Historic Palmyra

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Basic Information

Address: 132 Market St. Palmyra, NY 14522
Phone Number: (315) 597-6981
Director: Bonnie Hays

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Historic Palmyra
Historic Palmyra
Historic Palmyra
Historic Palmyra

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Additional Information

Description:

HISTORIC PALMYRA is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving the history and architectural heritage of Palmyra, New York. Once known as the "Queen of Erie Canal Towns," Palmyra boasts an astonishing array of architecture, ranging from the early 1800s to Victorian era grandeur.

Historic Palmyra's mission is to save the history of Palmyra and vicinity through the preservation of architecture, artifacts, and archives. Historic Palmyra teaches and educates through the five museums and their collections. This mission is served primarily through the operation of five unique museums, welcoming thousands of visitors each year.

The Palmyra Historical Museum, at 132 Market St., Palmyra, contains 23 themed rooms that contain collections pertaining to Palmyra's vast history. Here, visitors will find information on everything from the Civil War to the early businesses of Palmyra. Housed in an 1826 building that was expanded in 1898, the museum also gives visitors a look at the historic architecture of what was once a tavern, restaurant, and boarding house.

The next and newest museum is the Erie Canal Depot Museum, at 136 Market St., Palmyra. The Erie Canal Depot is located in an 1830s tenant house, which features much of its original architecture. Here, you can envision yourself as a passenger on the Erie Canal in the 1800s. You will see original artifacts used for business and travel. Several dioramas, a peek into the mule stalls below, and a new mural are used to illustrate what life was in Palmyra with the Erie Canal.

Next to the Depot is the Palmyra Print Shop Museum, at 140 1/2 Market St., Palmyra. This museum features examples of some of the finest printing equipment ever made. In 1856, John M. Jones arrived in Palmyra and changed the face of the printing industry. For 63 years, Jones' company produced printing presses and cutters for export around the world via the Erie Canal. Displays include Jones' equipment, equipment from the Palmyra Courier-Journal newspaper, printing blocks, and more.

The Wm. Phelps General Store, at 140 Market St., Palmyra, brings visitors back in time. The museum "where time stands still," has served the needs of Palmyrans and Erie "Canawlers" as a boarding house, tavern, bakery, and general store since its construction in 1826. Proprietor William Phelps completed renovations to the store by 1875, subsequently left untouched by his son Julius, who locked the doors in 1940, leaving a curious retail time capsule for visitors to explore. Upstairs you'll visit the elegant Phelps' family home with post-Civil War furnishings and Victorian splendor, unspoiled by electricity or indoor plumbing, where Sibyl Phelps resided until her passing in 1976!

The Alling Coverlet Museum is just across the parking lot at 122 William St., Palmyra. The Alling features the largest collection of American hand woven coverlets in the United States. It is named for Mrs. Merle Alling, Rochester, New York resident and coverlet collector, and is housed in a 1901 newspaper printing office. All styles of hand woven coverlets from 1820 to 1880 are represented in an extraordinary collection, which takes over six years to rotate through public display. The collection also includes a quilt room, looms, spinning wheels, and other assorted weaver's tools.

In addition to the five museums of Historic Palmyra, guides also lead group tours at local historical locations such as the historical Aqueduct Park, original Erie Canal towpath, Underground Railroad sites, and other locations around the village of Palmyra.

Grade Levels:
Pre-K
K-5
6-8
9-12
Disabled Access:

All first floors of museums are wheelchair accessible.

Program Type:

Historic Palmyra offers several types of school tours and is committed to tailoring any tour to the needs of the visiting group. It is a part of the Erie Canalway Ticket to Ride program which provides funding for admissions and transportation, allowing schools to experience great field trips with no cost to them.

The most popular tour for school groups focuses on Erie Canal and Palmyra history. The tour begins at the historical Aqueduct Park, where students can see a historical change bridge, the original aqueduct support pillars, the old power house, and the original canal bed. A short walk brings students to the current lock on the modern canal. Often the locktender is available to talk and show the lock in action. After visiting these locations, the tour follows the original towpath on a nature walk to see the flora and fauna of Palmyra and the overgrown canal bed. The nature walk leads students to the museums of Historic Palmyra where students split into smaller groups to tour the museums of Historic Palmyra. Any combination of the museums can be toured. There is also a pavilion near by where students can eat lunch.

In addition to the Erie Canal/museum tour, we also offer tours of the museums on their own, in any combination. Between the five museums - Palmyra Historical Museum, Erie Canal Depot, Print Shop Museum, Phelps General Store, and Alling Coverlet Museum - there are collections suited to many topics. These are great locations to learn about New York State and local history.

Historic Palmyra also offers tours of the village of Palmyra that focus on the Underground Railroad, with several Underground Railroad locations within walking distance of the museums. With advanced notice, tours are typically able to access the interior of one of these locations to give students perspective on the experiences of those involved in the Underground Railroad.

These are just some of the tours available. Historic Palmyra is always happy to customize a program to fit the visiting group.

Admission/Tickets: Varies, costs can be covered by the Erie Canalway Ticket to Ride program
Registration: Please call the museum at (315) 597-6981 to book.
Food: A pavilion is available down the road from the museums for students to eat packed lunches.
Length of Visit: Varies
Exhibits: Palmyra history, Civil War, modern wars, kitchen equipment, tools, toys, doctor equipment, local religions, local organizations, photography, painting, whaling, local merchants, historical furniture, local portraits, Erie Canal history, Erie Canal dioramas, maps, printing equipment, Phelps General Store, Phelps family residence, handwoven coverlets, quilts, weaving equipment, and textile equipment.
Freebies: Erie Canal coloring books, bookmarks, and stickers. Subject to availability.
Gift Shop/Factory Outlet: Gift shop at Alling Coverlet Museum.
Amenities: Bathrooms in three of the museums. Bathrooms also available at the pavilion down the road.
Reservations Needed: Yes
Directions:

From Rochester, NY:
Take I-490E to Exit 26. Bear RIGHT (East) onto PITTSFORD/PALMYRA RD (NY-31). Continue to follow NY-31 East for 13.4 miles into the Village of Palmyra, NY. Turn left onto MARKET ST. Continue 0.1 miles. End at 132 MARKET ST in Palmyra.

From Buffalo, NY or Syracuse, NY:
Take I-90 (New York State Thruway) to Exit 43 (Manchester/Palmyra) - Turn LEFT onto RT-21N/CANANDAIGUA RD. Continue on RT-21N for 6.1 miles. Turn RIGHT onto NY-21/NY-31/E MAIN ST. Continue to follow NY-21/NY-31/E MAIN ST for 0.1 miles. Turn left onto MARKET ST. Continue 0.1 miles. End at 132 MARKET ST in Palmyra.

Museum Addresses:
Palmyra Historical Museum (Tours Start Here): 132 Market St., Palmyra
Erie Canal Depot: 136 Market St., Palmyra
Print Shop: 140 1/2 Market St., Palmyra
Phelps General Store: 140 Market St., Palmyra
Alling Coverlet Museum: 122 William St., Palmyra

Mission Statement:

HISTORIC PALMYRA is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving the history and architectural heritage of Palmyra, New York.  Once known as the "Queen of Erie Canal towns," Palmyra boasts an astonishing array of architecture, ranging from the early 1800's to Victorian era grandeur. 

Historic Palmyra's mission is to save the history of Palmyra and vicinity through the preservation of architecture, artifacts, and archives. Historic Palmyra teaches and educates through the five museums and their collections. This mission is served primarily through the operation of five unique museums, welcoming thousands of visitors each year.

Facility History:

The five museums of Historic Palmyra began during the Urban Renewal that covered our Nation from 1964 through 1976. Its incorporation with the NYS Department of State is dated 1967 and in 2005 it received an absolute charter from the New York State Board of Regents. However, Historic Palmyra has been around much longer, saving history in Palmyra, NY since 1843.

Historic Palmyra's mission is to save the history of Palmyra and vicinity through the preservation of architecture, artifacts, and archives. Historic Palmyra teaches and educates through the five unique museums and their collections, welcoming thousands of visitors each year. Its museums include the Palmyra Historical Museum, Erie Canal Depot, Print Shop Museum, Phelps General Store & Residence, and Alling Coverlet Museum.

As a non-profit, 501(c)3 educational institution, Historic Palmyra teaches local, county, state, and national history through its five museums. A complete research facility is located in the Palmyra Historical Museum and encompasses such subjects as the Civil War, the military, the Erie Canal, photography, tools, toys and dolls, medical history, many local religions, and more. The artifacts and archives span from 1781 through the present. Learn about the Sir Winston Churchill connection, the first weather man, the Abolition Movement, the Underground Railroad, and industry and business along the Erie Canal and in the old frontier.