Rensselaer County Junior Museum
The Rensselaer County Junior Museum, created in 1954, had about a forty-year existence in Lansingburgh: from 1959 to 1999. During that time, and prior to the creation of the Lansingburgh Historical Society, it was one of the voices in opposition to the demolition of the Lansing House, a site that it even considered as a possible new home.
Junior Museum Planning For Incorporation.
Members of the board of directors of the newly founded Junior Museum of Rensselaer County met last night at their rooms in the Rensselaer County Historical Society and approved incorporation proceedings. By-laws were voted which describe the purpose of the museum as fostering interest among the young people of the community in its social, cultural and civic aspects. Activities will be primarily in the field of the arts, history, and natural sciences, using audio-visual means as well as art classes and hobby clubs.
Mrs. Carl Grimm, president of the board of directors, reviewed the details of incorporation and the by-laws, assisted by Mr. Marcus L. Filley, legal adviser to the museum. The name of the museum was decided after discussion hearing on the need for broad inclusion of area school districts.
Members of an advisory committee will be drawn from the ranks of educators in the public and private schools, colleges, professional groups, industry, press, radio, and television.
Mrs. Marcus L. Filley, director of the museum, reported on new equipment received for the work rooms and described physical improvements recommended by Mr. Donald Smith, director of the Schenectady Museum.
An art exhibit will be held at the Pioneer Building, Loan and Savings Association, 19 2nd St., April 28-May 7.
Times Record. March 18, 1954: 22 col 8.
Munn Residence To Be New Home Of Junior Museum
By HILDA GOODWIN
The Junior League of Troy, observing the 30th anniversary of service to the community in February, has pledged money to the Rensselaer County Junior Museum for the purchase of the former Munn residence at 108 2nd Ave. to be used as a new home for the museum.
The large house with extensive lawns was the residence of the late Miss Ida J. Munn, member of a prominent Troy family. […]
The house is a two-story frame, brick-lined structure built more than 100 years ago as a summer home for the Munn family. The family residence was in the Washington Park area. The family “vacationed” on the banks of the Hudson River in Lansingburgh.
The property has 72 foot frontage on 2nd avenue and a depth of 250 feet. There also is additional land included in the purchase at the rear of a two-family residence adjoining the Munn estate on the north and bequeathed to Russell Sage College by Miss Munn.
The house has a large front porch, typical of one era of American country life which will be retained by the Junior Museum. The interior will be restored as it was many years ago.
The house has 10 large rooms and bath and also has central heating. The floor boards are wide and of “sugar pine.” The dining room is unusually beautiful with a beamed ceiling, a handsome fireplace and paneled walls. […]
Times Record. January 17, 1959: 9 cols 2-3, 17 cols 3-5.
Lansing Home Fate Uncertain; Store Building Permit Issued
By JOSEPH G. FITZGERALD
The future of the Lansing Homestead in 2nd avenue, Lansingburgh, which was debated at a recent session of the Troy Common Council which defeated two zoning resolutions that would have turned the area around the home from light industrial to residential is now up to those who expressed a desire to maintain the historic structure.
Jackson L. Sothern of the board of trustees for the Junior Museum has been contacted by Harry M. Shaffer of Hudden Realty, Inc., of Schenectady, which purchased the property on which the Lansing Home is located.
Mr. Schaffer in his letter to Mr. Sothern states that “The officers and directors of the realty firm are now and always have been impressed with the desire and sentiments expressed by so many citizens of the community for the preservation of the Lansing Homestead as a historical structure.”
Schaeffer points out that with the issuing of the building permit by the city for their proposed $65,000 supermarket on the site it is imperative that the plan to move the homestead to Powers Park for historical preservation be acted on promptly.
The realtor suggested that the Lansing Homestead be moved, intact, from the site it now occupies to a portion of Powers Park directly across the street.
The park site would require city legislation because the property is a city park. Mayor Neil W. Kelleher said today that the proposal is certainly worth considering but that he would make no personal comment on the pros or cons of the proposal. The mayor pointed out that it would be a matter for the Common Council to decide on.
The council will meet in special session Friday night to receive the proposed 1962 City Budget and might also entertain the proposal of allowing a part of Powers Park to be used for the relocation of the Lansing Homestead.
The mayor said that three things will have to be determined. They are firstly that such a matter is of sufficient importance to the general public. Secondly, that is [sic] would be financially feasible and thirdly, that the matter is acceptable to the Common Council.
In his letter Mr. Schaffer also points out that in view of the fact that 2nd avenue will ultimately become an arterial highway and have considerable traffic, the Lansing Homestead could be placed in the park in such a way as to make it accessible from 3rd avenue. This he continues would make it easier and safer to approach and enter particularly to the young people who would visit such a historic site.
“The Hudden Realty would be willing to make a contribution toward any drive that your society and those public-spirited citizens who so vehemently espoused this cause, both privately and in public, and toward any campaign which your society or anyone else may conduct, in raising the necessary funds to accomplish this purpose,” Schaffer continued.
Mr. Schaffer pointed out that because of “a contractural [sic] commitment to carry out, time is of the essence.”
Pointing up this latter statement was the fact that building permits for the property, were issued yesterday to the Hudden Realty by Building Superintendent Frederick K. Ryan.
Also issued yesterday was a demolition permit to the Dean family for the property at 250 2nd Ave. Which will be the site of a $20,000 building housing Ted’s Fish Fry. This property was also involved in the recent council legislation.
Mr. Southern in commenting on Mr. Schaffer’s reply to his earlier letter said that the Junior Museum’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution recently urging every possible consideration being given to the preserving of the Lansing Homestead. This resolution was based on recommendations of Rensselaer County and state historical bodies and also at the urging of local and individual historians who maintain that the 200-year old structure should be preserved if at all possible.
The building was suggested for use by the Junior Museum, Mr. Sothern said. This would give the museum much larger facilities than it now has at 108 2nd Ave. and would permit the Junior Museum to expand and grow much larger than would be permitted in its present structure.
“But many problems arise when considering the new building,” he continued. Many relate to the city and the land of Powers Park which would require legislation if such legislation is possible.” Would the structure itself stand moving from one site to another? What would the cost of this moving entail? Who would pay for this?
Mr. Sothern said that he planned to inform the board of trustees of all these facts and will “react to their judgement.”
“Basically no official action can be taken by us until it is offered to us,” he continued.
Times Record. October 31, 1961: 11 cols 2-3, 21 cols 4-5.
Junior Museum Buys Fire House; Plans Antiques Show.
By JANE A. BENNETT
This year’s edition of the antiques show and sale for the benefit of the Rensselaer County Junior Museum will have special significance — the Museum’s board recently purchased the old J. J. Childs Fire House at 106th Street and 5th Avenue at public auction as a new enlarged home for the facility.
Director Todd Pulliam has estimated that the move will be made within the next year, but expects to do business at the present location in the fall.
The building, he said, needs much rehabilitation—new heating, plumbing and electrical systems, floors, ceilings and walls, a fire escape and a more suitable front door.
Some of the necessary money is expected to come from the proceeds of the antiques show April 26 and 29 at the Donald P. Sutherland School in Nassau. But the rest, according to Mrs. John Houghmaster, board president, will come from activities and drives not yet planned.
The fire house was built in the late 19th Century for the Childs Fire Department, and still has its original bell tower. Plans for revamping it have been drawn up with the help of Joe Fama of TAP and bids on the various jobs will soon be sought.
The entire two and a half story structure will be used for exhibit space, Pulliam said. The high ceilings will be lowered and the space between new and old ceilings put to use as storage area. […]
Times Record. April 18, 1973: 28.
The Winslow Building, the only remaining edifice of the Rensselaer campus from the late 19th century, is finding new life thanks to a bold plan to convert the building to a children’s museum. […]
The new museum, expected to open next year, looks forward to increasing its space fivefold over its current North Troy location. It is expected to generate an estimated economic impact of $5 million per year for the Capital Region as it anticipates hosting some 200,000 visitors annually. More than $3.5 million already has been raised by a capital campaign.
“From Chemistry to Kids.” Rensselaer.mag. September 1999. https://www.rpi.edu/dept/NewsComm/Magazine/sept99/approach_1.html
Junior Museum reopens
This past Thursday, the new Children’s Museum of Science and Technology opened in the former PSINet building in the RPI Technology Park. Previously called the Junior Museum, it was located across the street from the RPI approach in the Winslow building.
“Rensselaer in Brief.” Polytechnic Online. February 2, 2005. https://poly.rpi.edu/old/index.php3?IssueID=130
Chartered by the Board of Regents on behalf of the NYS Education Department in 1954, the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) is the Region’s only science center designed specifically for children.