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Girl's love for pennies inspires museum machine

Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-24 17:07:09-04

GREENFIELD, Ind. – A 13-year-old girl has completely thrown out the idea that pennies are useless by turning them into a treasured memory for Greenfield residents.

Eighth-grader Avery Spencer’s hobby is what led her to bringing a big new feature to her town.

“I’ve been collecting (pennies) for as long as I can remember,” she said. “Every time we go on vacation, we find them.”

She and her family take the pennies to the machines that crush or pinch pennies, and that got her thinking.

“A lot of big national places have them, and I thought Greenfield needed one because of James Whitcomb Riley,” she said.

The author and poet grew up in Greenfield. Putting a penny-pinching machine in the museum dedicated to him sounded like a great idea to Avery’s dad, David.

“I loved her perspective of: ‘Greenfield has a lot to celebrate – why don’t we highlight that?’” David said.

He loved it so much he used over $4,000 of his own money to make it happen, bringing a penny-crushing machine to the James Whitcomb Riley Museum. One turn at a time, it’s making money.

“Extraordinary. I think it’s a dream that we always wanted something like this, and we could never afford it,” James Whitcomb Riley Museum hostess Gwen Betor said. “So this is really special.”

Watch our video in the player above for more, and don’t forget to have fun with the machine at Riley Fest in Greenfield from Oct. 1-4.

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