The village of Galena has its first museum, thanks largely to the collections of one man.

John Bland, a longtime Galena resident, said he's "been collecting stuff for years." He's the vice president of the Galena Historic Foundation and has been working to preserve the village's history.

Over the years, the foundation has had unofficial "museum" spaces, largely in rooms or basements of other buildings.

Now the Galena Historic Foundation Museum has its most stable space yet, housed in Galena Village Hall, 109 Harrison St. Bland said the new space has "more of a permanent look" and displays the items he's been keeping in his house for years.

Bland said he's always dreamed of a dedicated space but never fully expected it.

"In the back of my mind, I was hoping," he said. "I even toyed with the idea of having it in or around my house somewhere at one point."

"But I'm glad that didn't pan out," he said with a laugh.

Bland said the museum commemorates three main facets of Galena history.

The main exhibits relate to the railroad that was torn down in the 1950s, the brickyard that was the main employer in the village until it closed in the 1980s, and Delaware County Bank, which is now First Commonwealth Bank.

Within the museum are pictures and models of the railroad, displaced bricks from the brickyard and an old safe from the bank.

Although Bland's collection is a large part of the museum, he said, he's been pleasantly surprised with how many people have come out of the woodwork with items to contribute. He said he's heard from several people who have their own collections.

"It's amazing when people find out that they can give us things that will be kept in the village," he said. "They're all for it."

The Galena Historic Foundation's meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month at Galena Village Hall. The group is always looking for new members.

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