That, they said, is a reason to celebrate.
"This is nothing short of a renaissance of the C&O Canal in Washington County," said Kevin Brandt, superintendent of C&O Canal National Historical Park. "Nowhere else on the canal do you have the diversity of structures that you do in Williamsport."
U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., listed some of those features in his speech, including the turning basin, aqueduct, lift locks, lockman's house and carriage bridge.
"There probably isn't another half-mile of the canal with more historic features," Bartlett said.
Bartlett, McCleaf and state Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said they would like to see the canal filled again with water, and envisioned canal boats and other attractions coming to Williamsport.
McCleaf said those improvements are important to efforts to revitalize the old canal town.
"You can tell the history of Williamsport through the canal," McCleaf said. "And our past is going to save our town."
The exhibit was brought to Williamsport with donations from local businesses and governments and efforts from the C&O Canal Trust, a nonprofit fundraising group created last year to raise money for the C&O Canal National Historical Park.
Under an agreement with Washington County Public Schools, every fourth-grader in Washington County will visit the exhibit before it closes Oct. 12.
Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said it will give children hands-on experience in learning about their local history.
"Studying the canal, it isn't like studying the French Revolution," Morgan said. "You can touch it, you can feel it, you can know about it."
The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 12. Admission is free.