Museum offers tribute to Connellsville's past
By Barbara Starn
Published: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The panels have been installed. The artifacts are in place. The Connellsville Historical Museum on the upper floor of the Carnegie Free Library in Connellsville is open for business.
The museum is a collaborative effort of the Carnegie Free Library and the Connellsville Historical Society. It tells the story of Connellsville, from its beginnings as an 18th-century frontier town located on the Youghiogheny River to its heyday as a part of Southwestern Pennsylvania's coal and coke empire to its present-day accomplished sons and daughters, including Johnny Lujack and Harold Betters.
Karen Hechler of the Connellsville Historical Society said the museum provides opportunities to celebrate Connellsville's history.
“The artifacts will be changed from time to time,” Hechler said. “Perhaps there will be some displays with a special theme. Perhaps community people will want to loan an interesting item to display for a time. We don't know what might be an inspiration for the future.”
She said that the museum brings to life the story of Connellsville.
“I think the huge pictures of Connellsville, both past and present, are very popular,” Hechler said. “The pictures may have been seen in books. Here, they are so large that you can really see a great amount of detail in each picture.”
Casey Sirochman, head librarian, said that the museum celebrates some unique moments in Connellsville's history.
“Many older women have shared their memories of working in the Connellsville canteen during World War II,” Sirochman said.
“It is great to see such an inspiring display of the Connellsville area's amazing history. We need to be reminded from time to time just what outstanding people and accomplishments thrived right here in Connellsville,” Hechler said. “We concentrate too much on the negative and don't remember the positive influence of the Connellsville area.”
Funding for this project is provided primarily by the hotel tax.
The Carnegie Free Library is located at 299 S. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville. The Historical Museum is open during library hours, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
There is no admission fee.
Barbara Starn is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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