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Preserving history during a pandemic

Construction on a museum in Luzerne County is now underway, and members of the historical society believe now, move than ever, is the time to expand.

SHICKSHINNY, Pa. — Built in 1911, it is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Shickshinny. 

Since 2004, it has been home to even more history on the inside.

That's when the business association and the historical society bought the building together and used it as a place to meet.

But over time, members realized what they've collected has actually made the place a museum.

"This is going to benefit the whole area. It's just not about Shickshinny. It's about Mocanaqua, it's about Union Township," President of the Business Association and Historical Society member, James Bach said. "There were miners who died in Mocanaqua. There's no recognition; there's no plaques over there."

But items like that have ended up in Shickshinny, thanks to donations over the last 16 years. 

In fact, there are so many historical items in the building, that it is finally time to expand. 

With the governor's approval, construction is now underway on making the building a historical museum.

Luckily the building has an upstairs.

"Our motto here is we want those that come after us to know about those who came before us so that they know about the sacrifices people made," Bach explained.

Construction was initially delayed because of pandemic restrictions, but the crew was allowed to begin on May 1.

"It was a big relief, finally after all this time we're finally getting to accomplish something so people can see we're actually doing something," Bach said.

The Shickshinny Area Historical Society's youngest member and history buff Chandler Holmes, age 15, thinks this is the perfect time for a museum upgrade, because of the history we are writing right now during the coronavirus pandemic.

"The one thing I recommend people do is, write down and tell people how you felt during this instance because that is not going to be documented unless you make it documented," said Holmes.

"It's very important that we remember this, and this is all part of history. This is part of this history now, as it was with the Spanish flu, the Great Depression, and the World Wars," Bach added.

Once construction is complete, the members of the historical society will be looking for volunteers to help paint and move all of the items upstairs.

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