This week I met with the curator at the Anthracite Heritage Museum. I was given a tour of the museum exhibits that are usually open to the public and then a tour of the archives and library as well. The exhibit was very interesting and offered a lot of information on the history of anthracite in this region. I am from the area, so I actually toured the museum and the coal mine when I was younger; however, it was even better now!
The most exciting thing for me this past week was seeing the archives and collections downstairs. I was shown lease agreements from the early 20th century, which looked a lot different than lease agreements you would see nowadays. They were about the size of a typical pamphlet you would pick up in the doctor’s office, and they included the name and address of the renter. Another interesting thing about these lease agreements is that often people would just get up and leave without giving notice to the owner of the property; as a result, the agreements included a cash amount that they still owed. On the ones that I saw, it was often an amount less than $100.
Due to COVID-19, volunteering at AHM will be different than usual. They are currently closed to the public, but the work does not stop! This week I helped edit an exhibit on beekeeping at Eckley Miner’s Village that will eventually be put online while the museum is still closed. One thing that I learned this week is that even though the doors of the museum may be closed, the work inside does not slow down. While I wish I was volunteering at the physical museum this semester, I am still very excited to be doing the work virtually. I look forward to the rest of the semester!