The Catawba Island Historical Society’s Union Chapel Museum at the north end of the island in an iconic 1888 former Sunday school and non-denominational house of worship on East Porter Street will open for its 5th season on May 14.
“It is difficult to believe we already have four years of operation behind us,” said Craig Koerpel, a trustee since the museum first opened its doors in June 2018. “Thanks to continued collaboration with the Catawba Island Township Trustees, volunteer efforts, and community support of our membership programs we have made great strides in preserving the area’s heritage.”
Most of the artifacts on display at the museum were gifted by Islanders Don and JoAnn Rhodes. When a $50,000 renovation of Union Chapel was completed by the township to house CIHS activity, the Rhodes antiquities were moved to their new home and organized to create a timeline tale of Catawba dating back over 400 million years.
“The displays for our first season were totally dedicated to the local ice harvesting industry,” recalled Koerpel. “The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Museums in Fremont lent us a lot of the materials we used in conjunction with tools, photographs and related equipment the Rhodes had collected. Today we have a much broader scope.”
A visit to Catawba Union Chapel Museum is an information-dense experience requiring multiple visits to absorb all that is offered. Exhibits address the area’s geological birth, prehistoric and Native American people, pioneers, orchard and arbor fame, and transformation to a lakeside recreation mecca.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the second and fourth Saturday of each month until mid-October. There is no charge for admission. Operation of the facility is underwritten by dues paid for CIHS membership.
More information is available at www.catawbaislandhistoricalsociety.com.