“Make it – mine it – move it – view it!” Northwestern Pennsylvania’s amazing industrial history

by Sharon Bieganski-Negron

On Thursday, February 13, 2014 the Northwestern Pennsylvania Railroad & Tooling Heritage Center completed its prototype “Movable Museum Exhibit” and put it on display in the lobby of the Crawford County Career and Technical Center. The glass and laminate case measuring six feet high and three feet wide has glass doors on each side which allow a changeable exhibit base to easily be removed and replaced with another. The movable exhibits will be used to highlight our region’s unique industrial history and will change every six weeks rotating from one location to another. Ultimately many of these exhibits will find a home at the Railroad & Tooling Museum which will someday be located at 869 Bessemer St. in Meadville, PA.

JS exhibit 012

The first exhibit features the Keystone View Company which produced stereoscopes and stereoviews from 1896 to 1976 in Meadville. The exhibit tells much about the company but to get an opportunity to handle and use the equipment one needs to visit the Johnson-Shaw Stereoscopic Museum 423 Chestnut Street. Visit the site at www.johnsonshawmuseum.org

Subsequent exhibits will include information about the railroads and trolleys in our area, early tooling and manufacturing companies, Talon, Meadville Master Antenna and the Spirella Corset Company. These mentioned are but a few of the many stories we have to share with the young and old alike. Before we are finished our residents and visitors will become familiar with the names of William Reynolds, Lewis Walker, George DeArment, George Lang and many other men and women who brought successful business to our region.

We hope to locate exhibit cases in all of the local schools and large public access areas. The Railroad & Tooling Museum will allow its visitors to handle the artifacts but until it becomes a reality we can at least set the stage and tell the fascinating stories of our early industrial pioneers.

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