Skip to main content

Historically Lewis

Home of the Lewis County Historical Society

Founded in 1927, and formally chartered by the NYS Education Department in 1966, the Lewis County Historical Society serves to focus attention, educate and bring value to the rich history of Lewis County and its environs, housing over 200 years of stories, collections and preservation efforts. Our charter purposes include:

  • Promoting interest in the history of Lewis County and its vicinity;
  • Discovering, collecting, preserving and exhibiting records and objects of historic interest, letters, diaries, memoirs, recollections, maps, books, pamphlets, illustrations and similar documents, and also implements, furniture, utensils and similar articles which may be related to Lewis County and its vicinity;
  • Acquiring works of the fine arts and art crafts, including literary, musical, scientific and other writings, published or unpublished and which have been produced in the County of Lewis, or relate to it, or by a native of the County;
  • Seeking, discovering and recording information relating to the history of Lewis County and persons who have taken important parts in the life of the county, and encouraging the writing and publishing of historical papers and books, including genealogies;
  • Fostering by meetings, addresses, memorials, publications and exhibitions of its collections, a more wide-spread interest in the history of Lewis County and its vicinity; and
  • Maintaining a museum wherein articles of historical interest may be exhibited and contracting for the maintenance of historic edifices.

Our Mission Statement

The Lewis County Historical Society seeks to promote a broader appreciation of the present through a deeper understanding of our past.

Our mission is to preserve, present and promote the stories, creations and history of Lewis County and its environs – including those of the Tug Hill plateau, the Black River valley and the western Adirondacks – and to use our collections, programming and partnerships to be the North Country’s preeminent institution for historic preservation, local history education and heritage tourism.

Our Vision Statement

The Lewis County Historical Society seeks to organize community and educational outreach programs, assist with genealogy and local history research, work on numerous preservation projects, and collect and record information on both local families and figures, as well as historic buildings, sites and events. We routinely seek, receive and administer funding through federal, state and local governmental programs, public and private foundation grants, gifts, donations and endowments, and other fundraising efforts, both for the Society’s own historic preservation efforts and operating needs, as well as for the needs of other local history and preservation groups that are either too small or prefer not to have to administer such funding for themselves. We look to acquire real and personal property for the public benefit, assist in placing historic properties on the National Register, and aim not only to be a repository of research and learning dedicated to a deeper understanding of the North Country experience over time, but also to be a respected voice for the importance of preserving our area’s past.

Through our collections, archives, properties, writings and publications, exhibits, funding initiatives, and public programs, the Society seeks to nurture a greater appreciation for the history of this area and for the ideas, values, successes and failures that bind us together both as a county and a community. We believe that a sense of history and the need for preservation enables diverse parts of our community to achieve a shared heritage – which is vital to any community’s character – and enhances the overall quality of North County life.

Our Archives and Collections Approach

The Lewis County Historical Society aims to acquire (as owner or custodian), collect, preserve, exhibit, make accessible and be the central repository for archival and artifactual material of historical significance and interest about Lewis County and the surrounding area and environs. This includes documents, objects, structures, buildings, manuscripts, library materials, maps, photographs and works of the fine arts (i.e., paintings and drawings, mosaics, printmaking, calligraphy, photography, film, videography, sculpture, architecture, pottery, conceptual art, poetry, music, dance, theater, and literary, musical or scientific writings) and the art crafts (including crafts involving textiles, wood, metal, clay, paper, canvas or other materials) that record, inform and support the study/research of Lewis County’s history. Our collections are the physical evidence which reflects Lewis County as a unique place, while also existing in a broader regional context. We collect such items and artifacts for their intrinsic meaningfulness/significance to Lewis County history, as well as to represent the diverse social, political, economic and cultural heritage of our area. In addition to the appropriateness of materials as a criteria for accepting to our collections, we also consider such issues as storage space, object conservation, preservation need, accessibility and use.

Our Collections Management Plan

The Lewis County Historical Society seeks to enhance it collections by judiciously acquiring artifacts and objects appropriate to its purpose. In doing so, we maintain and operated under a Collections Management Policy adopted by our Board of Directors.