ShareThis Page
News

Museum honors Oakmont doctor

| Friday, June 7, 2002

OAKMONT: In the early 1900s, Dr. Thomas R. Kerr often treated patients with heat, using an ultraviolet lamp in his home office.

Today, Dr. Kerr's heat lamp and other medical instruments remain in his home, recently restored to become the Thomas R. Kerr Memorial Museum.

The museum, at Delaware Avenue and Fourth Street, opens Saturday.

Docents - volunteers knowledgeable about the home and its history - will be in every room and guests will be led on a half-hour tour.

"It's a wonderful old house built in 1897 and it's a very nice example of a middle-class professional's house and a lot of the items in it are original to that time," said Jan Shoop, chairwoman of the Dr. Thomas R. Kerr Memorial Museum Commission.

Kerr's only daughter, Virginia Kerr, bequeathed the home to the borough when she died in 1994. Virginia Kerr was born in 1903 and lived in the home all of her life.

She was a school teacher in Oakmont from 1927 to 1968. Mayor Dale Peoples was one of her students.

In 1998, Oakmont formed a commission for the house and, since, the commission has been restoring the home and consulting with interior designers and restorationists.

"We even used Sears 1889 and 1900 catalogs as a reference point," Shoop said.

Adeline Brown, borough manager, said the borough gave $10,000 to the commission in each of the past three years. That's been supplemented with about $67,718 in donations and grants, she said.

The three-story home is filled with interesting artifacts such as Virginia Kerr's "Button, Button, Who's Got The Button?" game and Kerr's physician's ledger with entries such as, "Visit to Child: $1.50."

In the basement is a chicken coop that Kerr used for the fowl he received as payment for medical services.

While restoring a room on the second floor, the words "Charles F. Sellek April 6, 1900" were found scribbled on the wall behind wallpaper that was removed - a note commission members believe is the moniker of the man who put up the paper.

Shoop said the commission has "really tried to remain true to the 1900s" and is cautious about what artifacts it uses. A few of the items added to the house include an early 1900s microscope, an ornate dining room chandelier and a baby bassinet.

After Saturday's opening, the museum commission plans to have the museum open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment.

"At this point we think it's worth seeing, but we still have more to do," Shoop said.

"There's no reason to leave Oakmont, and this is our bit of culture," said Kaaren Amodeo, a commission member and borough councilwoman.

Shoop and Amodeo said the commission hopes to rebuild a barn that once stood behind the Kerr home. It also wants to add a gift shop and expand the museum's hours.

Peoples thinks the Kerr museum will do a lot for Oakmont.

"We're trying to make it a good community, especially for families, and I think this will bring them in because of the history in it," he said.

If you go


  • What: Opening of Dr. Thomas R. Kerr Memorial Museum.
  • When:, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
  • Cost: Box lunch and tour, $15; tour, $10.
  • Tickets: Available at Carabella's, Casey's, Catherina's and The Blind Side or call 412-826-9295 for information.

  • 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.

    click me