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Heritage museum looks at past eras

April 15, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Some visitors attending the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum on Saturday, where craftspeople demonstrated how some handiwork was done in past eras, said it sparked old memories.

In the case of Jane Hixson, 81, it also brought back a story she said she had not thought about or told in years.

The museum displays include wagons, buggies, sleighs and plows used by local pioneer ancestors.

The sleighs reminded Hixson of a time in the 1940s when she got on a friend's sleigh on Virginia Avenue and rode to Williamsport and back, she said. She smiled as she shared the memory.

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At the museum this weekend, there are hands-on demonstrations of local handiwork with Ray Reeding, showing how woodcarving was done; Darce Easton, showing quilting; B.J. Collyer, demonstrating canvas needlepointing; Carrie Martin, showing rag rug making; Gary Spickler, demonstrating horn and bell carving; and Sandi Scott, giving tree and horticulture advice.

The weekend event continues today.

The Heritage Museum depicts the era from the mid-1700s to the 1940s, said Jim Reeder, who is on the museum board of directors.

Organizers hoped to draw 100 people Saturday and today. The event attracted at least 100 people Saturday, he said.

Near the sleighs sat a collection of bells owned by Spickler, including sleigh, cow and sheep bells as well as harness chimes and other objects. He said he probably owns about 100 strips of bells and about 100 strips of chimes, with each strip containing 20 to 30 bells.

His display attracted the attention and praise of Carl Beyeler of Charles Town, W.Va., and Stanley Thomas of Boonsboro.

"This display is very professional. He is very obviously a serious collector," Thomas said.

Thomas said the museum is great, but having craftspeople there makes it even better.

"The one-on-one opportunity to share and learn is a wonderful opportunity," he said. "The people who don't take advantage of this lose out."

Collyer sat nearby in a complete old-time general store replica explaining the importance of needlepoint at the turn of the century. Back then, at least one person in each family did some form of embroidery or needlepoint, she said.

A woman would sometimes be expected to show her ability to do needlepoint when meeting her future in-laws, Collyer said.

While some do needlepoint now, using a plastic canvas instead of the traditional cloth canvas, many people find they just don't have time for the craft anymore, she said.

Visitors said the museum has a great collection.

"I think it is a beautiful exhibit. I didn't even know it was here," said Miriam Holsing of the Homewood Retirement Center in Williamsport. "It was interesting to see how the others lived so many years ago."

"I think it was wonderful," said Lila Carioscia, who was also from the center.

Both said they particularly enjoyed the exhibit on hand-quilting.

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