Fort Bissell Museum


The old school bell signals it is time to start learning at the Fort Bissell Museum in Phillipsburg. Named after a fort in the area, the buildings at the museum provide a living history of days gone by.
"People think that we're just a small museum but they change their opinions after they come in and see all the things that we have," said curator Jane Whitney.
The old fort was built on the land of John Bissell in 1872 as a way to protect settlers in the area. It ended up never being attacked and was eventually torn down. In 1962, the museum was dedicated to the historic fort and all the residents of Phillips County.
"They are able to take ownership of the museum, knowing that some of their heritage is on display here everyday," said volunteer Connie Cox.
Members of the Phillipsburg High School band built the sod house in 1970 to pay for a trip to the Orange Bowl. A gun display dating back to 1774 and a collection of nearly every kind of pencil imaginable keep visitors in awe. The Veteran's Room, the museum's newest addition, pays tribute to all those who served from the Civil War to now.
"Some of it is pretty exciting, they like to guess what things are."
Many visitors come to see the mercantile, depot, two log cabins, sod house, and one room school.
Every year in May, they hold class in the building.
"They get to sit in the desks and I hand them a slate and piece of chalk and say here's your computer."
The technology and times change through the years but it's important to take a look back with every ring of the bell.
Admission to the museum is free. They're planning to host a Johnny Appleseed Day on September 25, 2010.