GALION — For nearly a year, members of the Galion Historical Society have been eagerly anticipating the opening of an extraordinary exhibit highlighting Galion’s history in industry, business, and schools.
Although the exhibit is not quite ready to open to the public, historical society curator Marcia Yunker recently offered up a sneak peek of the many items on display in the Railroad Street building the historical society specifically purchased for this very purpose.
Yunker noted the purchase of the building was made possible by the generous donations left to the Galion Historical Society by Joice Hayden-Cating and Marta Helfrich Miller after they passed away.
“So we were able to buy this building,” Yunker said. “We had some of this stored out at Innovated Recycling, and God love them that was free … but it was not very secure.
“When we decided to open this we wanted to highlight industry, business and schools because we had a lot of big things,” she noted. “And of course we’re late (opening) because of COVID. We’ve had this building about a year and I’m almost finished. I have to have it finished by Feb. 2 to give the board a tour.”
Although she is the curator, Yunker said she would not have been able to attempt such a project without the help of maintenance worker Barry Moneysmith.
“He hung everything up on the walls and carried the heavy stuff,” she said.
Looking around the items on display, memories come to life with an antique Galion fire engine, a horse-drawn road grader, former business signs, a sleigh, and even the organ that used to be in the old Galion High School auditorium. Even an old printing press from Wilson Printing sits in a corner of the building.
Yunker pointed out that many of the displays offer up a plaque that includes explanations of the items and many even include a QR code people can scan on their smart phones. She said the QR codes then take people to a YouTube video, one includes a former Galion student reading a story about an old fashioned fire engine.
The majority of the items on display, Yunker noted, have been donated to the historical society over several years. However, pointing to a Madame Howard buggy — which was produced by the Galion Buggy Company — Yunker said the historical society purchased that particular item.
“Someone contacted us and told us they had it for sale, so we did purchase it,” she said.
Also on display are several boards made into a makeshift book with old photos of Galion school buildings, former students and teachers. and even a place where quotes from former students and their favorite memories attending school in Galion are on display.
“This is what all this is for,” Yunker noted. “You see all this stuff and it brings back good memories. All these signs and things were just laying there and we wanted to preserve them and promote them and show people. This is not just a storage unit, it is a museum that will eventually soon be able to open. We’re just kind of waiting to see what shakes out with COVID.”
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