By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Photographic Treasures of Madison County, on downtown Range Street next to the RATT Pact Theater, houses more than just photographs. For the next few weeks, this series will look briefly at some of the more unusual bits and pieces of history that have found a safe haven in the little museum, funded by donations (no admittance charge) and staffed entirely by volunteers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and Saturdays 10 a.m. to noon.
Bill Bunting, a volunteer at the Photographic Treasures of Madison County Museum, points proudly to the “First Responders’ Display,” one of the most recent additions to the museum’s collection depicting the history and daily life of the people of Madison County.
The museum solicited articles and photographs from all segments of Madison County’s emergency response and law enforcement divisions, including the county’s EMS and Sheriff’s departments, the city police and fire departments, and the volunteer fire departments of Cherry Lake, Hamburg-Lovette, Greenville, Pinetta and Lee.
Barbara Funk set up the display, arranging all the photos and the items in the glass case the first week of September, in plenty of time for 9/11. It includes antique fire extinguishers and miniature replicas of emergency vehicles, as well as more modern items such as a Kevlar vest.
The museum will continue to enhance the display as more items are brought in on loan, throughout the entire month of October, honoring Madison County’s heroes.
“It would be an excellent field trip experience for school children around here,” Bunting said of the display, as he lifted the Kevlar vest, estimating the weight at 15 to 20 pounds. Allowing a child to try to lift that and asking him or her to imagine a police officer wearing that all day would give that child a much better appreciation for what an officer’s job is like.
Bunting added that he would enjoy showing the children around should their teachers want to bring them in. He is usually at the museum on Wednesdays.