Brief Background – Created by the renovation of a 90-year-old freight station formerly owned by the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, the Historical Museum opened in 1998 to great acclaim. It received “Best Local History Museum” Award from the American Association of State and Local History. The Museum features important, regularly changing exhibits on the people, objects and events that have shaped our community’s history. It also has served as the site of a campaign visit by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in 2000, and a tour by the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery in 2003.
Exhibits – The exhibits are arranged in a general chronological sequence, featuring a timeline mural, an exhibit of artifacts, and a display of biographical profiles of Beaver notables. The center island is set aside for changing exhibits. Some rotating exhibits have included the actual dueling pistols used in the fatal duel between General Lachlan McIntosh, builder of Fort McIntosh in Beaver, and Button Gwinnett, signer of the Declaration of Independence, musicians of Beaver and the Beaver Valley, the late Mayor Robert P. Linn; and many more.
Museum Shop – The original freight office area of the Museum houses a display of railroad related items and a shop where many special items are available. These include various books and publications, as well as unique gift items related to this area.
Collections Management – The museum houses a permanent collection of more than 5,000 rare artifacts that have been made or used by the people, businesses, schools and other important places of Beaver, Bridgewater, Brighton Township and Vanport comprising the “Beaver Area.” Once an item has been accepted for accession, it is then catalogued, assigned an identification number and filed for future reference by researchers or for public display. The museum’s Collections Management Committee meets weekly to research and eventually catalogue any donations that have been made. The Museum has received a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for development of our collections management system. An Archival Management Consultant, contracted to evaluate our policies and procedures, said we are well ahead of most museums our age.
History of our Building – In 1996, the Borough of Beaver made available the former freight station of the defunct P&LE Railroad, which it had acquired several years earlier when the Railroad liquidated all its former real estate. The Heritage Foundation was thus enabled to undertake a major effort to create a historical museum on this site. Funding for the $450,000 project was raised by public subscription with help from a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The project was noteworthy for the outpouring of community support and for the pooling of volunteer professional talents in the areas of planning, design, fund raising, construction, exhibit development and facility operation. Great care was taken to preserve certain original features such as the oak floor of the main room and the exterior lighting fixtures.
2021 Hours – The museum will reopen for regular admission in Spring 2021. Admission is free. Group tours may be arranged by special appointment by calling the museum office at 724-775-7174.
Parking – Visitors will find ample free parking space next to the building and a convenient handicap-accessible entrance.