Back to the '50s

Pa. museum brings visitors back to time when life was 'Different in Black and White'

Pa. museum brings visitors back to time when life was 'Different in Black and White'

July 17, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - On the steps of the Allison-Antrim Museum is a Dairimaid milk box with glass bottles inside, seemingly awaiting a delivery more than 50 years past its original use.

The milk box serves as the only clue outside the museum that inside the 1950s and 1960s thrive in "Life was Different in Black and White," an exhibit that has had its run extended into August.

It next will be open Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. at the museum on South Ridge Avenue.

The display of fashions, toys, electronics and housewares has elicited "a lot of memories from the baby boomers," said Bonnie Shockey, the museum's president.

The premise of the exhibit is formed around the lyrics to "Black and White" by Steve Vaus in which he wishes for "a TV world of '63" because "life looked better in black and white."


"The majority of the items came from Harry Myers," who has an antiques and collectibles store in Greencastle, Shockey said.

She is looking for several other collectibles like a Slinky, Princess phone and 3-D glasses, while also signing up antique cars for future open houses.

A television set, complete with a "rabbit ears" antenna and UHF/VHF convertor, served as a favorite item for Bob Smith of Greencastle.

"It's a well-preserved specimen from 1950," he said. As someone who has been fixing televisions since age 12, he was able to explain how the old set works.

He also was intrigued by a wire recorder, the precursor to tape recorders. The rotary telephone proved less unique for him and his wife, Dianne.

"We still have a telephone with a rotary (dial)," Dianne Smith said. She laughed while recounting a story about their daughter's friend who couldn't operate the Smiths' telephone, since she had never encountered that style before.

Similar stories have been shared by most of the Baby Boomers visiting the exhibit, Shockey said.

"They're bringing their children in with them ... and they're explaining some of the things to them," Shockey said. Several of the youngsters have especially noticed similarities to their own fashions, she said.

"Everything old is new again to somebody," she said.

Museum hours and more information can be found at

The Herald-Mail Articles