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Museum eyes move to manor

November 21, 2008
By KERRY McAVOY, The Leader-Herald

AMSTERDAM - The Walter Elwood Museum is closer to having a new home in the city.

Museum Director Ann Peconie said the museum board and attorneys are reviewing a potential lease with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to house the museum at Guy Park Manor.

The museum lost its home at 300 Guy Park Ave. in August when the Greater Amsterdam School Board decided to close the former schoolhouse because of concerns about structural problems and a bat infestation. Since then, the museum staff and the board have been trying to find another site for the museum's collection or find a way to get the school board to allow the museum to use the old schoolhouse.

Museum Board President Jackie Meola said the move to Guy Park Manor would be difficult. She said the staff and board have been in contact with the New York State Museum Association to get tips for moving the museum's more than 1,000 items.

The bats are now gone from the old schoolhouse, Peconie said, and the museum staff has the keys back and are able to enter without an escort from the school district. The museum is reviewing a short-term lease with the district.

Peconie said the bats could return in April.

In a related museum matter, the Amsterdam district decided to put a referendum to voters in May on whether to allow the district to use up to $25,000 from the general fund to pay for the museum's utilities and costs.

Peconie said St. Johnsville uses this type of levy to pay for the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library and in-house museum.

The museum is raising money. It received donations from area businesses and organizations, including $500 from the United Way, $2,000 from Target and $10,000 from an anonymous donor. To give to the museum, go to for information.



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