WARRENSBURG - Years ago, Warrensburg's historical museum was primarily a storehouse of artifacts.
But now, after five years of work by volunteers reorganizing the collection and creating exhibits, it is much more - a series of themed environments, which dramatically gives visitors a taste of bygone life.
After being closed for more than seven years, the Warrensburgh Museum of Local History will reopen to the public at 1 p.m. Saturday July 11.
A group of Warrensburgh Historical Society members spent the last five years reorganizing the entire collection and creating all-new exhibits. The museum space, located in the VFW Building at 3754 Main Street, has also been fully renovated by the Warrensburg town employees to provide wheelchair access.
About a dozen semi-divided rooms in the museum provide exhibits that focus on the town's natural history, logging, farming, government, architecture, transportation and industry, spiritual and academic pursuits, home life, hotels and taverns, commerce and health care.
The photographs, maps and artifacts are accompanied by descriptive text that immerse people in life years ago - from pre-settlement through its establishment as a town in 1813 up through the 1900s, Museum Director Steve Parisi said Monday.
"We want to tell a story - the story of Warrensburg's history," he said.
Originally founded in 1975 by the late Isabel Cornell with the support of the Historical Society and the Town of Warrensburg, the museum became a repository for early photographs, documents, period clothing, household furniture and farm tools, all provided by local residents. Over the years, during which the original Society became dormant, the collection languished and public interest waned. In 2004, at the invitation of the Town, the newly reorganized Warrensburgh Historical Society became involved with its overhaul.
About two dozen volunteers since invested thousands of hours of work in inventorying artifacts, conducting research, and creating displays, Parisi said.
"To me, with the five years of incubation for the museum, this is the closest thing to having a baby," he said.
Admission to the museum is free. Summer hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays.
The museum entrance, fully accessible, is at the rear of the building, where limited parking is available.
For details, contact Parisi at 623-2928, or 623-2207, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Historical Society's web address is www.whs12885.org.