Museum Displays Classic History
"Whenever I see an ice cream scoop, I buy a scoop," he admitted. "You never know when you might need one."
That's the mentality at Crane's: never sell anything.
"What would I do with the money? Then, they look at you kind of funny. I say, 'I sell it and get your money, then I spend that money. Then I don't have my stuff or the money, so why would I sell it?'"
Crane buys his treasures at auctions, never on the World Wide Web.
"I have about a 90-mile radius that I run in," he explained.
Fellow pack rats also give him things, such as license plates as old as 1916. Looking for museum treasures is a full-time hobby, one Crane's wife Marlene said keeps him going.
"When you go home and sit in your rocking chair, you die," she added.
Joe's museum is in the same building as Marlene's restaurant and ice cream shop.
"Joe always said he was going to put my name in lights without my consent," she recalled. "I came down here and there it was."
The museum and restaurant manager, Jan Gray, said, "We get a lot of highway traffic from the name on the sign. They assumed that Marlene's Restaurant is a local, home-cooked atmosphere with good food and clean. And we are."
Before the Cranes built their museum and restaurant two years ago, their customers got their antique fix and meals from the country store.
"One meat, one cheese, one dollar," said Joe. "We're not making any money, but we're hoping to make friends."
The store has just as much nostalgia as the museum. You can even buy groceries the old-fashioned way.
"We still do the old charges. Pay by the month, some months, or some never pay," Joe said.
The Cranes take you back in time, whether at the store or in the museum and restaurant.
"We hope that everybody understands that we wish to leave this to the community as a part of their history," Marlene explained.
The moral of this story? Never throw anything away. You never know when you might need it. And if you can't find a place for it?
"This is the place to come," said Joe.
The museum admission fee is $5, which is good for one year.