One of the things I really enjoy doing is exploring history museums.

 

It is in the museums that you find pieces of yourself, or pieces of those who came before you.

 

As I wander through the local historical societies I notice what each town chooses to hold onto.

 

If you ever have a yearning to see how far your town has come you must visit its history.

 

As a reporter I have been inside nearly all of our surrounding history museums at some point.

 

However, as I went into the Cohocton Historical Society I was struck by how much of its youth it keeps behind glass.

 

In this museum you will find sports trophies, yearbooks, class photos, sports photos, school colors, and the feeling that the town’s pride is centered around its young people.

 

I believe about 90 percent of that museum is dedicated to the young girls and boys who won championships, won battles, and made a big difference in their small town.

 

It gets you thinking about what these students must have been going through, and if they knew they would one day be memorialized in their local museum.

 

I am reminded that when archaeologists uncover lost civilizations they find stories and artifacts that explain the world these people lived in.

 

Maybe that is the whole point?

 

Maybe these students were thinking the same thing every teenager thinks.

 

Maybe they were just trying to figure out what is the point of winning the game, going to prom, being popular, and taking those classes was all about.

 

Maybe they tried to make sense of their lives, their worlds, and their tragedies just like the rest of us.

 

It is a beautiful thing to look at a school photo and have a universal feeling that these teenagers in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and on are just like you and me.

 

They are all just trying to find their way, their place, themselves in the chaos of wars, depressions, movements, and trying to fit in.

 

Someday when you become the past and your accomplishments are put behind glass in your local history museums you will know that those moments mattered.

 

You will know that there was a point to all of this.

 

This is what I got out of a stroll through the Cohocton Historical Society during the Cohocton Fall Foliage.

 

I got this same feeling walking through Wayland, Dansville, and Nunda historical societies. There is a sense of dedication that comes with keeping those stories alive, and maybe some of those stories are yours.

 

As a reporter I like to think that my stories matter, and that I make a difference in the towns that trust me to tell them.

 

As a storyteller I have left my own bread crumb trail of stories that will one day be lost, or kept behind glass in some museum.

 

As a keeper of history I look forward to exploring as many of these museums as I can.

 (Jasmine Willis is a reporter at Genesee Country Express)