C.H. Miller display new at Farm Museum
By POLLY SMITH
County Fair Writer
Visitors came from many states outside Pennsylvania and several foreign countries in 2014 to tour the Farm Museum at the Huntingdon County Fairgrounds.
Despite the many filled lines in the guest book, the Farm Museum continues to be one of the county’s lesser known attractions. Those who have walked through the two buildings say it is one of the finest collections of farm and home memorabilia in Pennsylvania. “We have three new display cases to fill this year,” said Betty Norris of Huntingdon, a faithful volunteer and museum board member. When the crew arrives Thursdays to begin projects, Norris points out what has been cleaned and what needs attention. The new cases are a gift from the Fort Bedford Museum by way of Jennifer Ford. “We have plenty of things to display; we just have to decide what should be put out first this year,”
A recent donation from Tom Miller, a descendant of the C.H. Miller Hardware Co. family, will be highlighted along the left-hand wall as visitors enter at the main door. Photos, handwritten ledger books, trophies and other awards from the former company’s days gone by in Huntingdon and Smithfield Township were obtained from Miller when the Miller Auto Parts warehouse and office building on Fairgrounds Road was sold to another company.
In the fair’s early days, the Miller company displays gave visitors an opportunity to see available merchandise – just like today when vendors rent indoor and outdoor spaces to display their wares. A large photo of an early display will be shown in Neary Hall at the 125th anniversary exhibit. Another large photo of cars and salesmen from the early 1900s is the backdrop for the Farm Museum display.
“We are grateful to the former employees of the Miller Company for alerting us to these pieces of Huntingdon history so we can share them with the public,” Norris said.
Donations to this nonprofit museum have increased each year since the new Farm Museum was constructed in 1992. The second section was added 10 years later. The original museum was co-founded in 1987 by Barb McMath of Germany Valley and her late husband, E. James McMath. It was located in the former Huntingdon and Broad Top Railroad station, which had been moved from its Fourth Street location in Huntingdon to the fairgrounds. It was used for a short time as the fair office and now is the Arts Station to display art entries during fair week.
The Farm Museum is open free and informally to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays during the late spring and summer months. When the fair opens (this year Sunday, Aug. 9), admission to this huge collection of country life from days gone by is the $5 ticket to the fair ($4 if purchased before Aug. 9).
The museum is wheelchair accessible and there are always friendly greeters waiting to answer questions. Prepare to spend some time for there are things to see in cases, hung on the walls, set on the floor and hanging from the rafters.
Vying for Ribbons
The general public enters antique farm tractors, trucks and cars to compete for the best of show rosette, ribbons and cash premiums. (Check the fair’s Premium Book at the fair office or online for qualifying years in five categories.) These and some of the museum’s stock pieces are driven in the parade at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, which is Senior Citizens Day at the fair. Vying for ribbons