STRASBURG – The Strasburg Museum will unveil its restored Miller Family Bible exhibit when the museum opens up in May.
Gloria Stickley, president of the Strasburg Museum, said the museum board had discussed restoring the Bible for a long time.
“Part of the board and some of the community members said ‘Oh no, don’t touch it. Leave it the way it is. We don’t want to change anything,’” she said. “The idea wasn’t to change it to look new. It was to keep it together so it wouldn’t deteriorate more.”
Stickley said the museum reached out to Cat Tail Run Hand Bookbinding in Winchester last year to work on the Bible. She said that the restoration cost $4,120, an amount split between the museum and the Heritage Association.
“We worked really well with [the museum] on other projects in the past,” said Tim Taylor, president of the Strasburg Heritage Association. “We have people on our board that also sit on the museum board, so that’s a good relationship. We work really well together when it comes to preserving history.”
The Bible, a 1739 German Folio Bible that belonged to the family of George Miller, has a history behind it. The Miller family was brutally murdered by a neighbor and nine Native Americans. As the Miller’s home was being burned down, the family’s cat was killed and thrown on top of the Bible. When it was found later, the dead cat had kept all but 14 pages of the Bible from being burned.
The Bible was given as a gift to First Bank in 1969 by John Miller, a direct descendant of the Miller family. Stickley said that the bank let the Strasburg Museum have the Bible to display after the museum opened in the early 1970s. First Bank transferred ownership of the Bible to the museum in 2013.
“[The bank] houses it in the off-season when we’re not open,” Taylor said. “This building isn’t climate-controlled.”
Stickley said that, aside from the restored Bible, the museum recently put up a small Vietnam War exhibit in the larger “war” exhibit.
“There was a veteran that came in this summer and stood back there,” she said. “It was the only thing he wanted to look at. He wrote a note saying when he saw the exhibit, it brought tears to his eyes. It helped him relive his experiences over again from him serving in Vietnam.”
Taylor said that, between the museum and the Heritage Association, there are always new historical items coming in.
“We always try to put out new displays as often as we can,” Taylor said. “We have stuff always coming to us.”
The Strasburg Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily starting Wednesday and stay open through October.