Take a moments to reflect. Do you find yourself watching movies and documentaries of a historical nature? Does the old rather than new peak your interests?
If you would like to support the Society’s mission, you can choose to donate your time to one of the many museum projects. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to impact your community in a positive way.
The Washington County Historical Society needs volunteers to get the job done! There are many opportunities to learn new skills and make use of the skills you have. Different types of projects are available depending on the time of year. We currently have need for volunteers to help with:
• Greeting museum visitors
• Help with school tours.
• Create and maintain museum exhibits.
• Participate in Community Outreach programs
• Help with the daunting task of historical research
• Assist with programs and classes
Call us at 850-638-0358 to discuss volunteer opportunities and go to the
"Join Us" and get involved.
Below is a short story about a young lady from pennsylvania. Her story may bring the inspiration you need to take the time and get involve with the Washington County Historical Society and maybe more importantly preserving your history.
The Importance of Preserving History
I believe in preserving history. It was a belief a long time in the making.
I grew up on a farm in southwestern Pennsylvania. The farmhouse was built before the Civil War, and my parents spent years restoring it.
As a child, there were moments when I wondered why we didn’t live in a normal housing development like everyone else. I wondered why I slept in a loft with a sloping roof instead of a regular square-shaped bedroom. There were times when I wondered why my parents thought antique farm equipment made for lawn decorations.
But those moments were fleeting.
I learned to value the relics that made my house and my family different from everyone else.
I know how to differentiate between classic cars and how to appraise antiques at flea markets. These were things my high school classmates didn’t understand.
Today, our house has the attributes of a modern home. When we moved in, the place had been uninhabited for decades. Years of work by plumbers, electricians and contractors made the house livable. My parents’ great care preserved the integrity of a house that was more than a century old.
Holding the house together is a stone-work foundation I know is better built than the basements in the fancy new houses up the street. Its feet are firmly planted in the soil of history.
There’s one part of the farm my parents didn’t restore. The three-story barn was erected in the mid-1800s. Over the years, it’s been home to my dad’s legions of tractors and farm equipment. It’s stored all the furniture on my mom’s to-do list for restoration.
In high school, the barn housed everything we needed for the Homecoming float – the trailer, the tools, the building supplies… All the ingredients necessary to get first-place in the parade. The barn was the coolest backdrop for photos before the senior prom.
This year, Pittsburgh got a record snowfall – feet upon feet of heavy snow fell on the barn over just a few weeks. Strangled under the weight of the snow, the barn collapsed into a heap of mangled wood, metal and memories. History fell silently atop the soft, white snow.
The last original remnant had fallen. The place where I used to find arrowheads and old coins as a child was gone.
Its falling has reminded me of the necessity to preserve pieces of history for as long as we can. My desk chair is an antique that my parents and I sanded, re-painted and re-upholstered. Yellowed newspapers from my favorite moments in history are tacked up on my walls.
The barn fell, but the foundation of the barn is still intact, strong as it was in the 1800s. My family will build a new barn, and I believe it will be ready to endure for another couple hundred years.
My parents laid a strong foundation for my appreciation of the past. In a world of cutting-edge technology, I believe in the importance of an old barn. I believe in preserving history, and, if necessary, in piecing it back together.