LITTLE VALLEY — Most museums in the county are opening their doors Saturday for Cattaraugus County Museum Day.
Fifteen different museum sites have joined in the 2018 Museum Day, part of the New York State Path Through History Weekend.
Jacqueline Gardner, a county tourism assistant who helps publicize Museum Day for a variety of county museums, said the goal is to make it easy for the public to visit local museums.
“Local history is very important,” Gardner said Monday. “It’s all around us. Museums help you see the bigger picture of our past. It’s really interesting to see how local families contributed” in the past in these museum exhibits.
The Cattaraugus County Historical Advisory Committee meets monthly in Little Valley. The county Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism helps with publicity and resources, including producing pamphlets on the Underground Railroad in Cattaraugus County and other Paths Through History.
In the past, Museum Day was known as the Museum Crawl, Gardner said.
Museum Day is an opportunity for museums to not only attract new visitors, but to recruit new members and volunteers, Gardner said. “It gives you a sense of community.”
The Ischua Valley Historical Society will have two museums in this Saturday’s Museum Day: The Miner’s Cabin at 9 Pine St., in the village of Franklinville, while the Howe-Prescott Pioneer House on Route 98 will be open from 1 to 4 p.m.
Maggie Fredrickson, the Franklinville village historian and member of the Ischua Valley Historical Society, said a special contest is planned to test people’s knowledge of unusual items from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
“We’re going to ask visitors to try and identify them and what they were probably used for,” she said, noting that prizes will be given.
Several other museums have developed their own question-and-answer programs with some of their exhibits.
The museums have free admission, but donations are accepted.
Additional Cattaraugus County historical information and maps are available by going online to HistoricPath.com.
Participating museums include:
• Allegany Area Historical Association Museum, 25 N. Second St. Allegany. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Housed in an historic 1855 former church building, the museum will feature a special exhibit on World War I. There is also a full sized, restored, 1856 map of Cattaraugus County.
• American Museum of Cutlery, 9 Main St., Cattaraugus. Open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At one time there were 150 cutleries within 50 miles of Cattaraugus — names like Cattaraugus Cutlery Co., Case Co., Cutco and Ontario Knife Co. See exhibits with unique knives and the stories behind them at the museum.
• C.A.M.P. Memorial Site, 302 Court St., Little Valley, NY. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) was formed for the purpose of preserving the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley. C.A.M.P. will have a pop-up tent set up at the Memorial site on Saturday, a display of Civil War items and a walk-around the site and a “sneak peek” inside the Memorial. There will be a question and answer quiz regarding the Memorial site that a visitor could answer by visiting the site.
• Cattaraugus Area Historical Society Museum, 23 Main St. Cattaraugus. Open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. See the hand-carved Statue of Liberty, which toured the country during the 1976 bicentennial.
• Cattaraugus County Museum, 9824 Route 16 Machias. Open Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The Cattaraugus County Museum and Research Library is sponsoring “Family Day at the Museum,” a fun event for kids of all ages and their families. Live music provided by the WNY Fiddle Kids starts at 12:30 p.m. There will be hands on activities, games and prizes. Also, Wild Spirit Education have a presentation on the natural world and its work rescuing sick, injured and orphaned animals at 2 o’clock. Hotdogs and refreshments will be for sale.
• Cutco-Ka-Bar Visitors Center, 1040 E. State St. Olean. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Visitors Center showcases the growth of Cutco and Vector Marketing Corporation and portrays the rich heritage of Ka-Bar knives. Displays include antique kitchen cutlery, military and pocket knives, as well as historical photographs and documents.
• Ellicottville Historical Society Museum, 2 Washington St., Ellicottville. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The museum, at the corner of the Village Square, has been the location of the County Clerk's office, a bank, a German Protestant Lutheran Church, and a millinery shop. Currently on display is the Holland Land Company's influence on the area, old wedding dresses, farming families of the area, skiing history and historical homes in the village.
• Hinsdale Historical Society Museum, 3826 Main St. Hinsdale. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Historical Society members have donated or loaned items on exhibit including various dairy items associated with local farming including Kents, Browns and Crosby Farms. Also on display are an early arrowhead collection, Mobil Oil display, old tools and many primitives. Historical documents, church information, pictures and yearbooks can also be viewed. Fire department equipment, scouting display and information on the famous Hinsdale Haunted House is also available.
• Howe-Prescott Salt Box House, Cadiz Road, Franklinville. Open Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Built between 1816 and 1869, the salt-box house is currently as it was when purchased in 1966 by the Ischua Valley Historical Society. Take a step back in time as you tour the two story building with ancient stoves, antique furniture and a well house. Try to identify the tools and equipment on display for prizes.
• Leon Historical Society Museum, Route 62 and Cherry Creek-Leon Hill Road, Leon. Open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Play a question and answer game about fun historical facts about the museum. Leon is celebrating of the 200th anniversary of their first settler. There’s also an exhibit of the local Pennyroyal Racetrack, where two NASCAR drivers originated.
• Mansfield Area Historical Society Museum, 7691 Toad Hollow Road, Little Valley. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. The Museum will be featuring its huge framed 1856 Cattaraugus County Wall Map and the 1915 framed wall map of the same area along with commentary about the area and early settlers. The Museum is usually open by appointment by calling Historian Sue Cross at (716) 307-2904.
• Miner's Cabin of the Ischua Valley Historical Society, 9 Pine St., Franklinville. Open Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Simeon Robbins built it in 1895 at a cost of $7,000 with proceeds from his gold mining in the Klondike — hence the name Miner’s Cabin. The first floor has heavy, beautifully carved woodwork, fireplaces, and parquet floors. Identify the common household items from yesteryear for prizes.
• Perrysburg Historical Museum, 10460 Peck Hill Rd. Perrysburg. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is in the Town Hall in the village of Perrysburg and has many local artifacts. The building itself was formally the schoolhouse and the prize possessions is the miniature model of the J.N. Adam Tuberculosis Sanitarium made in the late 1930s. Genealogical information is also available.
• Salamanca Area Historical Society Museum, 125 Main St., Salamanca. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This museum is housed in a restored 1882 bank building. Various displays depict the history of Salamanca. Knowledgeable staff are available to answer questions.
• Salamanca Rail Museum, 170 Main St., Salamanca. Open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is a fully restored passenger depot constructed in 1912 by the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway. Through artifacts, photos and video presentations, you can experience an era over 90 years ago, when rail was the primary mode of transportation from city to city.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)