Touching Story: New Home for the Williamstown Historical Museum | Archives


WILLIAMSTOWN – Sometimes history has a way of coming back.

This is why Sarah Currie spends so much time researching local history and all of its artifacts and archives.

Today, as Executive Director of the Williamstown Historical Museum, she has made history happen.

The museum will hold a grand opening ceremony Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at its new location just south of Five Corners at 32 New Ashford Road.

The historical museum will be housed in a historic building, the former home of the South Center School, which is located in the historic Five Corners district. Some might call it a historic treble.

“With the new signage, this quaint building brings a bright face to the museum,” said Currie.

The school was established in 1810 in what is now known as Bloedel Park at the Five Corners intersection between New Ashford Road and Hancock Road, or routes 7 and 43, said Currie.

In 1860, the school moved to a new building just down the street. It served as a school for over 100 years. It then became a nursery school in the 1970s, and it closed in 2009.

And that’s just the story of the building. The story inside the building is even more intriguing, with over 10,000 artifacts including antique arrowheads, antique farming implements, a wicket from the 1877 Waterman & Moore opera house, weapons old and even hardcover copies of local newspapers – including the Williamstown News and the Advocate – from the early 1800s.

The very first building in what is now Williamstown was built in 1753, so there is a lot of rich history to be pursued.

The grand opening will feature punch, cookies and history. There will be special speakers and new exhibits of treasures from the collection. Overflow parking will be available at Bloedel Park, a short walk away. At 3,000 square feet, the museum’s storage area is now larger and the exhibit area is slightly smaller, although all exhibits fit in the smaller space, noted Currie.

Currie said the new location is much more visible to the public than the old location, behind the Milne Public Library, without exterior signage.

There is a children’s room, with a blackboard and antique desks, the kind where the wooden chair is attached to the wooden desk with cast iron fixings and the desks have that little inkwell hole.

There is also an office, a meeting room and a large backyard with a barbecue.

The storage area is a history buffs paradise, with stacks of books, records and a wide variety of artifacts, including the former Gale Hose Company’s horse-drawn pipe cart and truck steamer that once belonged to the wife of composer and songwriter Cole Porter.

The building is city-owned and the museum has been granted a 50-year lease, with a rental rate of $ 1 per year, through the efforts of former city manager Peter Fohlin and current city manager Jason Hoch, has said Currie.

She noted that at the end of the lease, artefacts from the current era could become part of a historical exhibit at the museum.

Currie said she enjoyed the move as she was able to catalog a bunch of historical artifacts and documents.

“We are so lucky,” she said. “We were able to keep everything that is really valuable and attracts the most people.”

Contact editor Scott Stafford at 413-496-6301.

If you are going to …

What: Official opening of the new Williamstown Historical Museum

When: from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday

Where: 32 New Ashford Road, just south of Five Corners

Info: Call 413-458-2160 or email

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Patrick F. Williams

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