Heisey Museum’s Little Red Wagon

PHOTO PROVIDED The Heisey Museum in Lock Haven reveals the stories of everyday objects like the little red wagon from the Civil War. They also bring the community together this summer with Monday Movies on the Lawn.

According to Clinton County Historical Society’s president, tour guide and area historian extraordinaire Bonnie Hannis, the little red wagon is her favorite display awaiting visitors at the Heisey Museum in Lock Haven.

With all of the wonderfully old and almost sacred looking objects of obvious historical significance there to delight, inspire and enlighten visitors, how could a little red wagon pull top honors in the “most significant” category?

Hannis is a gifted story-teller who makes history come alive.

The little red wagon, it turns out, is an artifact from the Civil War era. It was originally owned by a family of three brothers who laughed and played together as children. The wagon’s story, through Hannis’ narration, brings to life the journey of this family as they each responded differently to the reality of the Civil War in a border state.

As the older brothers went to war, each choosing different sides, the mother chose to move away in order to protect her youngest son.

She moved to the relative safety of North Central Pennsylvania. The wagon’s journey is a fascinating story of choice, hardship, survival and triumph all brought to life through a very old and seemingly ordinary little red wagon that, along with its family, lived through this significant period of our nation’s history.

The Heisey is the kind of museum where each visitor will likely see something different. The stories in these collections of ordinary items from the past brings forward to the present day extraordinary pieces of our heritage worth remembering and valuing.

Upon first impression, the Heisey’s main door opens onto a hall of a lot of old stuff.

An older mansion in the Victorian fashion, its rooms are filled with objects that at first glance have an air of disuse and neglect — old things that survived purging, yard sales, and basement storage bins of years past. But all it takes for that cursory glance to be dispelled is a second glance.

Upon further inspection, each of these fine, aged specimens brings some aspect of the past to life. Wonder. Pride. Fascination. All these and more are responses that most visitors to Heisey experience upon those second glances.

“The Clinton County Historical Society owns five properties,” Hannis relates with obvious pride. She goes on to say, “Our 15-member board is of all ages, 30s and upward. We are staffed by volunteers.”

Of the five properties, Hannis says, “The Farrandsville Furnace, dating back to the 1930s, was the first hot-blast iron production in North America. The other properties include The Barton Street One-Room School House, The Castanea Train Station and restored 1941 caboose presently listed on Airbnb, and the Poorman Gallery.”

Summer events for the Heisey include Monday Movies on the Lawn scheduled for Aug. 8 and 15.

Movie-goers bring their own lawn chairs/blankets and their favorite beverages. Popcorn will be provided.

Admission is free.

Hannis is fond of telling visitors that each of them IS history.

“What we have now will soon be history!” She encourages school children who visit to turn their pockets inside out.

Those contents, she tells them, may one day be in a museum just like The Heisey because that is what The Heisey is, a window into the past, a look at what was ordinary in an earlier time.

A visit to this wonderful place just might be a viewing pleasure this summer for you, your family or your out of town visitors.



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