by Lisa Schauer
In the before times, the Town of Hancock had a museum on Main Street in the old G.C. Murphy’s store building.
After three years of closure due to “fire, flood and pestilence,” volunteers say people still look for the museum in its former location, which was closed by a 2019 electrical fire.
Most of the museum’s artifacts were saved and moved to the basement of the Hancock Town Hall and Community Center.
Next came the pestilence. COVID-19 protocols kept the Hancock Museum shuttered in 2020.
Finally, the flood. When a basement pipe burst in town hall, the town’s historical relics were again preserved.
This Saturday, January 7 at 10 a.m. the Hancock Museum will re-open in its new location at 126 West High Street.
Artifacts, signs, and photos in the museum are arranged in dioramas depicting the town’ s stagecoach, canal, and railroad history. Rooms and hallways are devoted to natural history, culture, industry, transportation, and military history.
Local Native American artifacts are on display, as well as taxidermy arrangements of native birds and mammals.
“I’m retired, and my wife said I was watching too much TV ,” laughs chief volunteer, John Cohill, 65, of Hancock.
Cohill’s family owned and operated Tonoloway Orchards, a local apple orchard enterprise that grew to include lumber, groceries, and banking from about 1919 to the 1940s.
“They’d ship the apples in the barrels they’d made,” Cohill recounts at the museum’s orchard history display.
Also of interest are mid-century displays of Hancock’s more recent boom time, including signs and merchandise from London Fog and Fleetwood, both of which closed in the early 1990s.
Memorabilia from old diners and orchards are a trip down memory lane for those who remember when Hancock was the place to be on a Friday night.
Pause to reflect at a wall of local heroes in the military room, which includes a collection of wartime artillery and artifacts.
The Hancock Museum is located at 126 West High Street in Hancock. It is free to visit and open to the public. Parking is available in the rear of the building.
Beginning January 7, it will be open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.