A day of history and art

Lisa Emden of Ephratah and Robert Metzger of Johnstown stand in colonial garb as two of the representatives of an exhibit of historic Fort Klock in St. Johnsville. The exhibit was part of the Arkell Museum’s community day Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

CANAJOHARIE — Arkell Museum drew a steady stream of visitors at its community day Saturday—ranging from children who like animals to serious art and history buffs.

“My brother loves dogs,” said Cecelia Wilkinson, 4, about her 11-year-old brother, Andrew.

Her mom, Cassandra, on the other hand, likes art museums, found Arkell online, and was willing to travel some 37 miles from Scotia to Arkell than rather a shorter 26 miles to a more congested downtown Albany.

The museum’s theme was animals—”The Wild Side”—and its crafts for children and exhibits reflected that.

Youngsters could draw pictures of two dogs there—the beagle Trigger and the labrador-hound mix Rowey from the Ayers Animal Shelter.

Richelle Russo of Canajoharie was guiding her son, Gracynn Kretser, and his son’s friend, Landon Boght, in the drawing. She said she appreciated Arkell because “it’s hard when you’re in a small community to find things to do.”

Grace Orsillo of Fort Plain and Sarah Reese of Nelliston got into a craft to create animal-eared handbands.

“They have amazing summer programs here,” such as reading, speakers and interactive projects for youths through 12th grade, said Kathy Fatta of Canajoharie. She brought her daughters, Giavanna, 7, and Ava, 11, because of that.

On the more historical side were exhibits by the Ames Museum, historic Fort Klock and Schoharie Crossing State Park.

Paul Kuhn of Cooperstown dropped by the Ames exhibits and was treated to a startling fact by its director and Ames village historian Dennis Malcolm.

Malcolm talked about the value of old newspapers and pointed out that the former Rochester American of 1850 laid out the entire $52 million federal budget in five columns, about 40 inches. The United States then comprised 30 states.

“I come here all the time because of the exhibits,” said Kuhn.

Other exhibitors were the Audubon Society of the Capital Region and the Canajoharie Chamber of Commerce.

The museum’s two major exhibits right now are “Animals in Bronze: The Michael and Mary Erlanger Collection of Animalier Bronzes from the Georgia Museum of Art” and the “Canada Lake Portraits: Animal Prints, Drawings and Paintings by American Artist Paul Bransom.”

The event is “a chance to bring the local community into the museum,” said Jenna Peterson Riley, Arkell’s curator of education and public engagement. It is one of several community days the museum holds annually from its opening on March 1 through the end of the calendar year.

By Patricia Older

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