History of the Homeville Museum

Ken Eaton purchased a Civil War rifle when he was a teenager and wanted to find out more about its past. The more he read about the Civil War, the more his interest grew. This simple pursuit of knowledge sparked a lifelong passion for history and the artifacts that go along with it.

He started going to auctions and estate sales and collecting the items that interested him. In the beginning, those items revolved around the Civil War. His collection grew from one small gun cabinet into two rooms of Civil War items displayed in the basement of his home. As his collection continued to grow, his interest in related items developed. His hobby branched out into collecting military items from World War I and World War II. Soon, his collection was spreading throughout his home. He started looking for a bigger house to live in with space to display all his items and share them with the public. He found the perfect location on Clinton Street in Homer and, after three years of renovations, he opened the Homeville Museum to the public on July 4, 1976, our nation’s Bicentennial. By then, the collection had expanded enough to fill twelve rooms in the new house and included model trains and local history items. He chose the name “Homeville” for his museum from the book David Harum, which was based on a banker from Homer named David Hannum.

For the next 30 years, until his death in 2006, he shared his museum with thousands of people including school groups, community members and organizations, state and national leaders, and even visitors from foreign countries. He never charged an admission fee. His motivation was his love of history and his desire to share his passion and knowledge, hoping to inspire others to treasure our nation’s history as he did.

Ken’s wish was that the Homeville Museum would survive him and stay in this area for the public to continue to appreciate and enjoy.