Through an extensive inventory including artifacts from the Schuylkill Navigation Company and the Hiester Boatyard, the C. Howard Hiester Canal Center presents a coherent story of canal transportation. It displays this country's early growth and specifically the important contribution the canal system made to the history of Berks County
. Mr. Hiester gathered as many artifacts and representative items as possible from that section of the Schuylkill Canal between Reading
. He accumulated a wealth of memorabilia that might otherwise have been lost. This included the houseboat "Mildred," which plied the Schuylkill Canal between Reading
and Philadelphia, a toll collection booth, and a pilot house from the tugboat "Dolphin." The end result was that Mr. Hiester had aquired the largest private collection of 19th century canal memorabilia in America.