Walter’s started as the contemporary wing of the Walter Elwood Museum in Amsterdam, New York in July of 2021. Walter Elwood opened his collection to the public in 1939 in a barn on the grounds of a bird sanctuary and called it the Trailside Museum. Born in Amsterdam, New York in 1886, Walter was an educator, writer, conservationist, world traveler, and collector. He was steadily building a diverse collection to share with his community and outgrew the barn within a year. In 1940, he moved his 1,000 objects into an Amsterdam school and renamed his collection 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 as people started making donations and by 1949 the collection had reached 8,000 artifacts. Walter Elwood had previously spent time in the Philippines and France and between 1949 and 1952, he traveled to Sweden, Norway, Guatemala, Mexico, and Cuba. He would always return from his trips with acquisitions for the museum. Unfortunately the 1950’s also saw his health decline and in January of 1955, he took a turn for the worse. Walter Elwood died on April 28th, at age 69. His will stipulated that the collection should be gifted to the Amsterdam School District. Within two weeks of his passing, the museum changed its name one final time - to the Walter Elwood Museum. The museum thrived until 1981 when the Amsterdam School District could no longer manage the collection due to financial difficulties. The Mohawk Valley Heritage Association was formed to save the museum and kept the doors open until the association hit its own budgetary 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. Countless artifacts were soaked and scattered. The 1774 mansion’s foundation was destabilized and the museum closed again. 2014 saw the re-opening of the Walter Elwood Museum in the former Noteworthy and Sanford Carpet Mills buildings. Donations and acquisitions have been consistent over the decades and the collection now totals 25,000 unique objects falling into four main categories: multicultural, Victorian, natural history, and history of the Mohawk Valley. Walter's contemporary wing inside the museum is on summer hiatus while we occupy our satellite location in Rockaway Beach, New York.