Tarentum Historical Society museum evokes school memories in exhibit
With its “School Days From Years Gone By” exhibit, the Allegheny-Kiski Valley Historical Society's Heritage Museum offers a stroll down memory lane for those who graduated from schools all around the Alle-Kiski Valley.
The exhibit, which runs during regular museum hours and is open to the public, features everything from yearbooks to band uniforms to report cards.
Just a few of the schools featured are St. Joseph, Kiski and Saltsburg. A number of schools included in the exhibit no longer exist; among them are Har-Brack, St. Matthias and Tarentum, Avonmore, Birdville and Parnassus high schools.
The exhibit is one that has been in the Tarentum museum's rotation before.
About four years ago, says Dolly Mistrik, Allegheny-Kiski Valley Heritage Society president, the museum undertook its first venture into the realm of school memories by sharing items in its collection donated by local residents and the schools.
“It was one of the first displays we did when I started here, and I've wanted to do it again ever since,” she says.
“They loved it the last time,” she says of museum visitors. “We've already had people come in to look at it.”
“We had a gentleman come in, and he just stood there and looked at all the pictures and everything, and he's not even from the area.”
The exhibit, which went up earlier this month, will run through at least the end of August.
While Mistrik had been hoping for several years to bring the school-memories exhibit back, it was another museum event that inspired her this year.
That was the return of Robert “Bob” Olszewski, a miniatures sculpture artist who gave a presentation at the museum while he was in town for Har-Brack High School's 50th high-school reunion.
While the event doesn't quite coincide with the school year, but rather the lazy days of late summer, Mistrik finds it to be a perfect fit.
“I always liked it, because, in the summer, it's reunion time for everybody, and we have this stuff, but it's something that you can't leave out year round, because it's fragile.”
For the remainder of the summer, school days will take center stage.
Mistrik says the items included in the exhibit range from the late 1800s to the 1970s and 1980s.
While band uniforms, yearbooks and report cards, and pennants, photos and flyers, make up the bulk of the exhibit, there are also unique items. They are a formal dress made from a parachute during the 1940s and a wooden spoon passed, for reasons unknown, from class president to class president at Tarentum High School.
Desks, diplomas and uniforms are displayed in the museum's ballroom and, if space allows, Mistrik says there will be an opportunity for visitors to place their autographs on a large piece of paper, as if writing in a classmate's yearbook.
Excerpts from local yearbooks are copied and available for guests to peruse. The yearbooks themselves, if in the museum's collection, are available to be reviewed on request.
Mistrik is in the process of digging up school photos of her board members. Her own, she says jokingly, is already on display.
Even for those outside of the Alle-Kiski Valley or whose schools aren't included, it offers an entertaining and educational blast from the past.
“Even if it's not your school, you can relate to it,” she says. “It's going to jog your memories.”
Julie Martin is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 1 dead in Washington Township crash
- Ex-church youth leader to face trial for forcing teen girl to have sex
- ATI contract expires today; union reports no progress in negotiations
- Vandergrift man accused of sexual assault
- Leechburg residents begin holiday lights campaign
- Pittsburgh woman accused of shoplifting at Mills mall
- Freeport board hires substitute superintendent
- Record amounts of rain in Alle-Kiski Valley keep golfers off course
- Harrison officer known for sense of duty, humor
- Time is running out for ATI contract negotiations
- Sylvan Pool flooded for second time in two weeks