Canal Museum plans expansion
By Willie Kiernan
The Erie Canal Museum is expanding into the old Water Street Gym next door and Diana Goodsight, Erie Canal Museum Executive Director announced that local architectural firm, Edwin Harrington Architects, P.C. has been selected to design the museum's recently acquired building.
"This project will revitalize our museum, our block, our city and the way we portray our story to the nation," Goodsight said.
The museum is housed in the National Register 1850 Weighlock Building where canal boats were weighed to assess a toll on their cargo. It is the only remaining structure of its kind in America.
Harrington, whose office is within a block of the place, is familiar with downtown Syracuse. His firm worked on the Parkview Hotel, the Genesee Grand and others.
"The idea is that it will be more of the museum," Harrington said.
Though plans are in the very early stages, Harrington expects to remove the skin of the old gym but not copy the canal building at all, to accentuate the authenticity of the historic building.
"It'll be a different look and have a life of its own," Harrington said.
The renovation is set to break ground in March of 2009 with a grand opening in the fall of 2009.
"Our vision is to create an arena where the Erie Canal Museum can become the pre-eminent history museum in upstate New York," Goodsight said.
The Erie Canal Museum, located at 318 Erie Boulevard East in downtown Syracuse, is the nation's premier maritime museum specializing in Erie Canal history. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Admission is free. For more information call 471-0593 or visit eriecanalmuseum.org.