VILLAGE OF MANLIUS – The Manlius Historical Museum recently reopened for its 2023 season with some new exhibits to share with the public.
With its porch flag waving in the wind to signal that anyone and everyone could enter, the museum at 101 Scoville Ave. in Manlius held its opening on July 4 this year, just like it has for previous seasons.
On the wall of the front room was a display of photos and facts relating to the Ledyard Canal courtesy of the Fayetteville Historic Preservation Commission, including a picture of the village of Fayetteville’s symbolic stone arch on Warren Street, one of the Orchard Street bridge, one of the Morrison Glove Shop from years ago, and several historic photos of the Beard & Crouse Paper Mill.
In the side room of the museum, there were separate infographics about Green Lakes State Park, one-time Fayetteville resident and two-time United States President Grover Cleveland, and the history of the Fayetteville Inn, which was demolished in 2000.
Under glass a few feet away is a sample of the Vincent Motto collection of song books donated to the Fayetteville Free Library, including sheet music for “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”
In the back room is an exhibit dedicated to original Suburban Park memorabilia on loan from Mike Allen of Boise, Idaho, who used to live next door to the family that owned the Manlius amusement park.
That transported display, which was brought in for the 50th anniversary of Suburban Park’s closing in 1973, features one of the four witch’s head props from the Laff in the Dark funhouse. A newly engineered motor makes the eyes blink and the mouth move just like they did when the park was open.
Another piece from that section of the museum is the Lollipop Scale that weighed people for the cost of a penny outside the Suburban Park arcade, and next to it is a framed photo of the trolley that dropped off a few dozen people at a time near the park entrance.
Linda Bailey, the director of the connected Manlius Historical Society, said more people than anticipated showed up to the museum on its opening day. She said everyone who stopped in showed interest in the displays, lingered instead of rushing through, and asked thoughtful questions.
“We’re elated with the turnout,” Bailey said that afternoon. “I think people were genuinely surprised at what we have for such a small museum.”
Sue Collin, the museum’s docent tasked with greeting visitors and showing them around, said this most recent July 4 was the building’s busiest day since she started volunteering there about five years ago.
Some, even if they’ve lived in the village of Manlius for years, admitted it was their first time visiting, Bailey said. Collin added that on several occasions people expressed an intention to donate family heirlooms associated with the history of the local area.
In past years, heads of the historical society have donned colonial garb to go along with the Independence Day opening, but regardless of the clothing worn, Bailey said the holiday is a fitting date to open the museum because people are already walking around the village because of the festivities happening.
The current exhibits will stay up through October, weather permitting, and new ones will be added weekly. The museum at the corner of Scoville and Smith streets is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and admission is free.
For more information, visit the Facebook page titled “Manlius Historical Society, Museum, and The Manlius Town Shop.”