The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., recently was awarded a grant from the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.
The $200,000 grant will support the installation of a fire suppression system throughout the museum. The improvement was suggested during the last re-accreditation process by the American Alliance of Museums.
The museum is one of only 740 museums throughout the country accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, holding it to a higher standard of operation.
The check was received Oct. 5 at a grant reception held at 33 East. On hand to receive the First Community Foundation Partnership check was Executive Director Gary Parks and Board of Governors President Martha Huddy.
Work will commence shortly after the holiday season, thus, causing the least disruption to tours of the museum.
The entire process will take about three to four months, until completely installed.
The museum has thousands of items on display and in storage, most of which are vulnerable to the devastating effects of fire.
Among the items housed within the museum are manuscript materials relating to the "founder" of Williamsport Michael Ross and entrepreneur Peter Herdic; thousands of unique images photographed by D. Vincent Smith and Putsee Vannucci; wedding dresses and military uniforms worn by Lycoming Countians; and wooden items used during the logging and lumbering of the 19th century, causing Williamsport to be nicknamed, "the Lumbering Capital of the World."
All these items are susceptible to the irreversible effects of fire.
"The best use of the fire suppression system is that we may never have to use it," Parks said. "But if we do, we can rationalize it as follows. You cannot reverse the damaging effect of fire. You cannot mold ashes back into an object, but an item damaged by water can be frozen and then slowly introduced back into the environment in which it existed. If you freeze it, the growth of mold is retarded. There are methods of drying which will bring the object back to a similar condition previous to a fire."