Dream Drives: Richard Wall House Museum

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Visiting each decorated room of the Richard Wall House Museum in Elkins Park, Cheltenham Township is like walking onto a theater set.

When you go to this museum, you are walking on land granted by William Penn himself.

“This house is so historic,” said Jack Washington of the Cheltenham Township Historical Society. “It goes back to 1682 and the first settlers in Cheltenham Township.”

This house was a residence for more than 200 years. The township loved it so much, it acquired the building in the 1930s, and in 1993 made it a museum showcasing the life of early Pennsylvania.

“Each room has pretty much a period architecture to it, and every room has a story that goes behind it,” Washington said, “plus it also is a collection of things that are indigenous to Cheltenham Township.”

The colonial kitchen “is probably one of the most original parts of the whole house,” Washington said. “Over here we have a bake oven. The table has a setting on it, a little idea of what colonial people would have been eating.”

Another room is decked out in 1920s finery, from the furniture to the radio to the dresses and shoes. Yet another room commemorates American military history from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam.

Tom Wieckowski of the Cheltenham Township Historical Society showed us the library, where the media collection is as old as the Civil War, or as recent as fax machines and corded phones.

“They didn’t have Instagram and Twitter and Facebook back then,” CBS3’s Meisha Johnson said.

“I am always amazed by what these people accomplished without being on the telephone all the time, not having cell phones, not having email,” Wieckowski said.

You can also step into an authentic child’s room from the 1760s. This is called the Playroom. The crown jewel is the intricate dollhouse, built around 1915 complete with a tiny electric train.

“Every room you walk into, you literally feel like you’re walking into history,” Meisha said. “It’s set up so perfectly. It’s like theater.”

“Thank you,” Wieckowski said. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish. We’re trying to demonstrate the whole range of history.”

The Richard Wall House Museum is open to the public the fourth Sunday of every month. You can see it for yourself Sunday, March 26, 2017 from noon to 4:00pm. You can also book your own private tour by appointment.

The Richard Wall House Museum is at 1 Wall Park Drive, Elkins Park, PA 19027.

www.cheltenhamtownship.org/pview.aspx?id=3593&catID=26

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