Bob Kasayka was animated as he showed off newspapers from some of the world’s most important days.
“One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind” screamed the banner of a July 21, 1969, edition of The Cleveland Press in triumphant red.
Another bore far worse news. “We mourn 7 heroes” The Plain Dealer’s front page on Jan. 29, 1986, after the Challenger space shuttle exploded on liftoff, killing seven crew members.
Others marked days that will live in infamy — from 1942, a vote by Congress to enter the fray of World War II, and from 2001, too fresh still in hearts and minds, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
“They were in a box in the basement,” Kasayka said, running his hands over the yellowed pages.
Many such home treasures were shown Sunday afternoon at a historical “pop-up” museum at the First Church in Oberlin.
The event was co-sponsored by the Oberlin Heritage Center and Oberlin African American Genealogy and History Group.
It invited residents to become curators for a day by displaying their keepsakes and heirlooms with the theme “Older Than I Am.”
The idea: Not every artifact has to be unearthed in a pyramid, painted by Monet, or worn by the emperors of China to have value.
Some are passed down and have great personal value, such as a Swiss-made cylinder music box owned by Bethany Hobbs’ great-grandparents. Dating to the late 1800s, it tinkled away on a table, the silvery sounds drawing curious museum-goers.
Some treasures are discovered by accident, as Nancy Harper can tell you — when she bought a new home in 1996, she found a 1950 Roy Rogers comic book.
And some are objects of family pride. Laurel Price-Jones displayed a World War II naval aviator flight suit and leather helmet worn in the Pacific theater by her father, William Galbraith.
Other interesting entries included a 1946 Underwood typewriter, a poster hawking war bonds, a 1943 General Electric patent for a gaseous discharge lamp, and an early 1900s beer stein painted with images of dancing German villagers.