Night at the Museums

By on April 22, 2019
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A premiere event joins six institutions in honoring local history

The 2006 movie, Night at the Museum, was one of a trilogy about the chaos and comedy that take place when statues in a museum come to life overnight. An old Egyptian stone in the collection keeps the characters alive until dawn.

The “Night at the Museums” program in the Brockport area will bring five museums alive on May 4 as they all hold an open house at the same time. Open that Saturday night from 5 to 8:30 p.m., area citizens may visit any or all of the museums as they choose. Light refreshments will be served at each location and tours will be available.

The event celebrates the rich history of the Brockport area plus the devoted people who maintain and manage the museums with their unique collections. From the northern point in Clarkson to a few miles south of the Village, Route 19 becomes a convenient corridor with easy access to the museums along the way: a school house, a family mansion, another family mansion, a firehouse, and a farmer’s museum.

One museum you cannot visit is the Brockport Community Museum (BCM), because it is a “Museum Without Walls.” You cannot visit it physically, only in cyberspace. However, the BCM is very active in support of local history.

The alphabetical list below gives a brief description plus the address for each museum. For more information, you may phone Sue Savard who is coordinating this project at 637-2317.

Brockport Community Museum

online at www.brockportcommunitymuseum.org

The Brockport Community Museum is a “Museum Without Walls” that brings local history into the community with nine exhibit cases and ten interpretive panels located throughout the community. It also has an extensive website (www.brockportcommunitymuseum.org) that actively supports other local history societies and groups as well as its own interests. Museum members are also involved in a history marker renovation program, and with special exhibits. The museum encourages members of the community to become involved through its “Friends” program.

Capen Hose House Co. No.4and Fire Museum

237 Main Street South, Brockport

Capen Hose firehouse was constructed in 1905 to provide fire protection to the community and is now a firefighting museum. It houses a collection of early Brockport firefighting apparatus and equipment dating back to the late 1800s. There is an early working fire alarm system, a firehouse slide pole, other firefighting apparatus, uniforms, badges and ribbons worn by firefighters from years past. A Firefighters Memorial Monument in front of the museum honors firefighters who perished in the September 11, 2001 tragedy.

Clarkson Academy

8343 Ridge Road (Route 104) just east of Route 19, Clarkson

Clarkson Academy was built circa 1854. The vacated building was dilapidated in 2003 when the Clarkson Historical Society began a decade of restoration work. In 2013 the newly-restored building became a community center and a unique facility for teaching local school children in the period setting, complete with vintage desks and blackboards. Over 1,000 fourth graders have visited the second-floor schoolroom as part of the New York State curriculum on local history. Their main emphasis has been on teaching cursive handwriting in Summer Camp sessions.

Emily L. Knapp Museum of Local History

49 State Street, Brockport

Located in the former home of the Seymour family, the museum opened its doors in 1945. Friends and Seymour relatives, plus area residents, had donated family treasures and records which had filled “Memory Rooms,” as they were called. To meet the need for order, volunteers have worked diligently over the past seven years to restore and update the museum’s displays and to catalog documents and pictures. The museum has expanded to two floors containing fifteen fascinating display areas and two small offices.

Morgan-Manning House

151 Main Street, Brockport

Built circa 1855, this 20-room Victorian house was the main residence of D.S. Morgan and his family, and is now fully restored in the style of the period. The house remained in the Morgan family until 1964, when a fire took the life of D.S. Morgan’s daughter, Sara Morgan Manning, who had returned to her childhood home. She had bequeathed her home so it “would stand forever as a monument to the fine old traditions that are so important to our heritage.”

Town of Sweden Farmers Museum

4988 Lake Road South, Brockport

The Sweden Farmers Museum was created in 2005 featuring the caretaker’s house at Lakeview Cemetery and the nearby barn. The house and the barn have been restored to celebrate Sweden’s history of agriculture. Many farm implements and household appliances have been donated so visitors can actually experience how farmers worked and lived in the 1890s and early 1900s. The Museum is open on Sunday afternoons during the summer but tours can be scheduled by calling the Town office.

(Many thanks to Sue Savard at Emily L. Knapp Museum of Local History, and Norm Frisch, Brockport Community Museum for their helpful resources. DH)

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