Essential Pittsburgh
3:07 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

How to Own a Piece of Pennsylvania History

Pictured is the Conestoga Wagon that will be up for auction Saturday at 10 a.m. in Harrisburg.
Pictured is the Conestoga Wagon that will be up for auction Saturday at 10 a.m. in Harrisburg.
Credit PA Historical and Museum Commission / Cordier Auctions

This weekend citizens of the Commonwealth will get the opportunity to purchase a piece of Pennsylvania history.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will auction off items which include a Conestoga Wagon, prints and antique tools.

Mary Jane Miller is collections manager for the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission. She says this Saturday's auction includes a diverse variety of items.

“They feature artifacts from a conestoga wagon, to some sandstone pillars from an old house, we have mining equipment, there are railroad publications, and we have a lot of household goods, some agricultural equipment, some old wagon parts. You name it, prints and engravings, there’s even an old vacuum cleaner.” The list is so long that she jokes that they’re auctioning off a kitchen sink, then quickly adds that it's actually a bathroom sink.

The items chosen for auction come from curators who assess their collections each year.

“Our curators on a yearly basis will kind of turn around and take a self-assessment of their collections, the health of a collection and see ‘Are there things that don’t necessarily tell the story of Pennsylvania anymore? Is the condition degraded to the point where we don’t need it? Or is it better suited to belong at another museum?’ So what you see at auction is probably only two-thirds of what we’ve actually decided to be excessive. The remaining will be put back into public domain in other educational institutions.”

There is an invitation to the public to attend and participate in the auction in Harrisburg on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. You can also bid on the memorabilia and artifacts online.