A hearse constructed in about 1880 and used in Warrensburgh during the late 1800s and early 1900s, is featured in the Adirondack Museum’s Roads & Rails exhibit. The public can see this and several other historic exhibits at no charge during the museum’s FrostFest event, set for Feb. 18 and 19. FrostFest includes a variety of family oriented activities. The historic hearse from Warrensburg features both snow runners and wheels so it could be used year-round. The hearse was donated to the museum in the mid-1950s by Orton & McCloskey Funeral Home of Warrensburg. Photo courtesy of Adirondack Museum
The Adirondack Museum will soon be featuring Winter Warmup — an array of programs, exhibits and activities from Feb. 14 through Feb. 23 designed to lift spirits midway through winter.
In a collection at the museum is a handcrafted antique hearse from Warrensburg, which features both snow skis and wheels which were changed to meet prevailing weather conditions, according to Jennifer Bine, Director of Interpretation for the museum.
The ornate, horse-drawn hearse was owned and used by Warrensburg mortician Joseph Woodward from 1885 to 1914, and by Barry Woodward, also a mortician in Warrensburg, from 1914 through 1947. The hearse was then passed on to the Orton & McCloskey Funeral Home, which donated it to the Adirondack Museum in the mid-1950s. The hearse was built in about 1880 by George Brownell of New Bedford, Mass.
The hearse is featured in the exhibit “Roads and Rails: Everyday Life in the Age of Horses, which will be open to the public at no charge from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 18 and Wednesday, Feb. 19 during the museum’s FrostFest days.
During the Winter Warmup weeks in mid-February, the museum’s Visitor’s Center will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, featuring free admission to their Celebration of Community History exhibit. This display features historical objects and stories from around the Adirondacks, including 1700s canister rounds from Fort Ticonderoga, items from Arto Monaco’s Land of Make Believe in Upper Jay NY, and artifacts that lend glimpses into life, work and recreation in the Adirondacks many years ago.
Throughout the Winter Warmup, year-round Adirondack Park residents can also purchase museum memberships at half-price, starting at $20. Such memberships offer a long list of benefits.
FrostFest days include outdoor fun, and participatory programs for families along with selected free exhibits. These two days feature free indoor children’s activities like making snowflakes from birch bark, creating plaster casts of animal tracks, art workshops, crafting bird feeders from pine cones, and more.
The Roads and Rails exhibit, with free entry during FrostFest, features not only the Warrensburg snow hearse but other horse-drawn equipment used in the Adirondacks including a snow roller, plows, sleighs, and a U.S. Mail sled. Also open at no charge during Frost Fest days is an extensive exhibit on Adirondack logging and another depicting outdoor recreation in bygone years. The latter includes the cabin where Adirondack hermit Noah John Rondeau lived.
Weather permitting, free outdoor “FrostFest” activities include snowshoeing on museum grounds, snow-sculpting and painting and various games.
Winter Warmup also includes two programs from the museum’s “Cabin Fever Sundays” series. Admission is free for museum members, students, and children; $5 for non-members.
On Sunday, Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m., historian John Warren, editor of Adirondack Almanack, will present a program on Adirondack snowmobile history. On Sunday Feb. 23 at 1:30 p.m., ornithologist Joan Collins will present a program on regional winter birds at the Tannery Pond Community Center, 228 Main St. in North Creek.