NORWICH – Like many 11-year-olds, John Antonowicz doesn’t want the summer to end and school to begin.
Not because he’d rather be having fun than learning. On the contrary. It’s because he’s devoted his break to doing both – and teaching others, too.
Antonowicz, of Norwich, is one of three youth volunteers at the Chenango County Historical Society Museum on Rexford Street in Norwich, where he spends around 21 hours a week conducting research and restoring exhibits. The junior curator/historian got the job after taking a trip to the museum with his grandmother.
“I’m interested old in industries in the area,” Antonowicz said. “I went to the museum and they didn’t have any exhibits on the industries that had a significant impact on the area.”
After talking with county Historian Dale Storms, museum officials asked John if he’d like to officially explore the subject with them. Six weeks later, W.H. Dunne, The Norwich Pharmacal Company, Maydole Hammer, and the Berglas toilet seat factory are four of the 24 one-time Norwich manufacturers Antonowicz has compiled information on – and can recite from memory, rattling names, dates and important highlights in each company’s history.