The Adams County Historical Society (ACHS), often called the “county’s attic,” will throw open its doors for the public to take a journey through 300 years of local history at a June 11 open house from 6 to 8 p.m.
Located on the grounds of the Lutheran Theological Seminary within the Wolf House, the ACHS is home to more than a million Adams County artifacts. The society, akin to a time capsule, will give attendees a glimpse into the past as they wander from room to room examining artifacts, photographs and documents dated from 1741 through the mid-1900s.
Since 2011, the ACHS has been located in the Wolf House, a temporary residence.
The society is hoping to show the public what ACHS is about and rally community support for the organization’s goal of finding a more suitable building to display the society’s collections, according to Assistant Collections Manager Andrew Dalton.
“We’re just hoping to show people that our collection is really fascinating and also tells the stories of local citizens in all of Adams County, not just Gettysburg,” Dalton said. “No other museum or institution in town really does what we’re doing because we’re telling the stories of people who lived here and what they did and contributed.”
Visitors to the open house will hear brief presentations in each room, explaining the significance of the displayed artifacts. Relics from significant periods in local and national history will be displayed, including relics from the founding of Gettysburg, the Civil War and both World Wars.
“I think people don’t realize that local history is also national history,” Dalton said. “We have things that are nationally significant.”
Open house attendees will also have the chance to receive a “behind the scenes” tour of the building and learn about how the society stores and archives documents and photographs.
The society receives numerous collections from the public, many with ancestors who played significant roles in Adams County’s past, Dalton said. Items donated have contributed to the society’s ability to be a historical research outlet for the public, providing public records dating back to the 1800s.
“I think we provide a really vital community service because you can’t go anywhere else to research your family or your farm or your home. We want people to know they can come here to discover history that’s important to them,” Dalton said.
Admission to the event is free to the public, but ACHS is suggesting a $10 donation to off-set the cost of the event and contribute to the society’s relocation efforts. During the event, local historian and author William A. Frassanito will answer questions and sign copies of his books.
ACHS is hoping this event will open the eyes of the public to the local treasures in the society’s possession, and rally the community behind the organization’s efforts to find a new place to display the million artifacts that “can’t be in an attic much longer,” said Dalton.
“I think we have one of the most unique local stories in the country,” he said.