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Adirondack History Museum’s year-end fund drive

January 22, 2015
Lake Placid News

To the editor:

The Essex County Historical Society recently shortened the name of its museum from the rather long and cumbersome Adirondack History Center Museum to Adirondack History Museum. The museum is still dedicated to the history, art and culture of Essex County.

The exhibits have been improving in recent years, and our goal is to continue that improvement. About a year ago, the museum received the Arto Monaco collection, including many items from the popular theme park, Land of Make Believe. Many Essex County residents either went there for fun or worked there in the '50s and '60s. Some of the collection was displayed in 2014. That exhibit will be expanded for 2015 as conservation is completed on the collection.

Article Photos

Aidan and Rowan McCaffrey look at the Marcy Dam mural at the Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown.
(Photo courtesy of the Essex County Historical Society)

In addition to the exhibits in the museum, the ECHS hosts the farmers market in Elizabethtown and lectures on Essex County history. We previously had programs for the schools in the county, but government budgets have not allowed for the travel of students to the museum. One of our goals to better serve the county is to bring educational programs to the schools.

The ECHS is in the middle of its year-end fund drive, running from November into January. About 1,600 members and friends of the museum in Essex County and around the country have received requests for donations. Ticket sales pay for a small fraction of operating a museum. Most of the money to operate museums comes from donations, grants and income from the museum's endowment. We have a small amount of money invested, but not enough to take income from it. With the various levels of government reducing the grant money available in recent years, the museum is more reliant on private and business donations. Whether you have personally received a request, or not, please consider contributing to the ECHS and Adirondack History Museum. You can also put a bequest in your will. I've done that. They haven't decided to do me in, yet, so I think it's safe.

One final thought is in regard to large donations. Every month I read about small museums receiving large donations (a million dollars plus) from local citizens, and I wonder, "Why not us?" Maybe it's because we never asked. Compared to other museums, our finances are pretty typical, except that none of our operating expenses come from our investments. A museum of our size should have an endowment of at least a million dollars. The additional funding would very much help us to serve the residents and visitors of our county in the way that we should be able to do. So if you have the resources and are looking for a charity to make a large (or small) contribution to, please consider the Essex County Historical Society.

Donations can be made through the website,, or by sending a check to the Essex County Historical Society, P.O. Box 428, Elizabethtown, NY 12932.

Steve Shepstone

Essex County Historical Society




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