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Step Back in Time at Schoharie's Old Stone Fort Museum

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2019-08-04 08:13:00

This summer, don’t miss the chance to visit the Old Stone Fort Museum, where artifacts, exhibits, and the buildings themselves tell the story of Schoharie County and rural Upstate New York throughout the ages.

Located between Central New York and the Capital Region, the 25-acre complex includes eight historic and exhibit buildings, more than 60,000 artifacts, a research library, museum store, picnic area and more. The highlight of the museum is the Old Stone Fort itself, which was originally built in 1772 as a High Dutch Reformed Church. In 1777, during the early days of the Revolutionary War, the church was repurposed into a fort thanks to its sturdy stone construction, tall tower and location on a hillside overlooking the Schoharie Creek and valley beyond. In 1780, the fort was attacked during the Johnson Raid, making it the site of a Revolutionary War battle.

Today, exhibits and on-site interpreters tell the military history of this original building, while the second floor gallery is a Victorian-style “museum of a museum” and still appears much the same as it did more than 130 years ago when it was established.  Items on display cover the gamut of history in the area, from 350 million-year old fossils to a fire engine built before George Washington was born. In fact, one of the most popular highlights of a visit to the Old Stone Fort is being able to see the actual cannonball hole along the roof line of the fort which was left during the raid; inside the museum, you can see the cannonball itself on display.

Other highlights of the complex include a restored New World Dutch Barn housing an exhibit of 18th and 19th century tools and agricultural implements; an 1890s one-room schoolhouse where visitors can sit at the students’ desks and try their hand at the lessons of a century ago; the early 18th century two-room Hartmann’s Dorf dwelling; an exhibit of 20th century communications technology; and Schoharie's first automobile, a 1903 Rambler.

Families with young children will appreciate museum’s interactive exhibits, which highlight historically significant locations throughout the county and let them experience the toys, games, home life and school life of youngsters during the colonial era and beyond. Kids particularly love to play in the one-room schoolhouse, where they can put on old-time costumes, sit at the desks, write on slates, and even ring the school bell. There’s also a scavenger hunt for artifacts in the fort’s second floor exhibits that kids and adults both enjoy, and the kids can get prizes in the museum store for completing it.

The Old Stone Fort is open from May until October. For more info on events, hours, or the museum itself, check out www.theoldstonefort.org or find The Old Stone Fort on social media.

View of the fort photo credit Old Stone Fort
Reeanctors marching photo credit Old Stone Fort
Candle dipping photo credit Old Stone Fort
Reenactor with child photo credit Old Stone Fort
Museum complex buildings photo credit Old Stone Fort

posted at: 2019-08-04 08:13:00, last updated: 2020-03-17 19:57:34

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