Women's Suffrage Exhibit
The small central upstairs room is devoted to the interpretation of the suffrage movement in Warren County and commemorates the passage of Womens Right to Vote in NYS in 1917. Lisa Hall, from the Lake George Mirror, co curated this show and created the costumes for the LCBP grant-supported Lake George High School play called “Forward Into Light”(written by Catherine Reid, Lisa Adamson LGHA Curator, NCCC students and Dr. Sally Wagner) about suffrage in Lake George in the early 20th century.
Georgia O'Keefe and Alfred Steiglitz Exhibit Room
This exhibit tells the story of the presence of the famous photographer Stieglitz’s family in this region and the personal and artistic relationship between him and O’Keeffe in the several decades she was present in the area in the 1920’s and 30’s. Included in this exhibition room is a 10’ long diorama created by Clarke Dunham of Pottersville and funded by a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program which depicts in 3-d models what the main street of Lake George looked like during the years that O’Keeffe and Stieglitz lived here.
Native American Exhibit Room
Supported by a 2015-16 Conservation Grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program interprets the presence of Native Americans in this area. There is a handbook on sale in the bookstore which encapsulates this history. Area designer John Sahler (Idea Partners) implemented the graphic maps and video display for the room, and LGHA Board members helped to install the exhibition. Area photographer Charlie Kreitler, created the wall collages; area avocational archaeologist Tom Weinman loans his large panel displaying Native American artifacts found in the Southern Basin of the lake and a pestle used in AD 600. The Bob Ervien collection of arrowheads is on display; an exhibition with loans form area Abenaki families, and a case of loaned artifacts from the Museum in Albany’s Million Dollar Beach dig of 2013, plus loans from the Iroquois Museum including baskets, and Iroquois artifacts is on exhibit along with artifacts belonging to the LGHA. Kay Olan, Mohawk, provided support and material for this exhibition.
In 2014 the LGHA received funding from the Alfred Z. Solomon Foundation to restore its original flooring. The Town of Lake George, under the direction of Jim Martino, provided the restoration work, and all exhibition rooms and bookstore, plus the LGHA Library have been restored. Stairwells to the museum archive storage rooms, the president’s office and to the downstairs of the building are pending completion.
The main gallery houses many exhibitions including a display of Seneca Ray Stoddard’s photos, maps and paintings, an exhibition of the Lake George Battlefield Park curated by its director Dr. Lyn Hohman, many old artifacts found in the lake and from Lake George digs, a painting of General Montcalm donated by the Beckos family, an original bicycle-built-for-two from Gaslight Village, some works by early 20th century artist John Lithgow, the John Apperson exhibit curated by Ellen Apperson Brown, the judges’ benches, old deeds, models of 18th century soldiers and Indians by Brian Knapp, the Dudley Cresset from an 18th/ early 19th century sunken vessel and a number of interpretive presentations and videos.
The Main Gallery also hosts events and our lecture series and special talks. We present a talk on O’Keeffe and Stieglitz yearly either at the museum or in area venues such as the Caldwell Library (coming March 2019 and at Wiawaka summer 2018/2019).
Willett Trial - 1880
The most famous trial to be tried in the court house was the Willett trial. It all started on December 27, 1880. Two men, George H. Willett and John B. Pair (Willett's brother-in-law), ran a barber shop in Glens Falls.
It was 9:20 am when Charles W. Cool headed towards his home, and heard a gun shot. Addison Beecher Calvin, an officer, and L.P Juvet also heard the shot. When they arrived at the barbershop, they found John Pair dead on the floor.
Dr. McGregor and Dr. Fred B. Streeter performed an autopsy. They found a bullet had passed through the victim's left arm, entered his chest between the 7th and 8th rib, punctured both lungs, passed out the chest through another rib, and lodged in his right armpit where it was found.
On December 29, the D.A hired George S. Hotchkiss, a detective from Brooklyn. He found that Willett was the last to see Pair alive, and he also found a pistol and cartridges of the same caliber in Willett's rooming house. Willett had bought them from a gunsmith in Burlington, Vermont.
Willett was arrested on December 30, 1880 by Melville Bitely, and held until January 8 when he was committed to Warren County Jail in Caldwell (Lake George). The trial was from September 19 to the 30th, and from October 1 to 10. The trial started on Tuesday, September 20 at 9:00 am. Upon receiving the news of President Garfield's death, court was adjourned until 3:30 p.m that day.
Mr. Leets was retained as an expert witness on cartridges, and M.B. Buswell was an expert witness on the weapon used. Mrs. Wing testified that on the night of the murder, she saw a "French-Canadian" go into the alleyway. Constable Warren Allen stated that he saw a man load a revolver under a coat, also a "French-Canadian type". (Both Pair and Willett were French)
Willett was found guilty on October 10, and was sentenced to be hung on December 2. While in jail he remembered his mother telling him to trust in God. He built a church out of cigar boxes scraps of wood, and anything else he could find. Word spread about the work of the condemned man and Mr. Carpenter bought it for $450. The money was used by Willett to secure additional legal aid, and file for a second trial. This trial lasted from September 17 to October 1, 1883. It cost $9180 for the two trials.
On September, 1883 the photographer, Seneca Ray Stoddard, took a photo of the trial in progress. (see picture above) The Morning Star News said that "He threw open the doors of the court, took a photo, and ran down street."
It was argued by Charles Evans Hughes that if you refuse to answer, it can not be considered a guilty plea. On October 1, 1883, George H. Willett was found not guilty. After this, Willett disappeared, and no further information can be found on the case.
(Excerpt from a report by Mary Ellen McGowan, Lake George High School Student -- 1/23/85)
The stairwells display a Lake George Mirror exhibition, contemporary photos by Charlie Kreitler and reproductions and originals by famous painters and graphic artists drawn to Lake George.
1845 County Jail - Basement Exhibition
The LGHA basement exhibition area hosts the popular original jail cells, a show interpreting the presence of the Lake George Sheriff and Police departments, formerly housed in the original courthouse building (curated by Board member, Scott Bauberger and supported by the Golub Foundation), a two man chainsaw exhibition donated by local woodsman Gordon Ellsworth, the time capsule, old tool, ice fishing and lumbering artifacts and a display about Prospect Mountain.
"Play Soccer" Machine
"The Play Soccer Game" was invented in England. This game on display in theMuseum was produced in New York City by the Chester - Pollard Game Company. Before the game was placed in the Museum it was available for play in front of the the Kurosaka's Bazaar on Canada Street in Lake George Village, as seen in this image from an old souvenir post card. Now, it sits in our museum main exhibit gallery (right side).