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Elwood Museum prepares to reopen

January 6, 2009
By KERRY McAVOY / The Leader-Herald

AMSTERDAM - The Walter Elwood Museum will reopen to the public next week for the first time in more than four months.

Museum Director Ann Peconie said Monday the first floor of the museum will be reopened three days per week, though which days had not been decided and will depend on staff coverage. She said she is leaning toward Tuesday through Thursday.

Museum officials received a letter recently informing them the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education approved a short-term lease agreement effective Jan. 1.

Last month, the museum board agreed to a six-month lease offered by the school district. The museum will pay $750 a month, with utilities included.

The school board had ordered the building at 300 Guy Park Ave. closed Aug. 27, citing concerns about structural problems and a bat infestation.

As the museum prepares to move out of the school district-owned building and into a new location -possibly the state-owned Guy Park Manor on Route 5 - museum officials may cull the Elwood's collection to eliminate deteriorating or redundant items.

Peconie said the school board has asserted it has the right of first refusal, meaning the elimination of any items from the collection would require school board approval.

"I understand why they want to do it," Peconie said. "[300 Guy Park Ave.] was a former school building, and everything from the desks to the chairs were paid for with taxpayer funds."

The bats are now gone from the old schoolhouse. Museum staff members have the keys back and are able to enter without escorts from the school district, as they were required to do while the museum was closed.

The museum is collecting funds to support its move to a new location sometime this spring or in the early summer. Peconie said the fund drive will continue right up until the moving date.

Peconie said volunteers also are needed. Someone with a truck who could help with moving or a group that wishes to volunteer to help pack items for the move would be welcome, she said.

For more information, see

Kerry McAvoy covers Montgomery County news. She can be reached by e-mail at



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