Furnishings at the Melville House reflect the various architectural changes the building has undergone during its two centuries of existence. The Society’s collections policy is oriented toward the acquisition by gift and purchase of artifacts and manuscripts directly relating to the history of Lansingburgh, and to the proper conservation, storage, display and uses of all its holdings.
An outstanding manuscript collection includes maps, photographs, diaries, business records, Town and Village records, and the Burleigh panoramic views. The majority of these manuscripts have been placed on deposit and are available for reference access at the Library of the Rensselaer County Historical Society. Modern copies of hundreds of historical photographs of Lansingburgh and related historical reference files are available for consultation and reproduction.
Artifacts relate to Lansingburgh residents and their educational, religious, recreations, and the commercial activities. Among the more extensive displays feature medicine, beer, soda, and milk bottles from local establishments. Some of the more interesting items include Native American artifacts, a book owned in the Melville family, paintings by Lansingburgh artists, a few noteworthy pieces of furniture, and a scrimshaw collection.
The unique “attic museum” houses tools, materials, advertisements, and the products of the community’s extensive 19th century brush, oilcloth, pottery, tinware, and other specialized industries. General and hardware store items from “The ‘Burgh” are also on display. We even display an antique coffin from a local undertaker!
Contact our Archivist/Curator if you have items to potentially donate to our collection. Items not needed for our collection may be sold as part of our fund-raisers or may be transferred to other more appropriate historical repositories. Donors are made aware of all possible options, and all donations of items are acknowledged for income tax and other purposes.