JERSEY SHORE – Some of the local museums are still open and have exhibits even in the midst of a pandemic,
while the others have adapted their operations to something more COVID safe until it is safer to reopen.
The Jersey Shore Historical Society and Samuel Moss House, located on South Main St. in Jersey Shore, has remained closed since March 2020, but is reopening after its historic garage sale on July 3 according to Christina Cooney, president.
After reopening, Cooney said she hopes the hospital will return to its normal hours, being open the second Saturday of each month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., showing Jersey Shore’s history from the 1700s to the 2000s at through artwork, maps, photographs, quilts and military exhibits.
“We hope people come for self-guided tours,” said Cooney. She added that the walking tours, which will take guests through historic homes and churches, are expected to begin in the fall.
During the shutdown, however, volunteer staff have been very active on the Facebook page doing research projects and posting Jersey Shore business directories from 1867 to 1935, back issues of newspapers and various borough sites. .
Recently, they have published old newspaper headlines on Mondays, local news on Wednesdays, and other converging newspapers on Fridays.
“The goal is to eventually get searchable articles,” said Cooney.
Some of the projects were to be part of a presentation with local elementary schools before the closures. Soon they hope to start a restoration project, bringing back an old Jersey Shore wagon from 1908 and putting it on display. However, they are still in the very early stages.
“We are excited to open and bring people in,” said Cooney. “We get anxious.”
The Taber Museum on West Fourth Street originally closed along with other museums during the first state shutdowns in March and December 2020, but turned around and reopened in May 2020 and plans to fully reopen after June 30.
Many exhibits like the canal exhibit, the disguise section and the “Thomas the tank” the exhibitions have all been closed with the pandemic closures as they tend to be “high touch” areas, but Gary Parks, director, hopes to have some of these exhibits up and running again in July.
“We just feel the worst of COVID is over,” Parks added. He said all of his staff are fully vaccinated and hopes to make masking optional for vaccinated people who frequent the museum. He added that there is also social distancing and hand sanitizer in the building.
This summer, the museum held limited-capacity demonstration lectures on flower arranging, coffee growing, and even calligraphy and apple cider making.
“It was fun” he said.
He hopes there will be a few more lectures on topics like origami, Lycoming County automotive history and more.
Even during the first closings and reopenings of 2020, Park was still able to organize workshops for children and organize a summer exhibition.
This exhibition had about 25 motorcycles of different brands like Harley Davidson and Triumph.
“(The exhibition) attracted around 1,300 people”, said Parks.
He said this exhibit was also photographed for a calendar and catalog which, along with entries, earned the museum about $10,000.
“The artwork was beautiful” said Parks.
Other exhibits, such as their holiday exhibit, have been extended to later dates due to being closed for another short period in December 2020.
Parks also added that the museum received a grant from the Bureau of Visitors to help with exhibits.
Rowley House, located at the corner of Walnut and West Fourth streets, has seen many challenges during the closures.
The museum, which only does tours of the house and the history of the house by appointment only, used to have 25-30 tours a year in addition to Victorian Christmas, which has been cancelled, and was only reduced to three visits during the first part of the pandemic shutdowns, causing “significant loss”. Now they are starting up to eight tours.
“It’s still quite low” said Bill Hoffman, President. “I would love to tour more.”
Tours come from Landmark Tour buses that bring groups of almost 40 people to the city center and museum, but recently there have been smaller groups of around 15-20. Hope with the hope of go back to groups of 40.
When all three tours took place in the fall of 2020, masking was mandatory at the museum, but Hoffman hopes that with summer reopenings and more people being vaccinated, masking will be optional as tours can be split into multiple groups. and the museum is completely “not touch.”
In the meantime, Preservation Williamsport applied for grants and also received help with income and apartment costs on the second and third floors of the house.
“We can’t wait (to reopen),” said Hoffman. “We meet such interesting people. The vast majority are so interested in the story and it’s interesting to ask questions. It’s rewarding and a lot of fun.
The Peter Herdic Transport Museum is “closed until further notice during the restructuring of the city”, said Skip Cochran, marketing representative. Although he could not give more information, he said trolley tours were still taking place and could be booked through ridetrolleys.com.