Schenectady County Historical Society

Schenectady County Historical Society We bring to life Schenectady County’s history! The Schenectady County Historical Society brings to life the region’s dynamic history through interactive exhibits, programs and community events for all audiences.

SCHS is also home to an extensive research library, with a focus on local history and genealogy.

SCHS is also home to an extensive research library, with a focus on local history and genealogy.

Mission: The Schenectady County Historical Society shares stories, inspires dialogue, and encourages understanding of the history, people, and cultures of Schenectady County.

Operating as usual

Home for the holidays is not too bad, when this is home 💚🌟
12/09/2020

Home for the holidays is not too bad, when this is home 💚🌟

12/09/2020
The 2020 Festival of Trees!

Join us for an in depth look at this year's Festival of Trees. We hope you'll be able to stop by and visit!

A cozy corner of the Festival of Trees, featuring firs decorated by Our Redeemer Lutheran, Our Lady Queen of Peace and S...
12/07/2020

A cozy corner of the Festival of Trees, featuring firs decorated by Our Redeemer Lutheran, Our Lady Queen of Peace and Saint Margaret of Cortona Mission Church, and our own Nancy Wasmund 🦩

Thanks to the Stockade Association for a very moving and bright Christmas tree lighting this year. Such a spot of light ...
12/06/2020

Thanks to the Stockade Association for a very moving and bright Christmas tree lighting this year. Such a spot of light and goodness during this dark month and dark year.

Schenectady County Historical Society's cover photo
12/06/2020

Schenectady County Historical Society's cover photo

The Festival of Trees' signature chandelier trees have returned, alongside with the Victorian ornament tree, which is fi...
12/06/2020

The Festival of Trees' signature chandelier trees have returned, alongside with the Victorian ornament tree, which is filled with curiosities. Stop by every day through December 30 for holiday cheer and gorgeous wintry galleries! Presented with YWCA NorthEastern NY!

The halls are decked! We’re just about ready to open up for the Festival of Trees tomorrow! Join us throughout December ...
12/04/2020

The halls are decked! We’re just about ready to open up for the Festival of Trees tomorrow! Join us throughout December for dozens of eclectically decorated and brightly lit fir trees. Presented alongside YWCA NorthEastern NY!

12/02/2020
Frost Papers Collection

The James Frost Papers, a collection in the SCHS library, comprises copies of survey sketches, maps, leases, receipts, legal documents, and other materials related to Frost’s surveyor work. On this livestream, Librarian Marietta Carr will share examples from the Frost collection, discuss Frost’s work as a surveyor, and give insight into the collection’s potential value to genealogists and local historians. No Facebook account is needed, simply join us at https://www.facebook.com/schenectadyhistorical/live

This gallery came together so beautifully!! Very excited to present the 2020 Festival of Trees, opening this Saturday. S...
12/02/2020
Tickets | Schenectady County Historical Society

This gallery came together so beautifully!! Very excited to present the 2020 Festival of Trees, opening this Saturday. Support SCHS and @ywca_neny this holiday season while taking in local holiday cheer 🤩

Tickets Program Tickets: Shop | Sale Items | Membership | Donation | Cart | Checkout Shop Programs $0.00 — $85.00 Program Select Date for Free Member Twilight Tour Sold out programs are not listed here.SCHS does not issue physical tickets; please show your PayPal receipt on the day of your program...

In recognition of World Children's Day today, and in solidarity with individuals and groups working to improve children'...
11/20/2020

In recognition of World Children's Day today, and in solidarity with individuals and groups working to improve children's welfare, we're happy to share a few of our favorite kids pictures from the collection.

Pictured here are the Vrooman children circa 1890, children dancing on Weaver St., children at play in 1946, kids at Brookside Camp taking a dip in the stream, and a family picture of the Rothmyer children.

11/19/2020

Adventuring in a forgotten house

We're incredibly proud of our Librarian, Marietta Carr, who was interviewed by American Libraries Magazine about her wor...
11/13/2020
Collecting Coronavirus Stories | American Libraries Magazine

We're incredibly proud of our Librarian, Marietta Carr, who was interviewed by American Libraries Magazine about her work collecting Schenectady County's Coronavirus stories. Among many contributions, Marietta received COVID-19 haikus and a report from members of a local quilting group who made and distributed masks, along with some samples of their project.

Monique Sugimoto, archivist and local history librarian at Peninsula Center Library, a branch of PVLD in Rolling Hills Estates, California, was quarantined at home in March like the rest of her staff and patrons when she sent a photo of her feline home office companion to her team and asked them to....

A new addition to our blacksmith shop, this anvil dates from c.1600-1750. Yeah, pretty old. We located it near Troy, but...
11/10/2020

A new addition to our blacksmith shop, this anvil dates from c.1600-1750. Yeah, pretty old. We located it near Troy, but it’s definitely made it’s way around the Capital Region.

In the early years of photography, capturing an image took several minutes (around 15 for daguerreotypes). The posed sub...
11/07/2020

In the early years of photography, capturing an image took several minutes (around 15 for daguerreotypes). The posed subjects had to stay as still as possible for the entire time; no small feat for kids and babies! This photo of Arthur and Bessie Dawson is an example of a 'hidden mother photo,' a popular technique for keeping children posed properly in Victorian photos. Look carefully and you can figure out where the children's mother, Cora, is hiding.

Happy Election Day! In 2016 we hosted the "Vote Here! Vote Now!" exhibition. Below is a blog post detailing that exhibit...
11/03/2020
Dirty Business: Campaigns and Elections in Schenectady

Happy Election Day! In 2016 we hosted the "Vote Here! Vote Now!" exhibition. Below is a blog post detailing that exhibition.

Democracy – and with it, debate and dialogue – is the heart of America. 2020 is yet another election cycle for America, and for Schenectadians. It's the election of the president, choosing who will represent us in Congress, and deciding which local representatives will best represent our interests. It's a lot to think about: Where is our country headed? What changes do we want to see in our community? Which candidates can we trust to do their job?
http://gremsdoolittlelibrary.blogspot.com/2016/05/Dirty-Business-Campaigns-Elections-Schenectady.html

This post was written by SCHS curator Mary Zawacki. How do we tell the story of politics in Schenectady? We asked ourselves this q...

New blog post: American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. City Historian Chris Leonard describes the value of the first cookboo...
10/31/2020
American Cookery by Amelia Simmons

New blog post: American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. City Historian Chris Leonard describes the value of the first cookbook published in the US and highlights some of the more fascinating recipes Simmons wrote: https://gremsdoolittlelibrary.blogspot.com/2020/10/american-cookery-by-amelia-simmons.html #ArchivesMonth

This post was written by Schenectady City Historian, Chris Leonard. Cookbooks are a fascinating if underutilized type of historical docume...

10/30/2020

Victorian Tour

10/30/2020

Colonial candlelight tour

We moved tonight's Candlelight Tours to Friday 10/30, because of the impending storm. As a result, we have a few more op...
10/29/2020

We moved tonight's Candlelight Tours to Friday 10/30, because of the impending storm. As a result, we have a few more openings for Friday! Tickets are at www.schenectadyhistorical.org/programs.

In the Mohawk dialect, Niskayuna was known as “Con-nes-ti-gu-ne” signifying a-field-covered-with-corn. Although corn was...
10/29/2020

In the Mohawk dialect, Niskayuna was known as “Con-nes-ti-gu-ne” signifying a-field-covered-with-corn. Although corn was abundantly grown on both sides of the river, much of Niskayuna’s soil is/was light sand.

10/27/2020

Preserving Photos 101

Gloomy days are the best days for getting lost in maps! Here is one of our favorites, the 1779 Map of the Province of Ne...
10/26/2020

Gloomy days are the best days for getting lost in maps! Here is one of our favorites, the 1779 Map of the Province of New York by Claude Joseph Sauthier. Though it includes cities and towns, the map has a topographical focus, with special attention given to mountains and rivers.

Besides the small settlement of Schenectady, our favorite part of the map is “a very remarkable Mountain,” located in the Adirondacks, near North Creek. Is it Gore Mountain, perhaps?

10/21/2020
What we're up to at SCHS

We created a video for Humanities New York discussing what we're up to during COVID-19. Humanities NY generously granted us funds to be able to stay open and active during the pandemic, and we're very grateful to them for their support.

New online resource! Historian Jonathan Pearson conducted substantial research into the streets and properties of Schene...
10/20/2020
Pearson Street Books | New York Heritage

New online resource! Historian Jonathan Pearson conducted substantial research into the streets and properties of Schenectady, particularly the Stockade. He compiled his notes into 4 scrapbooks which were donated to SCHS. Thanks to the extensive work of our library volunteers, you can now access this collection online at https://nyheritage.org/collections/pearson-street-books. The first 3 books are available now and the final volume is in progress. Thank you to all of the volunteers who contributed to digitizing, transcribing, indexing, and uploading these materials!
#archivesmonth

Jonathan Pearson was born in New Hampshire in 1813, the son of Caleb Pearson and Hetty Libby. Pearson moved to Schenectady in 1831 and began attending Union College early in 1832. He graduated in 1835. After leaving Schenectady briefly to teach in Pennsylvania, Pearson returned to Union College in t...

The Indigenous Digital Archive just digitized and made available 374 Ratified Indian Treaties via their new tool, the ID...
10/18/2020
Treaties

The Indigenous Digital Archive just digitized and made available 374 Ratified Indian Treaties via their new tool, the IDA Treaties Explorer. In addition to providing a framework for research, the tool offers maps of different treaty land designations, as well as extensive historical and contextual information.

Though a quick search didn’t reveal anything in Schenectady, there’s several digitized treaties from Albany.

https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaties/

The National Archives Office of Innovation partnered with the Indigenous Digital Archive project of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe, to provide context about and connection to the National Archives' holdings of the Ratified Indian Treaties, newly conserved and scanned for the first t...

Know how to use a sewing machine? Want to work with hands on with our collections? SCHS is looking for volunteers to hel...
10/17/2020

Know how to use a sewing machine? Want to work with hands on with our collections? SCHS is looking for volunteers to help with a special project preserving our historic garments! Contact Suzy for more details: [email protected]

There’s something really magical about being in a library at dusk in the rain. It’s almost as though the books come to l...
10/16/2020

There’s something really magical about being in a library at dusk in the rain. It’s almost as though the books come to life.

Many, many congratulations to our volunteer and board member, John Gearing for this incredible accomplishment. "Schenect...
10/13/2020
Author completes look at Schenectady history

Many, many congratulations to our volunteer and board member, John Gearing for this incredible accomplishment. "Schenectady Genesis Volume II" is a deeply compelling volume that details a most defining time in Schenectady’s history. An absorbing and meticulously researched work, Gearing masterfully weaves together the politics, culture, and factions from which the City of Schenectady was born. Adding particular color to the work are the peculiarities of 18th century primary source materials, which Gearing liberally includes. The depth and breadth of sources explored here, coupled with Gearing’s expert analysis and gift for storytelling combine to create a work that is essential to the understanding of Schenectady. It's available at our bookstore, or online at schenectadyhistorical.org/bookshop

https://dailygazette.com/2020/10/11/author-completes-look-at-schenectady-history/

The idea of finishing up Susan Staffa’s “Schenectady Genesis” was quite intriguing for Niskayuna attorney John Gearing, and the more he looked into local history, the more fascinating it became.

Today, in recognition of Indigenous Peoples everywhere, we'd like to honour the history and culture of the people for wh...
10/12/2020

Today, in recognition of Indigenous Peoples everywhere, we'd like to honour the history and culture of the people for whom this river was named. For many centuries, the Mohawk, of the Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee, made their homes in the hills and river valleys of what would later become New York. As European colonists came to this land, the Haudenosaunee welcomed them in a Covenant that exists to this day. The alliance between these peoples was crucial in the building of our town, and many of the first “Schenectadians” were of Mohawk ancestry. We encourage you to learn more about this history and to consult the several native educational organizations in our state, such as the Kanatsiohareke Mohawk Community.

Bike your way out to the Mabee Farm on Sunday for The Fall Craft Marker at Mabee Farm Historic Site.  10-3; free admissi...
10/10/2020

Bike your way out to the Mabee Farm on Sunday for The Fall Craft Marker at Mabee Farm Historic Site. 10-3; free admission. We’ve got 50+ of our favorite local crafters selling their unique wares, beneath the backdrop of fall foliage on the banks of the Mohawk 🍂🌞

Address

32 Washington Ave
Schenectady, NY
12305

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 14:00

Telephone

+15183740263

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Our Story

We're nestled in the heart of Schenectady’s Stockade Historic District, “the highest concentration of historic period homes in the country.” Our Museum and Library are the perfect starting point for discovering the history of Schenectady County. Through programs, research, and interactive exhibits, visitors can explore how Schenectady County has changed over the years, and the rich and diverse stories that Schenectady County has to offer.

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