Fenton History Center To Hold 50th Anniversary Gala

Travel back in time to 1963 by supporting the Fenton History Center.

On Thursday, the Fenton History Center’s 50th anniversary gala will be held at the Lillian V. Ney Renaissance Center, 119 W. Third St., Jamestown. The event starts at 6 p.m. and will feature guest speaker Richard Aquila of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College who will present ”The Night Has a Thousand Eyes: Memories of 1963 through Rock & Roll.” Joni Blackman, Fenton History Center director, said Aquila uses a lot of music and visuals in his presentation.

”He is quite a lively talker. He is very interesting to listen to as he talks about trends set to music from 1963. He will discuss things that happened during that time and afterwards as the country went through changes and turmoil during that time period,” she said. ”The whole night is meant to be fun and invigorating. It will not be a talk with a long list of names and dates. There will be a jukebox in the background, and we’re asking people to dress in attire from the 1960s.”

Blackman said there will also be a discussion of future plans for the Fenton History Center. A renovation project is underway to redesign the first floor of the Fenton Mansion, located at 67 Washington St., Jamestown.

”It is to build tourism for one thing, and to better educate tourists and the visitors about Jamestown’s history,” she said. ”Right now, you can get through the whole museum and not really know when key things happened. There is a professional team doing the exhibit, they’re from Buffalo, that has a timeline that will really help people understand how the city came about, how it grew and how it has changed.”

Blackman said the new exhibit will be a chance to show unique artifacts that have not been shown before. She also said the exhibit will be more user-friendly, with iPad interaction.

Blackman said she believes the Fenton History Center has reached this milestone because it is important to hold on to the past.

”Well personally, I can see they trust us, No. 1, for good information. They call on us for genealogy. They call us about how to restore something or how to fix something the best way. I think we are well respected.” she said. ” Most young people don’t have a sense or need to save history or think about it. It is only when they have reached a point in their life when you have things you want to pass on that you realize you need to take care of it and, next, where it will go when you pass on. That is when we come to their mind, too.”

The anniversary celebration will have a buffet dinner catered by Miley’s Old Inn, 845 E. Second St., Jamestown. For more information, call 664-6256 or visit www.fentonhistorycenter.org.