Thousands of artifacts from Susan B. Anthony’s wardrobe to murals of Nathaniel Rochester sit quietly at the Rochester Historical Society, and their future could be in jeopardy because of lack of funding.
Rifles, paintings, sculptures, and more are all in the Rochester Historical Society’s 8,000 square foot facility on Lincoln Ave in Rochester.
Librarian archivist William Keeler is now the only employee and was told five years ago that membership is slipping and something needed to change.
“We’re in real trouble,” said Keeler, reciting what the Rochester Librarian told him back in 2013, “And we’re just not making up the funds needed to actually survive…Now we’re at the point where we’re down to our last couple thousand dollars, and it’s time to see where to go from here.”
That is why Keeler is out there pointing out the value of preservation.
“It’s easy to forget about all of that history,” said president of the board Carolyn Vacca. Lack of interest and no funding from the state has made paying rent impossible. “It may be a sign of the times in that there’s a lot of pressure for funding.”
They have already cut back on operations. Regardless they will continue to take care of the 200,000 artifacts. “You will not find anything like this in the City of Rochester, and I think it’s a shame that it’s just going to go by the waysid,” said Keeler
State law prevents the historical society from selling any of the artifacts to stay afloat.
If you would like to become a member, find their website here