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Erie Canal Museum to be renovated

— The Erie Canal Museum is the official museum of the Erie Canal, located in the only remaining weighlock building in America, on Erie Boulevard in downtown Syracuse. The weighlock building was originally built in 1850 and was saved from demolition in the 1950s. The weighlock building served as one of the five stopping points on the Erie Canal where the State weighed the boat’s freight and charged a toll. The building was converted to the Erie Canal Museum on Oct. 25, 1962. The museum is owned by Onondaga County, and at our recent legislative session, we unanimously approved a resolution that will advance the funding to upgrade and redesign the first floor of the exhibition.

A few years ago, the New York State Canal Corporation awarded the Erie Canal Museum a Greenway Grant in the amount of $225,000 to make improvements to the museum. Onondaga County has agreed to advance the funds for this project which will be 100 percent reimbursed by the state. Additionally, the museum has received $135,000 in private donations to cover some of the project costs. The museum also secured a $100,000 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Lastly, Onondaga County will administer $500,000 from various state and federal project funding sources.

The $960,000 budget will be used to upgrade and redesign portions of the exhibit in order to more accurately tell the story of the Erie Canal and specifically, the process boats went through at the weighlock station. The museum’s curator has designed an interactive video that will take visitors through a visual process of weighing the boats and charging the toll. Last year, more than 850,000 visitors made their way to the Erie Canal Museum, many of them children and young adults. The improvements are geared towards engaging our youth to explain the historical significance of the Erie Canal system in an educational and interactive way.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Kathy Rapp represents the fifth district which includes portions of the towns of Salina, Cicero and DeWitt. Kathy welcomes constituent feedback; she can be reached by email at rappkathleen5@gmail.com or by phone at 451-5294.

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