Elwood hosts a holiday open house

By CAROLINE MURRAY

caroline.murray@recordernews.com

During Saturday's snowstorm, the Walter Elwood Museum celebrated its holiday open house in its new digs on Church Street -- the historic former Noteworthy Co. building.

Some of the guests were first timers, who had never visited the museum or any of its past locations before. Others were loyal fans who had seen the exhibits transform and move around throughout the years. Its most recent transition came after the museum sustained damages in 2011 from tropical storms Irene and Lee at its previous location at Guy Park Manor.

Both Carol Sakrison of Burnt Hills and her husband John visited the museum several times at all its different sites.

They figured stopping by the holiday open house was a perfect opportunity to tour the new museum and grab some lunch in the town where Carol grew up.

A native to Amsterdam, Carol Sakrison attended Wilbur H. Lynch when it was a high school. She said she met Walter Elwood in grade school and knew him well.

"He was a very gentle man," she said.

Along with a self-guided tour, the day's activities included musical entertainment, as well as an arts and crafts center where children were invited to make Victorian ribbon and beaded ornaments. Free hot chocolate and cookies were also provided.

Tom Staudle of Fultonville and Peter Betz of Perth were there to provide the guests with holiday music for the majority of the afternoon. As visitors took in the various galleries in the building, the guitar duo strummed Christmas melodies and sang along to holiday tunes.

The museum's Executive Director Ann Peconie showed off some new and old pieces. She explained to the visitors how they were still in the process of identifying items since the floods.

"It's beautiful what they've done. It really shows how beautiful Amsterdam is," said Kathy Engel, who was there for the holiday affair and to support her friends at ALCO Historical & Technical Society.

According to Peconie and Deborah Giardino, the society's secretary, ALCO recently partnered up with Elwood after their museum closed down in October of last year.

"The Walter Elwood Museum is kindly offering us exhibit space," said Giardino.

She was there with other ALCO supporters to hand out new information about their partnership with the museum. Their station was empty, but soon they will be moving their items out of storage and into the display space.

"The room will be dedicated to as many of the exhibits we can move in here," said Giardino.

The ALCO Society's museum opened in Schenectady in June of last year and closed just four months later. They preserve artifacts and historical documents from the American Locomotive Co. and Schenectady Locomotive Works.

"We have some artifacts that are way too big to fit in this room, but we won't worry about that," she said.

The Elwood museum's holiday open house is part of a passport series during which community members who visit three or more Fulton or Montgomery county museums this season are entered to win a prize.

Jim Falato of Amsterdam attended the open house with his wife. This is the fourth exhibit they have visited and are "absolutely" trying to win the gift basket.

"It's our first time here and we are checking it all out," said Falato.

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