Preserving the Past
Published: August 30, 2012
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Sometimes, even things that are familiar can have their own secrets waiting to be discovered.
Helping these secrets come to light is the mission behind the new Clarks Summit Museum, located in the Clarks Summit Borough Building, 304 S. State St.
The idea for the museum was conceived by Clarks Summit Borough council president Gerrie Carey during last year's centennial festivities. Local historian and retired University of Scranton professor Dennis Martin, his wife Sharleen and Charles Kumpas quickly heeded Carey's call to action in getting the museum ready for its opening during the Clarks Summit Art and Wine Festival on Saturday, Aug. 11.
"This museum is designed for people who have a bit of an interest and who would like to learn more," Martin said. "When we did historical things during the centennial, we didn't have a large audience but the people who came did enjoy themselves. Not everyone is interested in history but the people who are deserve to have a chance to see it."
Upon entering the museum space, visitors will see large-scale reproductions of photos of Clarks Summit at the turn of the 20th century, including a Fourth of July parade near the intersection of Winola Road, State Street and Highland Avenue from about 1907. All of the photos came from David Singer's early history of Clarks Summit, which was published through the Abington Community Library in the 1960s. Both the Abington Community Library and the Lackawanna Historical Society are partners with the Clarks Summit Museum.
"There is a lot of cute history in here," Martin said. "It was fun collecting these things."
Even the museum's handmade main display case, which houses the borough's centennial time capsule, among other things, is purely rooted in the borough. The case was built by the late Alberto Viselli of Clarks Summit.
"He was a contractor but for extra money he made cases," Martin explained. "We got this particular display case from a sports store in Dickson City; the guy moved from a large store to a smaller store and had an extra case. At the time, we didn't know it was made by a person from Clarks Summit but we found that out. We had to take the window out to get it in this room."
The museum committee is currently seeking donations and exhibits will be rotated on a regular basis. The committee is also trying to find out information about the American Bicentennial time capsule, which is located along one of the museum walls. The time capsule was discovered during the centennial and has a twin at Keystone College in LaPlume.
"Sometimes, history is something you begin to wonder about," Martin said. "You wonder what it was like 'back then.' It could hit you any time that there is something interesting here."
For more information, call the Clarks Summit Borough Building at 586-9316.Clarks Summit opens museum, seeks donations for exhibits