Penn State Fayette's Coal and Coke Heritage Center opens holiday exhibit

'Coal Town Holiday Traditions' will be open to the public from Dec 2 to 20, and Jan 9 to 31.
Coal Town Holiday Traditions

A selection of materials from "Coal Town Holiday Traditions," a seasonal exhibit at Penn State Fayette's Coal and Coke Heritage Center.

Credit: Penn State Fayette

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — The Coal and Coke Heritage Center at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, will offer a seasonal exhibit, “Coal Town Holiday Traditions featuring A War Time Christmas,” from Dec. 2 to 20, and from Jan. 9 to 31.

The exhibit highlights the history of the Connellsville Coke Region, which became a booming industrial area and a melting pot of cultural traditions in the mid- to late-1800s. The majority of the community’s residents were Slovakian, Polish and Italian, among other nationalities, and most practiced Catholicism.

“Christmas has a rich history of traditions carried down through generations,” said Amanda Peters, the Coal and Coke Heritage Center archivist. “In the exhibit, you will see many similarities between each ethnic holiday tradition.”

The exhibit will also feature “A War Time Christmas,” an exploration of the effects of World War II on the holidays on the home front.

“The morning of Dec. 7, 1941, changed everything in America, including preparations for and celebrations of Christmas,” said Peters. “Restrictions on products and food caused traditions to be altered and gifts to be limited.”

Located in the lower level of the campus library, the exhibit will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The community also is invited to attend an Dec. 9 Open House event, from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. and from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.