Yes, the museum has a real (but not quite operational) tank out front. Ken Eaton wrote a letter to the US Army requesting a M-60 main battle tank and eventually it was delivered to his front yard on Clinton Street in Homer, since the Homeville Museum was then in his home. Moving it to the CNY Living History Center in 2012 did take a little help and a lot of coordination!
One of the largest exhibits, and at the very center of the Homeville Museum, is the Civil War Collection.
One item in this section is a knapsack used by a soldier in the 76th Regiment New York State Infantry, Company B (The Cortland Regiment).
Col. Nelson Green, of Cortland, received authority to recruit a regiment of infantry in Cortland County and started recruiting in September 1861, also drawing men from surrounding counties. The regiment was mustered into service on January 16, 1862. They were involved in several famous battles, including Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg.
The collection also includes a Civil-War era quilt that was confiscated from a Confederate home in Columbia, SC by Captain Harrison Marvin of Dryden, NY while on the March from Atlanta to the Sea and on north through the Carolinas with General Sherman’s Army. Captain Marvin was mustered into service on Oct. 8, 1862, and was in command of Company I, 143rd Infantry. He saw action in such battles as Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Kennesaw Mountain, Culpepper Farm, Atlanta, and Savannah. His niece, Mrs. Amos Rolfe, donated this quilt to Ken Eaton’s collection in 1962.
The Homefront section of the Civil War display includes a Civil War era dress and cage crinoline, also known as a hoop skirt. The wearing of a crinoline was a fashion that was adopted by all classes and worn by both women and young girls. The display also includes a valentine, handmade by Harry Aldridge for his wife while he was in a Washington hospital during the war and a Confederate chintz cloth banner.
Other sections within the Civil War exhibit focus on the Union and Confederate Armies, and Slavery & the Underground Railroad.
Also, currently on loan from Mr. Roy Crandall, is this 1912 Ford Model-T Canopy Express Military Vehicle (Ambulance). The ambulance’s light weight made it well suited for use on the muddy and shell-torn roads in forward combat areas. By Nov 1, 1918, 4,362 Model T ambulances had been shipped overseas. Postcards featuring this ambulance are available in the museum gift shop.
In addition to collection US military equipment, Ken Eaton also collected Japanese and German artifacts, plus some from our allies.
We have two particularly interesting British items. Pictured to the left is a World War II British BSA Airborne Folding Bicycle. This bicycle was designed to be folded in half and carried by a paratrooper as he jumped out of his aircraft. Folding bicycles were used by British and Canadian forces during the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.
Pictured right is a World War II British Army PIAT (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank). There are only five of these known to be located in the United States…the other four are at: Smithsonian Institution; West Point Museum; NYS Police Museum; Rock Island Arsenal Museum.
In addition to the 1968 M60A3 Battle Tank in the outside display area and the ambulance currently on loan, we also have a 1952 Army Willys Cannon Jeep and trailer (pictured below) and a 1952 Korean War “Deuce and a Half” Army Cargo Truck.