HARRISVILLE The Town of Diana Historical Museum at 2 Depot St. has hosted ice cream socials before, but Sunday was the first time it had live music at the event.
According to museum President and Director Delores M. Young, the idea to feature music from the 50s and 60s originated with local band Flashback. They called us and wanted to do something for the museum. ... We worked it in with our ice cream social, Mrs. Young said.
Michael Atkinson, Harrisville native and bass guitarist for Flashback, said, I belong to the museum society and I wanted some way to help them.
This past season the Pratt-Northam Foundation and the town of Diana, which have helped fund the museum since it opened in 2001, cut their funding. We usually have an intern work for the summer, but we did not get grant money this year. ... They had cutbacks, Mrs. Young said.
Fortunately, the museum received tremendous support from the community when it opened for the season in June. The museum had 10 volunteers and received enough donations from its members that it was able to hire a college student for the summer.
Such support was visible at Sundays event. Town of Diana Historian Ross E. Young speculated at least 50 people visited the museum, some drawn by the ice cream, others by the music.
I dont like new music, said Patricia Ford of Harrisville. I really like big band, swing or gospel.
We used to have country dances through the summer and the winter. ... Theres not so much to do now, said Sharon A. Collette. Like many others at the block dance, Ms. Collette found herself reflecting on the way the community used to be.
Square dancing was a big thing, Shirley Hoover said.
Any kind of school activities were big. Sports are important to small towns, said Mary Jo Peters.
The proof of that can be found inside the museum, where one of the displays is dedicated specifically to Harrisville alumni. Cheerleading uniforms, old sports jackets and school yearbooks dating from 1954 to 2002 fill the display. Other displays include vintage dolls, Lake Bonaparte, Walts Restaurant from the 40s and 50s, tools and minerals, the Harrisville Fire Department and music. We will change displays often. Like in June we bring out the wedding dresses, Mrs. Young said.
The museum is based in an old train depot that was built in 1887. Ross Young speculated the depot stopped running in the 1950s. After that the building was used as a lumber yard and later a home. It was slated to be torn down in 1999 when the Youngs and others petitioned to use it as a museum.
The museum will host another concert from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 9, by the Fraser Family, a popular Scottish and Irish family band. It will close for the season Sept. 15. However, anyone interested in a tour following that date can call the Youngs at 543-2979. Admission is free.