See Part One of our visit to the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse. This is Part Two.
After pulling the children off the packet boat and into the Museum, we wandered around the halls. There was a great deal to see and explore, and I wanted to soak it all in. From the packet boat display, we entered into the original 1850 building. I was overcome by the architectural beauty of the building.
The ceilings and walls were covered with elaborate pressed metal from the 1850s (I have some of it in my own house, still). There were several layers of paint covering it, which gave it a soft appearance. I’d never seen walls done this way. The trim was in wood. The lighting looked original, too; I later saw a photo of NYS engineers’ office from the 40s, and the lights were the same. Imagine– a canal weighlock building designed so beautifully! It’s funny, how such elegant buildings were built for such mundane or totally pragmatic functions. I’d recently seen photos of the Utica Psychiatric Building, which is the greatest example of Greek Revival architecture, but was built as a mental hospital and later became a place for alcohol and drug rehab. Amazing.
We wandered around a few rooms and enjoyed displays of everything from packet boat models to artifacts to office reproductions.
I was thrilled to see an entire section devoted to Elizabeth Cotten. How I used to love singing her old songs! I didn’t know she was from Syracuse until I moved away. Her song, “Freight Train,” was one of my favorites as a kid.
Libba Cotten’s Grammy and her SAMMY award were on display, too. There were displays about Syracuse’s salt mines, shoe manufacturing, and the lovely Syracuse China.
As if all this wasn’t enough, there was another floor to the Museum. We enjoyed our elevator ride up.
We entered the second-floor into a number of life-sized displays from the Erie Canal days, including a tavern, a general store, and a theatre stage. Elsewhere on the floor are an exhibition called “The Art of the Draughtsman” which featured original drawings of the Canal plans, and photographs. And there was a huge dress-up area with children’s tables, books, toys, bean bags, and puppets and a puppet stage. Needless to say, the kids LOVED every second of it.
I saw another hair wreath! I’d first seen one when we visited the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie. What weird things! This one was very intricate.
A curio cabinet displayed beautiful dishes. We found one with Utica on it!
The Utica plate information had me stunned. I never knew Utica was once “inferior to none in the western section of the state”! This is proof that Utica was thriving before the Italian mafia took over! Ha!
The kids had a blast in the children’s area, even the teenagers.
We had an absolutely wonderful time! I’m glad we decided to go!