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Visually as well as educationally, the George Baker - Levi Dungan Museum is a delight to any historic buff. Situated in its permanent home - the Hartenbach farm - overlooking the ampitheatre of the Brodhead Cultural Center, Pennsylvania State University, Beaver Campus, this museum serves as an active repository for local history.
The history of the George Baker - Levi Dungan Museum begins with the Mill Creek Valley Historical Association (MCVHA). In its constitution of 1965, MCVHA assures "to collect and preserve historical data ... present information about ... and to relate the past to the present life of the community, to bring to the present the encouragement and inspiration which comes from an accurate knowledge of the past." 1 In January of 1968, the association was entering its third year as a state incorporated organization and embarking on a major project to establish a Museum Room in the then new Penn State Library, Beaver Campus. Work moved swiftly and the dedication of the room was planned for the fall of the same year. Movement to create a permanent home for the museum began in May of 1975. On Dedication Day, October 10, 1976, the more than seven hundred who toured the house museum were greeted by hostesses attired in colonial costume. And so, a ten year dream of the MCVHA was finally being realized.
The museum honors two gentlemen with its name. According to Bausman's History of Beaver County, George Baker came to what is the present site of Moon Township and settled there in 1772 or 1773. Meanwhile, Levi Dungan a fellow pioneer settler may have preceded him by two years with homesteading in the area of Frankfort Springs. As an interesting side note, both Baker and Dungan were married in Philadelphia and their families suffered similar uprooting due to British military strategy on the western frontier during the American Revolution.
Strategically placed above what was once a natural pond, the house's interior was transformed using the generous gift of barn siding found on the original site. Inside, architect Herold Bradley captured the atmosphere of a colonial tool area in a barnlike setting. Located near the entrance on the lower level of the house museum this pale, time weathered but effective display features exhibits dating from the 1700-1800's. Among these are primitive wood, iron and tin artifacts and farm tools which the early settlers shaped from the forests. I Arranged around the fireplace, are household items such as kettles, trivets, and toasters which frequented in the early homemaker's food preparations. Highlighted among the various historical items in the display cases also created from barn siding by Herold Bradley, are a peace pipe and stone hammer, circa 1751. Legend has these as being parting gifts from an Indian princess to a 12 year old boy when captured white prisoners were returned to Fort Mackintosh. (illustrations 2 and 3)
The second story of the house museum contains an archive office, kitchenette, and a colonial bedroom with its display of dated quilts. (illustration 1) The main room houses period furniture, portraits of a Geneva College teacher and of General Daniel Brodhead, after whom the cultural center was named, and a landscape by Emil Bott. (Please refer to the article on Mr. Bott, page 8)
The George Baker - Levi Dungan Museum has much to offer in means of educational and historic value. Along with their well versed volunteers, the house museum makes an ideal location for local school field trips and for visits by other interested parties. For more information on events and tours please contact Helen Bauer, President, MCVHA.
In celebrating the 20th Anniversary of MCVHA, there will be a Christmas Open House on December 8, 1985 from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.