Exhibition Series

The Centre County Historical Society Exhibition Series features smaller, temporary exhibitions from CCHS and private collections.  These exhibitions will be on display in the Centre Furnace Mansion Hearth Room and first floor period Kitchen during regular tour hours of 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Ringing Phone

Magic Mirrors… the Art of the Daguerreotype

At the Centre Furnace Mansion May 19 – September 22, 2019

By George and Ann Moellenbrock

The world changed in 1839 when Louis Daguerre, a French painter announced that he had taken the first permanent photograph on a thin copper plate covered with chemically treated, light sensitive silver. While early cameras had been invented much earlier, it offered only a temporary, fleeting image… there was no way of permanently fixing it in place.

Suddenly with this remarkable invention, the middle class could now afford to permanently capture a family for posterity.  Previously, only the wealthy could afford to hire a portrait artist to paint a family portrait. When one holds a daguerreotype in his hand and turns it, the image disappears and only the mirror is evident.  Only daguerreotypes produce this effect.  It truly is a magic mirror.

As ground breaking and important as these first photographs were, the daguerreotype was soon surpassed by other cheaper, quicker processes.  In the late 1850’s along came the ambrotype (image on glass) and the more common tintype (image on a thin iron plate.)  Eventually the paper negative made all “hard” case images a thing of the past.  Peak years for the daguerreotype were 1852-54 and by 1860 and the Civil War the daguerreotype became obsolete and lost to history.

Ringing Phone

Lafayette’s Tour of America:  Interpreted in Historical Staffordshire Transferware

At the Centre Furnace Mansion December 9, 2018 – April 14, 2019
Curated by James Farr

Importantly, American Scene Historic Staffordshire was marketed not only as functional tableware, but also as souvenirs and remembrances of Lafayette’s visit.

Other forms of British pottery were also decorated and marketed in similar ways, but none captured customers like Historic Staffordshire.  Also, there were large numbers of American-made Lafayette souvenirs (for example, flags and banners, ribbons and badges, glass whiskey flasks) produced for sale.

In this exhibit we display a number of representative patriotic and Lafayette-related Historic Staffordshire items, as well as a few examples of other pottery types.  These are organized whenever possible in relation to places Lafayette visited on his tour.

Ringing Phone

Poor Man’s Silver

March 2018 – September 2018

Pewter. An alloy consisting predominately of tin, but alloyed with some other metal(s) to make it stronger and easier to cast or spin. Metals that have been alloyed with tin include copper, antimony, bismuth and lead. While there are some exceptions, tin content of most pewter exceeds 90%.

Items featured in this exhibition include beakers (with one from 1730), a child’s tea service, tankard and mugs, porringers, plates, church pewter, teapots – 1750 through 19th century, pewter for letter writing and pewter for eating.

Thank you to Richard Pencek for preparing this exhibition and to Keith Shapiro for the exhibit photography.

Ringing Phone

Centre County Women In the American Red Cross – Celebrating a Centennial

April 2017 – February 2018

As we celebrated the Centennial of the Centre Communities Chapter of the American Red Cross, it is fitting that we highlight the role’s of Hilda Patton Thompson and her sister Alice Irvin Thompson that spanned over WWI and WWII.

Hilda and Alice Thompson, granddaughters of Moses & Mary Thompson of Centre Furnace, were both fervid humanitarians. They supported the men overseas through their unstoppable efforts at the Red Cross clubs and battlefield relief work during WWI and WWII. Neither Hilda nor Alice ever gave up the ideals instilled in them through their training, and both carried on volunteering after their retirement.