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Rebecca Webster/Recorder staff Walter Elwood Museum Executive Director Ann Peconie shows off a newspaper clipping Friday that the museum purchased from the Noteworthy Estate Sale.

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Museum hopes to restore collection through sale

Saturday, October 13, 2012 - Updated: 7:49 PM

By REBECCA WEBSTER

Recorder News Staff

Walter Elwood Museum Executive Director Ann Peconie beamed as she walked through the rows of items at the Noteworthy Estate Sale in Amsterdam Friday.

Earlier this week, Peconie had the opportunity to peruse the sale, which will not officially start until Monday, to see which items might make perfect additions to the still-healing museum.

Perusing alongside her was museum Board of Directors President Susan Wollman and Fulton County Historian -- and former board member -- Peter Betz.

Friday, just a few days before the sale, Peconie looked back through the items found that day and remarked on their significance for the museum.

"This is wonderful that they're having the sale because basically it gives us the opportunity to buy things that we lost in the flood," Peconie said.

An old trunk, an Amsterdam City Common Council seal creator from 1890, a wooden piece that showed the dimensions of carpets, gas lanterns to a carriage, and even an old Noteworthy desk that will be used in the new location's office.

These were just some of the treasures found that would replace some of the items lost to the flood waters.

"Mr. Constantino had basically just treasure troves of things, obviously that he collected over the years," she said. "And it's wonderful for the museum that they (the Constantino family) gave us kind of first right of refusal and allowed us the opportunity to come through here and maybe pick out things to replace, maybe not exact same things that we lost, but replace some things."

The piece that gave Peconie the most excitement was an Abraham Lincoln bust, nearly identical to the one that was ruined.

"We had this exact same Lincoln bust on a stand in the foyer and it was completely destroyed in the flood and had to be thrown away," she explained. "Imagine my surprise when I walked in here."

And a stack of artwork was also secured, showing everything from maps of the Noteworthy complex to an original newspaper article of Stephen Sanford's death in Amsterdam.

All of the items were purchased by the museum through FEMA funds that they received after the flood, but there were several items that were additionally donated to the museum by the Constantino family.

Some items that they purchased, from the Noteworthy complex specifically, will be placed into a special Noteworthy exhibit in the new museum.

While the estate sale will run in three different phases over two weeks -- Christmas goods and Noteworthy furniture, other items, and finally the artwork -- the newest highlight for the museum will be a Wine and Cheese Art Preview will be held the night before the artwork phase from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 26.

At the preview, hosted by the Walter Elwood Museum, will give 50 individuals the opportunity to have the first view of -- and first chance at bidding on -- the hundreds of pieces of artwork from Tom Constantino's collection.

It will even be held partially in the former executive office of the collector himself.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and all profits from the evening will go to the Walter Elwood Museum.

Peconie said she and the board continue to work toward the acquisition of the Noteworthy Complex as the museum's new home, but the process is not yet completed.

A $200,000 Rural Area Revitalization Program grant, if the museum is awarded it, will go toward rehabbing the building, like painting walls and replacing carpets.

"That's going to be hard if we don't get that," she said, adding that if they don't, the money will have to come out of pocket or from donations.

But they will know by the end of the year whether or not they are recipients of the grant.

And FEMA money will go toward a down payment on the complex.

"We are getting closer and closer."

     

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