New exhibit opens here

By on February 11, 2015


Ada and Clayton Musselman

Ada and Clayton Musselman

The Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley is pleased to announce the opening of a special exhibit, “The Musselmans of Murrell, Pioneer Dealers in Pennsylvania German and Early American Antiques,” Feb. 14. Admission is free to the public.
The exhibit, which compliments the Society’s 2014 Journal by the same title, will tell the fascinating story of Ephrata Township antique dealers Ada and Clayton Musselman, and their son David.
The Musselmans ventured into the antique business in 1922, conducting the business out of their home at 766-768 East Main St., until 1946.
For 25 years they scoured Lancaster, Berks, Lebanon and Dauphin counties in search of fine antiques in an effort to satisfy the appetites of their customers. During those years they sold their treasures to dealers, collectors, and department stores from 36 of the 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia.
Among their customers were found prominent collectors of early American antiques, whose names are recognizable even today to serious collectors of quality antiques. A sampling of the names found in the Musselmans’ business records include Albert C. Barnes, Emily Johnston de Forest, Henry Francis du Pont, Titus Cornelius Geesey, Edna Little Greenwood, and Albert Bachelder Wells.
The exhibit will feature artifacts, on loan from private collectors, which had been purchased by the Musselmans during their 25 years in the antique business. Utilizing the Musselmans’ business records some of the items displayed have been traced back to the item’s date of purchase, in some instances, revealing the object’s source and its purchase price. The exhibit will include a sampling of china, glassware, folk art, Lehnware, imprints, pewter, pottery, and primitives, all formerly part of the Musselmans’ stock.
Among the items featured in the exhibit will be a carved 1823 date stone from Stober’s Mill on the Indiantown Creek, Clay Twp., bearing the name of the mill’s builder Isaac and Maria Erb. The mill, which contained two date stones (1823 and 1829), was closed in 1930 and demolished the following year. The Musselmans purchased both date stones in 1931 for $5 each, however no record of the sale of either stone could be found in the Musselmans’ records. Fortunately ca. 1931 snapshots of both tombstone-shaped stones, each having an arched top containing a relief-carved gear, remained in the possession of the Musselman family. Miraculously in November of 2014 the 1823 date stone surfaced at a public auction at Wakefield in southern Lancaster County. The members of the Society’s Museum & Library Committee decided to try to acquire the date stone for the Society’s collection using funds from the committee’s Acquisition Fund. The Society’s bid was successful, the stone was purchased, and another Cocalico Valley artifact has been preserved for future generations.
Don’t miss the Musselman exhibit! The exhibit will open Feb. 15 and continue through Dec. 31.¶
Ada and Clayton Musselman


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