Exhibitions

Explore exhibitions about industries at West Overton and the history of Pennsylvania whiskey in our Museum, located in the former distillery and gristmill built in 1859.

Visit and Explore

Forging Ahead and Falling Behind 

Forging Ahead and Falling Behind: Industrial Growth in a Rural Community explores transformations in agriculture, industry, and labor through stories of individual workers at West Overton.

From the early 19th to early 20th centuries, hundreds of people lived and worked at West Overton. These workers experienced firsthand the challenges and opportunities of the Industrial Revolution. New technologies and expanded facilities increased efficiency, but at the cost of jobs, new workplace dangers, and damage to the environment. Explore the nuanced ways these changes affected a variety of workers, including farmers, millers, distillers, coopers, weavers, homemakers, store owners, and coal miners.  

This exhibition, winner of a 2023 Award of Excellence from the American Association for State and Local History, is an immersive way to discover how industry has changed over time and reflect upon our experiences with modern social and economic change.

  • Discover the variety of trades and crafts that made West Overton the most profitable farm in East Huntingdon Township.
  • Find the many ways distinct trades and industries were interconnected and relied on each other for success.

  • How does rye become whiskey? How does a gristmill work? What tools were needed to weave intricate coverlets? Explore the processes of production and the skills required to work in different industries.

  • Try your hand at interactives like the hand-operated washing machine and agricultural fanning mill.

  • View a 300,000 lb. capacity grain bin that stored grain for the distillery and gristmill.

  • Step inside Christian Overholt’s recreated general store and discover how small businesses operated in the 19th century. 

  • See the newly restored coal wagon that represents West Overton’s venture into the coal and coke industry.

Sam Komlenic Gallery

See the largest publicly accessible collection of artifacts related to Pennsylvania's history of whiskey production. Pennsylvania was known for rye whiskey, especially Monongahela rye produced in the Monongahela Valley in the southwestern part of the state.

Explore an impressive display of 250+ whiskey bottles from the late 19th to mid 20th centuries. The bottles represent some of the most successful Pennsylvania distilling companies and whiskey brands.

In addition to the bottle display, explore a variety of artifacts including historic barrels, crates, advertisements, signage, and memorabilia such as branded playing cards and matchbooks. With more than 450 artifacts in total on display, the Sam Komlenic Gallery is a must-see destination to celebrate the history of whiskey in Pennsylvania.

The Sam Komlenic Gallery is located in the new Whiskey Heritage Center of our Museum, the former distillery building at West Overton built in 1859.

Visiting the Museum

The Museum is a self-guided experience. Groups of 10+ can arrange guided tours of exhibition. 

Visit during our open hours, May - October, with regular admission.

See More Artifacts in Our Digital Archive

Explore more than 400 artifacts made publicly available for research and educational purposes thanks to our partnership with University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.