Our next program is coming up on October 8th – The History of Camp Smith. Please join us and afterwards, if you haven’t yet checked out our exhibit on 70 Years of the Putnam Valley Volunteer Fire Department, stop by the museum as the 8th is the last day it will be on display.
What do we do at the museum? What do we have there? Of course, we’ll tell you about all the cool things we have with much enthusiasm, but many people don’t get why we love it.
Our main room is where the seasonal exhibit is displayed, where we have meetings, where visitors can sit down to look through old records, documents, photos, etc. and where we set up the Holiday Boutique. Just off the main room is a small closet, restroom, and office space. The office space was formerly a permanent kitchen display but as the museum and Historical Society grew and computers and other technologies came into existence, the room was converted to an office space. To the left of the office is a permanent general store display. The door leading to our records room is to the left of the stack of hat boxes.
To look at our records room right now would make you scratch your head and wonder, “…What? That’s exciting?”
What you can’t see are the thousands of pages of Putnam Valley history. There are store receipts and ledgers over 100 years old , family trees, report cards and attendance records, meeting minutes and newsletters from now defunct clubs and organizations, old newspapers (Putnam Valley Post, anyone?) and obituaries, maps, scrapbooks…and we are still finding things buried and misfiled. The file cabinets are getting replaced with fireproof models in the coming weeks. As mentioned above, the exhibit in the main room will be coming down after October 8th so we’ll have room to empty out the cabinets, bring in the new ones, do a rough sort of everything that came out, then refile it… with our fingers crossed that everything will fit back in the new cabinets.
Down the road, we’d like to replace the shelving system that currently holds our photo collection (still scanning as we go – all the beige boxes on the bottom two shelves are full, and every single photo is scanned so far), glass slide collection (completely scanned), photo negatives, and binders. The binders that, by themselves, hold probably an additional couple thousand pages of information. Some of them are transcriptions of old documents, some of them are copies of those old transcriptions, and some of them are holding papers that just didn’t have a home anywhere else. The shelves continue on down the wall past the window on the left and hold those binders and books. There’s also interviews on cassette tapes, video tapes, and a textile collection housed in the small closet within the records room.
And then there’s the attic. Off limits to the public, it’s full of more collection pieces, past display boards and posters, and spiders. Outside there’s an outbuilding and garden area. If you ever came to the museum as a child on a class trip, you probably ate your basket lunch in the garden. And yes, we have pictures of some of those class trips.
There are several upcoming events scheduled for the rest of the year. The Our American History series continues on the second Saturday of the month (see the Events menu for the dates and details); our Halloween Event and Annual Meeting are at the end of October, and the Holiday Boutique finishes out the year in December. We hope to see you soon!