The Collins Pine Museum, opened to the public in May 2007, was constructed to look like a miniature version of the sawmill that was operated by Collins Pine Company in Chester from 1943 to 2002, after which a new state-of-the-art sawmill replaced the original in 2003.
Terry Collins, co-owner of the sawmill, board member and museum curator, said the purpose of the Collins Pine Museum is to develop exhibits on lumbering, forestry and principles of sustainability.
There’s an interactive panel on wood identification that depicts samples of the various tree species that are processed locally at the sawmill in Chester.
A small theater room is set up so that when people enter, a documentary starts explaining the importance of sustainable forestry.
Next to the museum in an outdoor area are a number of decommissioned trucks and other innovative vehicles that were used by Collins in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s for visitors to view.
Also on display outside is a 400-year-old sugar pine tree cross-section with dates in American history going back to the Jamestown colony around 1620.
The sawmill’s operations, from cutting down trees in the 90,000-acre Collins-Almanor Forest, provides around 75 percent of the company’s productive capacity. Collins said, “We built the museum because we thought people would be interested in the history of the Chester sawmill, and also appreciate how wood is processed and how we manage our forests.”
Located at 500 Main St., on Collins Road, in Chester, the Collins Pine Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., until mid-October.