The History Center in Tompkins County - Research Library Opens to the Public

68 volunteers, more than 1,600 boxes, rolls and rolls of archival wrapping materials, miles of packing tape and bubble wrap, thousands of pages of crumpled newspaper, 24 months of planning, countless hours working with the fine arts movers, bag after bag of packing peanuts.

These are just some of the bare statistics that describe The History Center's move of our large and diverse collections to our new space at the Tompkins Center for History and Culture. And now, the archival collections are finally unpacked and the Research Library is open. It has been named the Cornell Local History Research Library to honor Ezra Cornell and the great university he founded.

Our greatest debt is to the generous and hard working volunteers who donated time and effort as well as tons of packing materials to this tremendous undertaking. Some of them were members of the community, some were very young (our youngest volunteer was 11 when he helped us crumple newspaper), and some, not so young. Students from many local schools happily helped us, including Ithaca High School, Boynton Middle School, Ithaca College, Cornell University, Tompkins Cortland Community College, and Binghamton University. Some people came just for a day or two, some came for longer, and several stuck with us all these many months first packing, and then unpacking the collections. 

Many of our three-dimensional objects will get unpacked gradually over the next several months as we settle in to our new home. Some things will be moved to off-site storage. But the archival collections - the library books and photographs, the manuscript collections, scrapbooks, maps, newspapers, ledgers and periodicals, all those paper-based treasures that we preserve for the community - those are unpacked, sorted, organized, shelved, and ready for researchers. The library opened this Tuesday, so they are now available to the public. Our regular research library hours beginning are Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Thursdays in the summer until 7:00 PM. 

Thank you to our public for your patience as we prepared for this exciting re-opening.

Donna Eschenbrenner, Director of Archives and Research Services