Did you ever have the chance to go through your grandparents' attic as a child, rummage through the flotsam and jetsam of their lives, wonder at the old things, some grand, some odd or curious?
If you did, do you remember thinking to yourself as you opened an old steamer trunk that you were peering back in time, that if you could let your imagination go, you could experience that time?
You might think of the Wilder Museum in Irvine as Warren County's attic, filled to brimming with memories of the rich history of this county. There are the simple things, long forgotten, like the two-person vacuum cleaner from the Irvine-Newbold Estate, the ancient things like the native American artifacts dating back thousands of years, the special beauty in the craftsmanship of antique firearms.
The Wilder Museum is not someplace many people think about much. But, they should think about it some.
It's a treasure trove of important things. They're important because they tell our story. They talk about who we are, because they portray our community from beginning to now and all the big things and little things in between.
Warren County, or any community, can be best understood by examining its birth, its growth and its maturity.
In "The Tempest," William Shakespeare offers a lesson on the past and why it should concern us when Antonio says "what's past is prologue," maintaining that the past sets the stage for what happens now and in the future. The phrase is also engraved on the pedestal holding the statue of "Future" outside the National Archives in Washington, part of the nation's attic.
If you have never visited the Wilder Museum, treat yourself. Go with a sense of curiosity, and leave with a better sense of how this community grew and the people who shaped it.