By Caurie Putnam
In April 2019 five Brockport area museums opened their doors physically (and one virtually) for the first Night at the Museums event. The unique event (whose name was inspired by the 2006 Ben Stiller movie Night at the Museum) was hosted by the Emily L. Knapp Museum. It was such a huge hit and is planned again for this May.
The event will be held from 4-8 pm on Saturday, May 21, 2022. It is free (donations accepted) and participants can visit as many or few of the museums they’d like within the open hours.
“Very few villages are as fortunate as Brockport to be the site of five museums – each one is different, and each tells a unique story of Brockport’s history,” said Sue Savard, event founder. “We look forward to opening our doors once again to visitors looking for a chance to step back in time.”
Visitors can start and end their evening at any of the participating museums (below) or at a historic marker dedication from 4-4:30 p.m. that day at 36 Erie Street, Brockport. The Pomeroy Foundation marker memorializes the existence of the Brockport trolley depot station, which was part of the Buffalo, Lockport, Rochester Railway. The electric trolley was used from 1908-1931.
Capen Hose Co. No. 4 and Fire Museum, 237 Main St. S., Brockport. The Capen Hose Co. No. 4 was constructed in 1905 to provide fire protection to the Brockport community. It’s now a museum that houses a collection of Brockport firefighting apparatus, equipment and uniforms dating back to the late 1800’s. The site is also home to the Firefighters Memorial Monument, which was modeled after an iconic Associated Press photo taken at Ground Zero during the aftermath of September 11, 2001. The monument was dedicated on August 18, 2002.
Clarkson Academy, 8343 Ridge Road, Clarkson. The picturesque Greek revival academy was built around 1853 using local bricks and lime mortar. It was used as a school until 1956, but was vacant and dilapidated when the Clarkson Historical Society began restoration work in 2003. In 2013 the society began using the beautifully restored academy (complete with vintage desks and blackboards) for field trips, evening programming and an annual summer camp to learn cursive writing.
Emily L. Knapp Museum of Local History, 49 State St., Brockport. Located in the former home of the Seymour family, the museum opened in 1945. Volunteers have worked diligently over the past ten years to restore and update the museum’s displays, catalog documents and pictures and help patrons with genealogy research. The two-floor museum has fifteen display areas. May 21st event will unveil the museum’s newest displays – The Brockport Fair and the Ward Opera House stage and costumes from the opera, Iolanthe.
Morgan-Manning House, 151 Main St., Brockport. Built in 1854, this beautiful 20-room Victorian house was the main residence of D.S. Morgan and his family. It was heavily damaged in a fire in 1964 and the Western Monroe Historical Society undertook its restoration and management shortly after. It is fully restored to Victorian splendor and was placed on the National Register in 1991.
Sweden Farmers Museum, 4988 Lake Road S. The Sweden Farmers Museum is the Brockport area’s newest museum. It was created in 2005 by the Town of Sweden to celebrate the area’s agricultural history and promote the importance of local farming. The museum includes a restored, circa 1820s farmhouse and a barn from the late 1880s.
A few other adds-ons to the event this year include: an invitation to visit the Local History Room at the Seymour Library at 161 East Avenue. And to visit the Brockport Community Museum – a “Museum Without Walls” online at brockportcommunitymuseum.org.