Historical Collections


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Early 18th century window sash, Christian Duryea house, Kings Co., NY
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Museum staff salvage components of the mid-19th century Erie Canal lock grocery, Fort Plain, Montgomery Co. [JPG image-47KB]

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Springside Cottage, built for Matthew Vassar c1850. Design attributed to A. J. Downing.
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Detail of mid-18th paneled wall, Humphrey-Kuehne house, Orange Co.
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Detail of Saint Luke figural window from Fayetteville, Onondaga County
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Dowling house sash c1910 [46KB]

 

THE ARCHITECTURE COLLECTION

The New York State Museum's collection of architectural NYLC staff member salvages wall 
section [JPG image-40KB] artifacts reflects almost three centuries of the state's built environment. Significant colonial period components, for example, include materials salvaged from the early 18th century house of Christian Duryea in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Built as a farmhouse on western Long Island, the structure ended its days in 1990 as a fire-ravaged crack house surrounded by the megalopolis of New York City. A rare early 18th century window sash and hewn timber frame are among the elements salvaged by the New York Landmarks Conservancy and donated to the Museum.

In 1988 the Museum salvaged the facade components and significant pieces of interior trim work Fort Plain lock grocery c1900 - private collection [JPG image-50KB] from a large wooden Greek Revival structure in Fort Plain, Montgomery County. The two-story, double-galleried building had been erected in the mid-19th century beside one of the busiest locks on the Erie Canal. As a community focal point, the structure served for many years as a combination grocery, tavern, residence, and inn. As a collection, its architectural elements exemplify the upstate neoclassical architectural vernacular of the period.

Museum staff salvages 
facade components [JPG image-72KB]The Gothic Revival facade and trim components salvaged from Matthew Vassar's summer cottage, "Springside," in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, illustrate the picturesque board-and-batten Romantic Revival style also popular about 1850. Acquired in 1976, the "Springside" collection is also significant as tangible evidence of a design attributed to Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-1852), a native of Newburgh, Orange County, and preeminent "tastemaker" to mid-19th century America's middle class.

The sleek, Art Moderne facade of a filling Sears Station [JPG image-64KB] station from New Hartford, Oneida County, reflects the technology and esthetics of the Automobile Age. Salvaged in 1988, these elements, of porcelainized panels and curved glass, were part of a Sears Oil Company establishment, complete with "Lubritorium," built in the mid-1930s.

The Museum's collection of interior architectural elements includes a paneled fireplace wall Humphrey-Kuehne house, photo c1900 [JPG image-77KB] from the mid-18th century Humphrey-Kuehne house in the "Little Britain" region west of Newburgh, Orange County. The house was demolished in the early 1970s during an enlargement of Stewart Air Force Base. A group of three early 19th century wooden walls painted to imitate Fonda wall [JPG-70KB] scenic wallpaper were salvaged from the old Henry V. Fonda house during a demolition project in the village of Fonda, Montgomery County. A section of plaster wall, hand-painted in the early 19th century to imitate patterned wallpaper, Detail of VanWormer wall [72KB] was acquired prior to the razing of the late 18th century Jacob Van Wormer house in West Fort Ann, Washington County. The Museum's collection of stained glass windows includes large figural works installed about 1913 in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, built in Fayetteville, Onondaga County, about 1875. Small leaded glass sash and other architectural elements were salvaged from the early 20th century British Arts and Crafts style Dowling house, which stood until 1982 on Washington Ave. in Albany.

The New York State Museum's architecture collection consists primarily of artifacts frieze window grille, cast iron, c1840 
[JPG-75KB] which have been rescued from imminent demolition or acquired as salvage. The Museum does not actively seek out potential architectural acquisitions, recognizing instead the importance of the built environment left in situ and in context.

For more information, contact Ronald Burch, 3097 Cultural Education Center, Albany, N.Y. 12230. Telephone: (518) 474-5353. FAX: (518) 473-8496. E-mail: rburch@mail.nysed.gov

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