Aug 14, 2017

Great small museums in Upstate New York

I love small museums especially if they deal with only one topic, that way I can conquer it in an hour or two and remember what it was all about.  Here are eight small museums in close proximity to Central New York.  Great summer day trips.  Call the museum first because many rely on volunteers so are only open a few days a week but will often open upon request. 

1. Canal times: The Syracuse museum is located in the 1850 building and is the only weighlock building left from the Erie Canal days.  It is where canal boats where weighed and a toll levied. It operated 24-hours a day during the canal’s existence.  There is a full-size canal boat, a great introductory video, and many other displays dealing depicting Syracuse during the canal times.
2. The birth of the salt potato: In the 1800s workers at the salt plant in Liverpool on Onondaga Lake cooked their luncheon potatoes in the boiling salt vats creating the famous Central New York salt potatoes. The Salt Museum follows the salt industry from the salt springs to the mid-1840s when it was the nation's leading producer of salt.
3. America’s most famous dessert: "There's Always Room for
Jell-O" was the slogan when well-groomed salesmen went house to house in “spanking rigs, drawn by beautiful horses” to promote Jell-O. Follow the history of the fun dessert that jiggles, wiggles, and makes one giggle at the Jell-O Museum in LeRoy. You will get a complimentary box of Jell-O.
4. The birthplace of Memorial Day: In 1865 when a druggist in Waterloo suggested honoring Civil War heroes by decorating their graves it gave birth to Memorial Day. The National Memorial Day Museum’s Mourning Room sets the tone for the seriousness of the museum. The Civil War Room chronicles how the horrors of the war with its high numbers of casualties led to the creation of Memorial Day. 
5. A floating National Historic Landmark: A veteran of the
WWII Normandy Invasion, the restored Army LT-5 tugboat is believed to be the only remaining fully operational vessel of its kind. Climb aboard the LT-5 then tour Oswego’s H. Lee White Marine Museum with displays of nautical artifacts from the 18th through the 20th centuries.  On display is the large telescope that was once housed in the observatory on the Sheppard estate in New Haven.
6. Built for speed: The Antique Boat Museum in Clayton features The Quest for Speed exhibit in the Gold Cup Building. The exhibition showcases the history of boat racing, from the outstanding Gold Cup and Harmsworth Trophy winner, Dixie II, to record setting hydroplanes and modified Packard and Liberty airplane engines. The museum also offers boat rides along with boat building and restoration courses. 
7. Starr Clark Tin Shop and Underground Railroad
Museum:  The Mexico Museum is housed in what was once a tin shop that was an important stop on the Underground Railroad for it was here that plans were made to transport runaway slaves safely to Canada.  The most famous was Jerry McHenry.  
8. Little Red Schoolhouse:  The museum in Sterling has many displays including a typical one-room schoolhouse display but it is a great place for railroad buffs.  Adjacent to the museum is Sterling Heritage Park where they have added a vintage caboose and riding the pump car is fun for all.