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Lincoln Highway Experience Museum launches postcard exhibit

| Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 10:30 p.m.
Sean Stipp | Trib Total Media
A giant post card in the new Lincoln Highway Experience Museum display room on Route 30 east in Unity.
Sean Stipp | Trib Total Media
Briana Tomak of Ligonier writes a post card in the new display room at the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum on Route 30 east in Unity.

The Lincoln Highway Experience Museum, located near Kingston Bridge on state Route 30 eastbound, will start the new year with a new exhibit. “Wish You Were Here” has been installed in one of the back rooms of the historic 1815 Johnston House, one of the oldest structures along the Lincoln Highway.

The new exhibit debuts at the end of the highway's 100-year celebration as the first road across America.

“As Americans began traveling the Lincoln Highway and seeing places they had only read about, they sent postcards back home,” said Olga Herbert executive director of the museum. “It was back then one of a few means of connecting with family and friends.”

The penny postcards were used as a communication tool.

“Before telephones, cell phones and texting, they would send a penny postcard,” said Kristin Poerschke, office manager at the museum. “A quick message on a postcard was much easier than sitting down and writing a letter back then.”

The brief messages written on the back of a postcard told the stories of what the travelers were experiencing along the way.

“For some postcards were more than mail, they were keepsakes,” said Herbert. “For others the inexpensive and picturesque cards led them to postcard collecting, which is one of the three largest collectible hobbies in the world.”

More than 3,000 Lincoln Highway post cards have been collected and archived at the museum.

Six were selected and enlarged to be put on display in the new exhibit. Visitors can view both the colorful image on the front of the cards as well as the interesting messages written on the back by the travelers.

“Some postcard collectors are intrigued with the image on the front of the card. others find the written message to be just as compelling,” said Herbert.

All paid visitors to the museum will receive a free postcard to write out and address while at the museum.

“We will even provide a free postage stamp and mail it for them,” said Herbert.

During National Postcard Week, the first week in May, will feature an exhibit of a premiere postcard collector at the musueum.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or dbrehun@tribweb.com.

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