Explore Museums in Johnstown, NY

Area museums show how Johnstown, NY played a historical role in baseball, big-game hunting and more.

On Monday, March 5, 2012 - 12:47

By highlighting its rich past, Fulton County’s museums make sure today's visitors and residents experience the region’s pivotal, historical role in baseball, big-game hunting and more. While there’s plenty of indoor culture to be found here, sports and the great outdoors are a major draw in a region known as the Gateway to the Adirondacks.

Baseball History

New York state has a rich history in baseball, and so does Fulton County. The sport's local history has been getting plenty of notice at an exhibit, the History of Baseball, which was on display at the Fulton County Historical Society & Museum through May 2010. The multimedia collection also is traveling the region, both in pieces and in its entirety, including a long-term stop at the Gloversville Little League until it can find a permanent home.

“It documents the history of baseball in Fulton County from the 1800s to the present,” says Mike Hauser, president of Twin Cities Sports Promotions and a lifelong collector of baseball memorabilia. “I thought it covered our history pretty well, but once we opened we found whole new areas that hadn’t been included or explored, so we’re looking to add new information all the time.”

Everything from local lads who made good to visits from such notables as Cy Young is featured, as well as local industries such as Rawlings Sporting Goods’ Adirondack bat manufacturing plant in Dolgeville and the Henry Denkert Baseball Glove Factory, which provided gloves and mitts for years.

Outdoor Game Sports

Another type of game takes center stage at the Wildlife Sports & Education Museum, which offers up 14,000 square feet of art, artifacts and memorabilia related to hunting, fishing and other outdoor game sports. It took a while to get up and running, but since opening four years ago the museum has been steadily adding to its collection and now is looking at building an annex for a research library, says Robert Kasmierski, president of the museum’s board of directors and a driving force behind its creation.

“We wanted to have something for the outdoor people like what they have for the baseball folks, and so this is about those who hunt, fish and trap,” Kasmierski says. “We’ve got more than 120 deer heads on the display, probably one of the best deer-head collections in North America. We’ve also got life-size buffalos, mountain goats and mountain sheep, as well as a whole bunch of firearms, fishing tackle, traps, bows and arrows showing how different hunting implements have changed over the years.”

Rounding out the picture are the Fulton County Historical Society & Museum in Gloversville, which sits in the midst of the Historic District of Old Kingsborough, and the Arkell Museum at Canojoharie, which opened a new facility in 2007 and features both permanent and touring exhibitions on American art and Mohawk Valley history.

“It’s surprising that this little community has so many works by so many noted American artists,” says Diane Forsberg, chief curator of the Arkell. “We have 21 paintings by Winslow Homer, for example, representing the whole span of his career.”

Read more on galleries in Johnstown, NY.