum are available 1:30-5 p.m. May 1-Oct. 30. For more information, visit boalmuseum.com.