Capital campaign to be announced for Mifflinburg Buggy Museum

Leanne Keefer Bechdel, Mifflinburg Buggy Museum vice president, and Peter Gardner, president, chaired the annual meeting at which the need for money and volunteers were discussed.

MIFFLINBURG — Officials of the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum, strapped for funds and volunteers, said a capital campaign was on the horizon.

Dave Holman, grants and funding representative, told the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum annual meeting that he would run the campaign, which would formally be announced after Labor Day.

“I am going to be sending a letter out to a local foundation to see if we can’t get a challenge grant opportunity,” Dolman said. “Joanne Troutman, president of the (Greater Susquehanna Valley) United Way, is going to help me organize that in her spare time. She lives in Mifflinburg and has been a big help.”

Holman credited Troutman for working with members already, and added the museum’s situation required thinking big.

“We really need a capital campaign,” Holman told the gathering of about 20 members and others. “We can’t continue to spend funds. We need to have an endowment that kicks out enough interest to run at least a lot of our expenses.”

Holman noted energy costs could be reduced and has applied through a grant through the First Community Foundation Partnership (FCFP) of Pennsylvania. It could cover a new heat pump and more efficient lighting. He said doorways could also be more energy efficient.

Holman said the FCFP grant was unrestricted, and only about $30,000 would be available. He had applied for about $8,900 but noted that virtually every nonprofit in the region probably applied as well.

“Whether we do or do not receive a challenge grant, we are going to have to have a capital campaign or we just are not gong to make money to go forward,” Holman said. “We are now coming up with some names for first-, second- and third-tier individuals who we think can give more money.”

Holman said a fundraiser was in the works for October at the Rusty Rail Brewing Company. The brewing company planned to make four barrels of beer and host a fundraising party. The date was still to be determined. Holman acknowledged that the Rusty Rail was community minded and their facility was a former buggy factory.

Leanne Keefer Bechdel, vice president, added that the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution also had DAR grant money available.

Bechdel and Len Manbeck, board member, said a vehicle would be displayed at the Vintage Iron Club Fall Festival and Tractor Pulls from Friday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Sept. 15 at Union County West End Fairgrounds, Laurelton. Volunteers were needed for a booth at the fairgrounds would sell museum gift shop items.

Bechdel said volunteers were also needed back at the museum and visitor’s center.

Gordie Klingaman, who returned as a board member, said the Buggy Museum was at a critical position in its history.

“We are standing at the point where we could make it or break it,” Klingaman said. “We need volunteers desperately. If I have to step off the board to be a volunteer, I will.”

Klingaman, three-term board president, said there was much to be done and done well.

“They haven’t been done well, but that is all in the past. It’s done (and) over,” he added. “The future is what we are working for.”

Klingaman credited current volunteers but said promotion of a fund raising garden tour could have been started already. He later pleaded that signage around Mifflinburg needed to be refreshed. A teacher attending the meeting offered to have his students take on the project.

The Mifflinburg Buggy Museum, open Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. from the first Saturday in April to the last Sunday in October, and its Visitor’s Center is located at 598 Green Street in Mifflinburg. The museum encompasses several buildings and shops essential to the history of the horse-drawn buggy in America.

Visit, the museum Facebook page, email or call 570-966-1355 for more information.

Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at

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