LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The Lower Macungie Township Historical Society will open a new museum in the lower barn at Camp Olympic later this year. The museum, called The Bartholomew Center for the Preservation of Lower Macungie History, will display a large collection of artifacts, documents and memorabilia to tell the story about the township. An open house for the space took place July 9 with the museum to have its grand opening in the fall.
“We’ve hoped to develop a museum for quite some time,” Sarajane Williams, who serves as president of the society, said. “We’ve had a lot of odds and ends on shelves and in drawers and in boxes, but we’ve never had a place to display them.”
The museum is named after Ann and Craig Bartholomew, who have worked since the late 1970s to preserve and document the history of the township. They compiled a township history book for the Bicentennial and were among the co-founders of the Lower Macungie Township Historical Society in the late 1980s. Ann Bartholomew currently serves as vice-president of the society while her husband previously served as president.
“What we really want to do is have a place where people can go to learn about their community’s history,” Ann Bartholomew said.
The museum already boasts a wide array of materials including vintage clothing, maps and books from the Macungie area. There will be a number of different displays located throughout the museum which will allow guests to explore different facets of Macungie history. The society also plans to put in interactive components, including digital maps and a mining diorama modeled after 19th century Macungie.
The township granted the society with the space in January and renovations began around Memorial Day. The renovations were completed under budget and under the projected time frame.
“The township paid for the renovations, which was very, very generous,” Williams said.
Both Bartholomew and Williams credit the support from the board of commissioners, along with Township Manager Bruce Fosselman and Facilities Crew Chief Jason Grate, as being instrumental in the museum’s development. Bartholomew also emphasized the passion of the historical society’s members, particularly Williams, for the project.
“She is really the emphasis behind the museum,” Bartholomew said. “She is really great.”
While the museum will not officially open its doors to the public until some point in the fall, the enthusiasm expressed for the project on all sides is sure to make it worth the wait for anyone interested in the history of Lower Macungie.