Elwood Museum moving into Noteworthy complex

AMSTERDAM – The Walter Elwood Museum will expand its services after completing its move into a building at the Noteworthy Complex, according to Museum Executive Director Ann Peconie.

The museum recently bought the stone building on Church Street from the Constantino family. The building will provide more than 96,000 square feet of space to use not just for the museum and library, but also for office space.

According to Peconie, the new home of the museum will be in portions of the old printing company’s office and storeroom. Peconie said the building, left unused for several years, will need to be cleaned out before anything can be done with the offices or the museum space.

“You can see we have a lot left to work on,” Peconie said.

According to Peconie, the state Canal Corporation did not renew the museum’s lease after Guy Park Manor, its last home, suffered massive damage in flooding two years ago.

Peconie said this led the museum to select a new location. Repairs are still ongoing at Guy Park Manor, a Colonial-era structure on the north bank of the Mohawk in Amsterdam. It was nearly washed away in the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene.

Peconie said the waters rose up to 11 feet high at nearby Lock 11. Water filled the basement and first floor of the state-owned historic house, which had just recently become the new location of the Elwood Museum. It previously was housed in former school building on Guy Park Avenue.

During the flooding, debris smashed apart the west wall of Guy Park Manor, washing away everything in the west side of the building. This was after the museum received an $80,000 grant to establish a state-of-the art interactive room for children. The new additions were lost to the storm.

Peconie said the proximity of Guy Park Manor to the river was a main reason for the museum’s change in location. Peconie said people were concerned with what would happen to items they or members of their family had donated to the museum. With the new location, Peconie hopes the collection will be much more secure.

Peconie said the top floor of the museum would be used to display collections and for a work room for college or high school students who want some hands-on time with the artifacts.

Peconie said she has plans for some of the other rooms, hoping to have an exhibit dedicated to each of the industries of Amsterdam. The new building offers much more space for displays than the museum has had in its previous buildings, she said.

Office space would be made available for both the museum staff and people who want to lease other office space in the building. Peconie said she is hoping to have the entire overhead of the museum covered by leasing the office space.

Also available for lease are several large rooms that Peconie said she wants to advertise as gyms or galleries.

Peconie said she hopes to bring in more volunteers to help clean and establish the museum.

“We will be open when we can open,” Peconie said.

Anyone is interested in donating time, materials or funds is asked to call the Walter Elwood Museum at 843-5151.

Arthur Cleveland can be reached at