It was standing room only Monday June 6 in the meeting room of the Creamery as the Skaneateles Historical Society held an open house for Society members and village and town officials to view its new museum wing expansion.
The event was especially auspicious, however, as only hours before the Lightning No. 1 sailboat, on two-year loan from the Mystic Seaport maritime museum, had arrived and been installed in the new Boat and Transportation building.
"This is a wonderful day for Skaneateles and for boat lovers," said Karlene Miller, SHS president, during her opening remarks.
The open house was not just about the Lightning, however, but about the overall museum expansion project, which is nearing completion.
In the Creamery itself, the current gift shop space soon will be converted to an administrative office for the director, and a new gift shop area will be created. The original cooler room of the Creamery is being revamped for an improved research area; and a new entranceway, in the center of the building between the Creamery and the new wing, will soon be operating as the main door.
The highlight of the changes, however, is the new Boat and Transportation wing, which is located in what once was the boiler plant for the original operating creamery. It houses eight Skaneateles-built boats on display: a Lightning sailboat, Comet sailboat and Rhodes Bantam sailboat, two antique canoes and five antique rowboats.
"I'm stunned," said recently-elected Village Trustee Mary Sennett. "They've done a wonderful job. Skaneateles is so lucky to have such dedicated people in its historical society."
Trustee John Cromp, on his first visit to both the new wing and the Creamery, said he was "just amazed by it all."
The SHS has spent about $800,000 on the expansion project, the majority of which came from private donations. When that money ran out, however, State Sen. John A. DeFrancisco (R-I-C Syracuse secured a $75,000 earmark from the state to complete the work.