Located in an old school house, the Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown has something of interest for every member of the family. Some exhibits are being updated so we are steered downstairs toward the antique carriages and display cases.
There is a huge interactive map where my children work together to track our journey to Elizabethtown by lighting up the various map destinations we had passed earlier in the day. The bottom floor displays carriages, pony cart, peddler's wagon and horse-drawn fire truck.
My husband keeps wandering back to the folding canoe while I am interested in the display of old Adirondack brochures highlighting amusement parks and destinations. It is interesting to see places depicted at their peak that I only know as decaying road signs, like Frontier Town and the Land of Make Believe.
My son and daughter are drawn to very different activities while walking around.
One child stands open-mouthed before a case holding theskull of Henry Debosny, the last person to be hanged in Essex County. Debosny murdered his wife and upon his execution bartered his cadaver for a new "hanging" suit. The local doctor that made the trade used the skeletal remains for educational purposes. The noose that ended Debosny's life now shares the display case with his skull. The story is more grisly than the display.
The other child waffles between playing school at the wooden desks and going back to the antique doll collection. Though most of the dolls are behind glass, children don't have to just sit and stare longingly at a roomfull of untouchable toys. In the center of the room sits a fully furnished dollhouse just waiting to be played with.
One highlight of the visit is to climb to the top of the adjacent fire tower. This particular steel tower was reconstructed from two different fire towers. At the top we can see all around Elizabethtown village and surrounding mountains. In the distance my daughter glimpses Hurricane Mountain. She remembers climbing that mountain and comments on how getting to that fire tower was a bit more challenging than the museum's. Just a bit.
We exit through the Colonial Garden, which is just coming into bloom. I want the gazebo nestled between trees and bushes but will have to be satisfied with just a picture.
The museum is open from late May to mid-October from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information contact the Adirondack History Center Museum, Court Street in Elizabethtown at 518-873-6466. Adults are $5.00, Seniors $4.00, Students $2.00 and children ages six and under are free.
Diane Chase's Adirondack Family Time Tip: Don't forget the Elizabethtown Farmers' Market is held behind the Adirondack History Center Museum each Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
all photos and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.