Centre County historians honored for their local efforts

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Over the past year, our county has experienced countless historical moments. In Centre County, historians are keeping up with the times, but also working to preserve stories of the community.

“There’s the old adage, ‘If we don’t learn from history it repeats itself,'” says Ken Hickman, director of the Penn State All-Sports Museum. “I tend to subscribe more to ‘history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.'”

The Penn State All-Sports Museum was founded to tell the stories of former student athletes and their achievements over the last 150 years.

“We have also tried to work to use sports as a lens to look at bigger issues, whether that’s racial integration, gender equality… whether it’s the 1947 team desegregating the Cotton Bowl, or the fact that we had a full slate of women’s varsity teams nearly a decade before title nine,” says Hickman.

The museum has been closed through most of the pandemic, but they’ve kept up programming such as children’s story times with coaches or moderated discussions with former athletes.

Other local history activities, such as the Local Historia walking tours in Bellefonte, have not slowed down since participants can be outdoors and socially distant.

Even so, the Local Historia founder, Matt Maris began making YouTube videos, virtually taking people to historic sites.

“I am a high school history teacher and I love history, but I really got into local history just being in Centre County. There’s so much history here it’s kinda like being spoiled with it,” says Maris.

Hickman and Maris are two of the six people or projects being honored by the Centre County Historical Society in this year’s Historic Preservation Awards, which began in 1988 when John Ziegler and Bob Gruver searched for those who were embodying historic preservation.

Up to 100 people can attend the award show on Zoom this Sunday night, January 31, at 3PM. It will also be live streamed on YouTube through C-NET.

Public nominations for next year’s Historic Preservation Awards close on July 31.


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