top of page

Museum Happenings July 2024

As the Society finds itself in the middle of the year, the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County continues to thrive, thanks to the generous donations to our Annual Giving Campaign and the tireless efforts of our volunteers. After a successful author talk, we are now shifting our focus to the upcoming School Days exhibit and a major collaboration with the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival in the fall. Meanwhile, our commitment to routine maintenance ensures that our grounds remain fresh and presentable. Despite the summer heat, our volunteers continue to work diligently, and we are making necessary adjustments to ensure their comfort. As the Society looks forward to the second half of the year, it remains dedicated to its mission of preserving and sharing the rich history of Indiana County.

The Program Committee ended last month with the Bob Fulton author talk. The evening was pleasant, and guests were treated to a host of ballpark food, including hotdogs and peanuts. Mr. Fulton retold many tales from his book about the Pirates team and some of the more obscure happenings, many of them almost unbelievable. Many visitors donned their Pirates jerseys and stayed afterwards to talk with the author. The Program Committee now turns their efforts towards the School Days exhibit this month and a major collaboration with the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival for September. That weekend there will be numerous historical items they are in the process of coordinating.

Weekly maintenance is not a glamorous job but is essential to the functionality of the Society. Each week, Allen Fiechuk walks the grounds, sprays the weeds that tend to pop up after each rainstorm, and retrieves any trash that is present. This keeps the grounds looking fresh and presentable. The Evergreen Garden Club also routinely waters and weeds their fine display of flowers at the point. Similarly, the grass is cut on a weekly basis by Johnston Nursery and Landscaping, ensuring that the lawn always looks its best. Routine workdays from the Buildings and Grounds Committee are also one of the main contributing factors to to the Society’s outside appearance. In total, there are more than two dozen individuals are required to keep the grounds looking in top shape.

The Society is currently working on repainting the east porch of the Clark House. Tucked out of teh way from foot traffic, the east porch witnesses a nice supply of sunlight in the morning. Sadly, it bears the consequences of the heavy traffic on South 6th Street. The decking is covered with soot from car exhaust. Measures are now being taken to repaint the porch as the surface has begun to peel, bubble, and expose bare wood in certain areas. The process to fix this is a simple one. A heavy cleaning of the space will be required, removing any old debris. Next the space will need to be primed on any of the exposed sections. Finally, a proper paint will be selected and applied to complete the job. All the work will be handled by volunteers and will help to ensure that this section of the Clark House remains preserved for years to come.

Recently, temperatures have soared over 90 degrees in areas of the county. One can only imagine what it was like prior to the advent of air conditioning. Considering that the hired help of the Clark House lived on the third floor, one can only imagine what the conditions in the hot attic would have been like. Many of the Clark House windows have been sealed shut over the years, whether by paint or caulking. Counterweights in many of the windows are also broken and require mending. Fortunately, Tim Kochik brought some fresh air to the second floor of the building after freeing a window which had been painted shut. Now there is a nice breeze for our Clark House volunteers, although the temperatures remain quite high.

After the failure of one of our dehumidifiers in the Armory Basement, efforts are now being put forth to replace it. The Society has been working with Davis Brothers to find a machine that will efficiently handle the space and remove excess moisture. This is incredibly important considering that relative humidity and temperature play a vital role in the preservation of artifacts. The basement currently serves as a storage space for many items in the collection. The Soceity has been using a temporary unit to stave off any moisture colllecting in the area, but it is not quite strong enough for long-term use. The installation of the new unit has been planned for some time and is included as part of the budget for 2024. The Society had to wait for income to catch up with recent expenses for the project to be seen through. Thanks to the generous contributions from the annual fund, the Society can now move forward with the purchase of the new unit and further ensure the long-term preservation of the basement artifacts.

The new “School Days” exhibit is launching on Tuesday July 16 after many months of preparation. This exhibit has been the culmination of work between many different committees and has involved numerous individuals. The Society is grateful for everyone who has provided school memorabilia from their own private collections, as well as the districts who chose to participate. Join the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County as we celebrate the impact of Indiana County’s seven public school districts on the community. Discover each district through an exhibit focusing on its history, academic, as well as football and marching band programs. The exhibit will be on display through the end of December and is free and open to the public. County residents may even see an old school photo of a relative or two when they visit.

The annual campaign has been incredibly successful since letters were sent out at the end of May. Our membership has been generous in their donations to the Society and that has propelled us almost halfway to our goal. This is encouraging considering that we are now halfway through the year and right on schedule. Over the next six months, we should be able to reach our budgeted amount for the year. Hitting the goal of $40,000 for the year will enable the Society to do everything that it has planned, project, program, and exhibit wise. Our president JoAnne McQuilkin has been busy authoring a mass of thank you letters to everyone who has donated. If you have not received one, please let us know. We want to make sure that no matter the size of the donation, that it is recognized.

The Society was recently honored by the Indiana County Tourist Bureau with the Tourism Ambassador Award. The award has been presented in the past to organizations who help to spread the word about Indiana County and all of its wonderful activities, features, and locations. There was a fantastic arrangement of food laid out, along with many members from the Society and the Tourist Bureau who came out to support and enjoy the evening. After the award was presented, the Soceity unveiled a new promotional video for the HGSIC. The video can be found on the Society’s YouTube page and highlights the Society’s mission while showing aspects of the library and museum. Other members of the Tourist Bureau who had long standing service to the organization were also honored over the course of the evening. The award is now on display at the front desk, so if you are interested in seeing it, please stop by. The HGSIC Board of Directors is grateful for the recognition and looks to continue the work of bringing the area’s rich history to a wider audience.

Executive Director, Jonathan Bogert, and Society President, JoAnne McQuilkin, stand together holding the Ambassador Award.

Local members driving by the museum may have recently noticed a change in the Society’s parking lot. The pavement looks a bit darker, and the yellow lines have been freshly painted. This is all thanks to Total Asphalt Management Systems. Sealing the parking lot on a routine schedule will ensure that the space always has a fresh look to it, and that the pavement underneath is protected from the elements. Little tweaks in maintenance can greatly extend the life of equipment and the grounds here at the Society. An additional item that was done during the sealing was an adjustment to the drainage near the ramp. A new path was cut for the water to properly drain. Now we must just wait to see how it functions with the next couple of rain showers and make any necessary adjustments.

As the Society reflects on the first half of the year, we are filled with gratitude for the generosity of our donors, the dedication of our volunteers, and the success of our programs. The Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County continues to thrive, with exciting projects and exhibits on the horizon. Our commitment to preserving and sharing the rich history of Indiana County remains steadfast, as does our dedication to maintaining the beauty and functionality of our grounds. We look forward to the continued support of the community and our members as we embark on the second half of the year. With your continued support, we are confident that we will maintain a positive impact on the community. Here is to the next six months of preserving, celebrating, and sharing the history of Indiana County.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page