MILFORD - On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the temporary exhibit room at The Columns will open with a showing of the early 1900 photographs taken by Frank E. Schoonover.

Schoonover, who studied under Howard Pyle, would become one of the greatest illustrators of all time, his work spanning over sixty years and encompassing approximately 2,200 illustrations for over 130 books and many of the popular magazines and periodicals of the day.  He also completed over 300 landscapes of the Brandywine and Delaware river valleys, primarily after 1930 when he spent much time at his family home in Bushkill, Pa.

The focus of the exhibit is the photographs taken by Schoonover between 1900-1912 of the Breaker Boys who labored in the Scranton coal mines, girls who worked in the silk mills and a mix of other photos depicting scenes in and around our area.  Schoonover was known for submerging himself into the environment which he was photographing.  He spent time living with a coal mining family; and when asked to provide the illustrations inspired by his photographs of the boys, he opted to do them in charcoal as a poignant tribute to the oppressed life in the mines which these boys, and their families, experienced.

The exhibit comes to us from the Schoonover Studios in Wilmington, Delaware where Schoonover's grandson John keeps the spirit of Frank E. Schoonover alive.  The studio is the very same one that Frank Schoonover opened in 1900 and a visit to the studio on Rodney Street shows it still looks very much the same as it did when Frank occupied it.  His work smocks still hanging on the door, paint pallets lying around, snow shoes and other items used in his travels for his work still displayed, proudly.

The exhibit, to be unveiled on November 18th, will be up through January, and the museum will offer a showing of a documentary about Schoonover on Sunday November 26th at 3 p.m.  There will also be a grand opening reception on Friday December 1st at 7 p.m.  John Schoonover will be the guest of honor and he will be bringing along a few of his grandfather's rare paintings, most of which have found their way to the Delaware Art Museum, which Frank Schoonover co-founded, and private collections.

The Columns is located at 608 Broad St., Milford. Their regular museum hours are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.  They would be happy to accommodate requests for small groups to visit, have lunch and watch the documentary.  Please call 570-296-8126 to schedule, or email pikemuse@ptd.net.

The Pike County Historical Society and Museum is a non-profit organization focused on maintaining the goals of our mission statement by offering historical and educational programming and fostering the history of Pike County, and beyond.