Walter’s started as the contemporary wing of the Walter Elwood Museum in Amsterdam, New York, in July of 2021. The Walter Elwood Museum started inside a barn on a bird sanctuary in 1939 as the Trailside Museum. Born in Amsterdam, New York, in 1886, Walter was an educator, writer, conservationist, world traveler, and collector. He outgrew the barn within a year and, in 1940, moved 1,000 objects into an Amsterdam school, taking the moniker - Amsterdam’s Public Schools Museum. In 1941, Walter sent a letter to the New York State Museum in Albany declaring, “We have one room devoted to natural history and conservation, another to man’s utilization of natural resources, and a third to illustrate the topic of how people of other times and other regions live.” The museum continued to grow through Walter’s acquisitions and donations from the local community. By 1949 the collection totaled 8,000 artifacts. Walter Elwood had previously spent time in the Philippines and France; between 1949 and 1952, he traveled to Sweden, Norway, Guatemala, Mexico, and Cuba. His suitcases were always full of items for the museum. Unfortunately, the 1950s also saw his health decline, and in January 1955, he took a turn for the worse. Walter Elwood died on April 28th at age 69. His will stipulated that all museum contents go to the Amsterdam School District. Within two weeks of his passing, the name of Walter’s collection changed one more time - to the Walter Elwood Museum. The museum thrived for the next 26 years until the Amsterdam School District no longer had the budget to manage the collection. The Mohawk Valley Heritage Association was formed in 1981 to save the museum and kept the doors open until the association hit its own financial issues. The Walter Elwood Museum closed in 2001. By 2009 the museum was back open in Amsterdam’s historic Guy Park Manor on the banks of the Mohawk River, but tragedy struck in 2011 when Hurricane Irene flooded the river. The 1774 mansion’s foundation was destabilized, and countless artifacts were soaked and scattered. The museum was forced to close again until 2014 when it re-opened one final time. The former Sanford Carpet Mills buildings, an epicenter of industry and community in Amsterdam when Walter first started his museum in 1939, now permanently houses the collection. Donations and acquisitions have been consistent over the decades, and there are currently 25,000 unique objects falling into four main categories: multicultural, Victorian, natural history, and history of the Mohawk Valley. Wandering through this cavernous cabinet of curiosities will lead you to the white-box galleries of Walter’s. We have 1200 square feet split into three galleries and a zine store. Walter’s also co-curated a show in Hillsdale, New York, and in the summer of 2022, curated three exhibitions in Rockaway Beach, New York. Our permanent space inside the Walter Elwood Museum is temporarily closed while we occupy a satellite location a few blocks away, inside the Amsterdam Mall.