Parishville museum planning upgrades

The Parishville Museum on Main Street in the village. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

PARISHVILLE — The town Historical Association will be making upgrades to its museum collection as the result of a $1,000 grant it received from the Northern New York Community Foundation.

The grant will be used to purchase software to catalog what Historical Association Board of Directors Secretary Mary K. Gilbert said is an “extensive collection of textiles, artifacts, photographs and archival materials” at the museum, located at 1785 East Main St.

“They were just wonderful, very helpful in walking us through that grant because I had no experience with writing a grant,” Mrs. Gilbert said of the Northern New York Community Foundation. “We were pleased. It’s not a lot of money, but for us it is. It means movement. It means, ‘get going on this.’ I think that is the important thing.”

The museum has a range of items including things from the Civil War, but Mrs. Gilbert said the new software will help better identify what is in the collection, including a popular room full of historical photos.

“I don’t even know what they have for documents because we haven’t been through it,” Mrs. Gilbert said. “If you know what you have you are better able to promote it. If you don’t know what your collection is, it is very difficult to invite people in and advertise.”

Volunteers have recently created a new research area in the house, naming it in honor of former town historian Emma Remington.

Groups of students from Parishville-Hopkinton Central School made field trips to the museum this past spring as a way to both promote the museum and get the children acquainted with local history, Mrs. Gilbert said.

The museum was acquired by the town in 1959 from descendants of the Clark family who lived in the house for a time, Mrs. Gilbert said.

“When you have something like this in a small town, it’s kind of a gem, but it’s a secret, because it’s not advertised,” she said. “Part of it is a catch 22 because you can’t advertise it if you don’t have the manpower to be in the museum more hours. It just kind of all goes together.”

Mrs. Gilbert said that items in the home belonged to the family who lived there as well as items that were given to the Historical Association over the years by local residents and families with Parishville roots.

The museum has no furnace, and thus no heat, putting all the artifacts through a change of extreme temperatures from summer to winter and the hope is to, down the road, install a furnace in the basement.

That lack of heat is also part of the reason the museum is only open during summer months or by appointment by contacting Town Clerk Connie Maguire at (315) 265-2131 or emailing her at

“There’s a lot of potential, but it’s hard getting it moving and when you are only open a few months out of the year it moves even more slowly,” Mrs. Gilbert said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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