Renovations Under the Keystone Grant
Our museum is being transformed. It is so exciting to see the renovations being completed. The walls and ceilings on both floors have been painted; the yellow pine second floor has been refinished and is beautiful. The first floor has been redone to look just like the original, but of course, it looks brand new and just gorgeous. Upstairs the florescent lights have been replaced with hanging lights replicating the originals, and all other old and dangerous wiring has been replaced. Our handicap-accessible ramp to the first floor is in place, and the new outside steps are done. There is lots of volunteer work to do now, such as putting the artifacts back in the cases, making new labels, all sorts of cleaning and loads of paperwork and filing. If you can give an hour here and there, any help will certainly be appreciated-just call any board member.
The Portage Volunteer Firemen and the Portage Area High School football team moved our second floor cases and artifacts back into the building. that was a lot of heavy lifting, but the boys made short work of the job and it is very much appreciated. Volunteers with strong muscles are in short supply.
Two helpful volunteers, Vic Schaffrenek and Bob Yetsko have built an extra shelf on the two units in the office and have painted the staff bathroom. thanks, men!
There is more to be done under the grant, but they are smaller jobs. We will keep you posted via newsletter and/or Portage Dispatch.
The next big (and expensive) project is the work required by the Department of Labor and Industry to make our building safe under the fire code. This was mentioned in our last newsletter. We hired an architect and he has submitted his plans to the D.L.I., which has approved them. Cost estimates will be next, then decisions must be made. We welcome input from any interested parties.
After approximately 18 months of being closed, the Portage Station Museum has reopened (Wednesdays 1-4; Saturday and Sunday 1-5) with a display featuring collections and collectibles from area collectors. The Portage Area Historical Society will be celebrating the museum’s Grand Reopening on Sunday, October 14th, 2001 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. With the renovations, there is definitely a new look to the building.
A ramp provides access to the first floor for those unable to walk steps. New doors with large windows allow more light to enter, as dos the opening of the transom over the emergency door that had been closed in. The original copper gutter is in place at the top of the building.
Displayed are Match Box Cars made in England. Bells to Music Boxed provide a musical theme. Ashton Drake Porcelain Dolls to Teapots and miniature Tea Sets of silver add brightness to the display. Delicate etched Pink Depression Glass and items of legendary Blue Willow Ware occupy a case. Travel around the world with carvings from many countries; view a stone, jade and onyx African Collection, and see figurines made in Occupied Japan. Ride the rails with Bertha, Fargo, and Chief, the Cairn Railroad Sculptures made of clay by Dr. Tom Clark. Get a sneak preview of our Christmas Display with a collection of Santa Claus figures. See the kitchen, which displays household items from the 1800’s through the 1900’s including a drop leaf table that was “homemade” sometime between 1849 and 1861. The Ticket Master’s Office contains artifacts from the Pennsylvania Railroad. All of this may be seen on the first floor.
The second floor, reached by a staircase which is well-lighted by the opening of the two boarded-up windows, contains the Mining and Allegheny Portage Railroad display. The window at the top of the stairs allows an excellent view of the railroad. When you visit the Museum, please notice the hardwood floor discovered when the tile flooring was removed during renovations with the wood beautifully restored. The diorama of Portage, a map of the area, is located here. There is also a library and you may sit and browse. A table and chairs have been provided.
We hope to have the case for the bottle collection built and the bottles in place for the reopening. This collection has been popular with our visitors and will be returning to the Museum thanks to the heirs of the original owner.
Our future plans are to continue showing Collectibles through January 2002. Those currently on display will be replaced in November 2001 with other objects, particularly Christmas items. Nativity Sets, Angels, Santa Claus figures, ornaments, etc. are being sought. If any of our readers have such a collection or a few of such items and would willing to have these objects displayed, please contact the Museum (814-736-9223). This display will last from November 2001 until early January 2002 when the Museum will be closed for the winter months until March.