"Many people who have previously lived here have donated items to the museum," Carbon Town Board President Josephine Rightsell said about the display that tells a personal history of the town. "We are always accepting items to be added to our collection."
Many of the current items on display date back to the origins of the town.
Founded in 1870 when the Big Four Railroad went through the northern part of Clay County, Carbon was a hub for many businesses, coalmines and clay plants located near the train station.
According to the town history and many pictures on display, the population quickly bloomed to approximately 1,000 residents and was reported to have 13 saloons on the east side of Main Street. At one point, the town earned a reputation as being a place where "no decent woman" would be caught walking on that side of the street.
The highlight of the collection -- a reconditioned 1875 horse-drawn chemical pumper engine -- is an item Rightsell said other museums and collectors would like to have.
"We have been offered a lot for it," she said about the rare engine reconditioned by Warren Akers and John Summers in 1955 for the town. "It has all the original copper still on it, but the town will not sell it."
The engine is a reminder of a fire that almost destroyed the town on March 25, 1905.
A spark from a passing passenger train landed on the roof of Bauman's Saloon and started a fire that destroyed 36 homes and 25 businesses within 2 1/2 hours.
Front pages of local newspapers at the time showcase other major events and tragedies of Carbon's histories.
Other items showcase various groups and organizations local residents participated in.
"A ladies' quilting club donated the first quilt they made out of flour sacks," Rightsell said, adding that the small group of local women still meets regularly.
Even the building, which houses the museum and the Town Hall, is part of Carbon's history. The eight-room schoolhouse, built in the early 1900s, closed when Van Buren Elementary was built in 1963.
Although currently closed for the winter to keep costs down, Rightsell said several repairs, including the roof, are being completed at the Carbon Museum.
"We are looking forward to a spring opening, sometime in May. We usually open between 2-4 p.m. on Sundays," Rightsell said. "But we will open anytime for special tours, if anyone is interested."
To arrange a tour or donate an item to the museum, contact Rightsell at 448-8324.