Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

May 10, 2007

For Release: Immediate
Press Contact:
Eileen Larrabee
Catherine Jimenez

Peebles Island Resources Center Hosts Annual Open House

Visitors Offered Tour of 20th Century Canal Barge and Traveling Museum

(Albany, NY, May 10, 2007 . . . ) New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash today announced the New York State preservation and conservation center at Peebles Island State Park in Waterford will host its annual Open House on Saturday, May 19, 2007 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Peebles Island Resource Center opens its doors to the public once a year for a behind-the-scenes tour of the incredible collection of artifacts and treasures from New York State historic sites and other state-owned landmarks.

"The annual Open House provides a rare opportunity for visitors to experience the history of New York and the meticulous care and effort that are taken to preserve and revitalize our state's cultural heritage," said Ash. "This year we celebrate the important role of our historic waterways and local communities and the tremendous contributions they have made in shaping the future of the nation. The staff at Peebles Island is dedicated to safeguarding our most valued treasured, and I encourage everyone in the region to attend Open House and enjoy the outstanding work of some of America's finest experts."

The Resource Center will be offering a variety of activities throughout the day, including self-guided tours of the conservation laboratories, where some of the most important historic treasures in the state are restored. For the first time, visitors will have an opportunity to tour the Day Peckinpaugh, an early 20th century canal barge that will become a traveling canal museum.

Built in 1921, the Day Peckinpaugh was the first vessel ever designed specifically for the dimensions of the Barge Canal and is one of the largest vessels remaining that worked on the waterway. The massive cargo of the Day Peckinpaugh will be restored and transformed into exhibit and classroom space. Historians from the New York State Museum and National Park Service will discuss the history and future plans for the Peckinpaugh.

The Open House will highlight the 200th Anniversary of the Clermont Steamboat, America's first practical steamboat, and other steamboats that have played a role in the history of New York State; and celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the New York State Heritages Areas, a state-local partnership established to preserve and develop neighborhoods and communities that have special significance to the history of the state. Several of the 19 Heritage Areas statewide, including Albany, Saratoga and the Mohawk Valley Heritage Areas, will join in the Open House.

Visitors can view the conservation progress of 19th century chairs and textiles from Olana; participate in a discussion of how to repair extensive damage to a 1840s portrait; and observe the effects and subtle differences of early mass produced furniture.

Other displays include unusual artifacts, industrial remains and conservation tools, including items that a person may have taken on a steamboat journey. Civil War flags from the New State Battle Flag Collection will be on display. The flags are part of the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project, a joint effort between New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center.

Local preservation organizations and historical museums will be present with information and displays. Guided history tours and lectures are scheduled as well as performances by the Waterford-Halfmoon Jazz Ensemble.

The Peebles Island Resource Center is the headquarters for the Bureau of Historic Sites within the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Bureau of Historic Sites provides preservation assistance and interpretive support to 35 state historic sites and over 176 state parks. The conservation laboratories care for historic objects housed in New York's state historic sites and other state-owned facilities. The conservators specialize in archeology, paintings, gilded objects and frames, textiles, furniture, decorative arts and paper.

The approximately 158-acre Peebles Island State Park is located at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers and offers spectacular river views. Visitors are always welcome to enjoy exhibits at the Visitor Center and the many outdoor activities at the park including fishing, hiking, canoeing, and picnicking.

For more information about historic preservation, please visit the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation web site at or call 518-237-8643.