Thanks to generous support from Baillie Lumber, the Chenango County Historical Society (CCHS) will host a Living History & Industrial Heritage Festival on Oct. 8, with several activities planned in celebration of Path Through History weekend.
Over the years, Chenango County factories, foundries, and mills have produced agricultural implements, dairy products, fishing line, household goods, mechanical devices, musical instruments, textiles, tools, wire equipment, and numerous other products. Many industries and local culture thrived along the banks of an essential transportation waterway: the Chenango Canal.
Shortly after the museum opens at 10 a.m., “Kandi’s Kitchen” food truck will open in the parking lot so that visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch on the CCHS campus.
Throughout the day, guests can experience the remarkable inventions of David Maydole through hands-on demonstrations and “An ‘Adz’ Eye for Innovation” exhibit. Celebrating the remarkable legacy of the Oxford blacksmith whose hammer redesign forever changed toolboxes, this display also pays tribute to the tremendous role that the Chenango Canal had in the development of this innovative company.
In the “Chenango Canal” exhibit building – home of “The Lillie” model packet-boat – special guests from the Chenango Canal Association (CCA) will share their mission to preserve the canal, surrounding waters, and land. Featuring a brief video detailing their efforts to maintain the canal as both an historic and public recreation site, the CCA guests will also host an interactive canal lock model, complete with circulating water, so that museum visitors can experience basic engineering principles used during canal operations.
At 1 p.m. in the Miller Pavilion, live theater and original music bring to life the fictional account of “Minstrels, Trappers, Peddlers and Pirates Along the Chenango Canal.” Join this fun and adventurous journey as living history performers portray real, historical characters as they traveled along the Chenango Canal in the 1870s. Prior to the show, meet the cast of characters as they wander about the festival in period costumes.
Just outside the “Chenango Canal” exhibit will be additional interactive stations for guests to experience other historical inventions used throughout Chenango County over the years, such as a vintage cider mill press. The Loomis Barn will host interactive demonstrations related to how communications and electronics technology have contributed to the development of Chenango County.
During the Living History & Industrial Heritage Festival, CCHS is pleased to debut three of its newest acquisitions related to industry, all from the renowned Ireland Machine & Foundry Company. The mechanization of rural America was increasing just as the centuries changed from the 19th to the 20th, with industry generating all manner of labor-saving inventions for all aspects of life on the family farm. During the first thirty years of his career, A. Bertsell Ireland honed his innovative skills at the Lyon Iron Works in Greene. He then opened the Ireland Machine & Foundry Company which went on to generate even more useful and refined products for the lumber industry. Throughout the festival, guests will have the opportunity to see both live and pre-recorded demonstrations featuring these industrial marvels in action.
“We are so grateful for the opportunity to host this Living History & Industrial Heritage Festival thanks to the generosity of Baillie Lumber,” said Jessica Moquin, CCHS executive director. “Financial investments like this offer our community the opportunity to experience unique local history through hands-on activities and live demonstrations.”
First established in 1939, CCHS is the primary organization dedicated to actively and comprehensively preserving the history of Chenango County. The area’s premier heritage museum, the organization celebrates local culture – unique traditions, noteworthy residents, and unusual stories of the region. CCHS programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
During Path Through History weekends, special events are held to highlight historically and culturally significant sites, and offer new perspectives on New York state’s heritage. For more information, visit www.ChenangoHistorical.org or call (607) 334-9227, ext. 2.