Fenton History Center Renovations Near Completion

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — After weeks of cleaning, restoration, and renovation, the Fenton History Center is just a week away from reopening.

At the Fenton History Center community members and trustees came together to accomplish the hefty renno task.

“Well we’ve been closed all of January, we had a lot of work to do between cleaning all of the exhibits and renovations on the first floor. As most people know, we had the leaky roof which is repaired for now. But we had ceilings and walls that needed to be repaired. So we started that on January 9th which was our first day to be closed and was an all volunteer crew,” explains Director Jane Babinsky.

The building, which was built in 1863, was the home of Reuben E. Fenton, a state Governor, Congressman, and Senator.

“If you don’t do the upkeep in an old building, it falls apart. Which is what the city found when they purchased the building in 1919,” says Babinsky. “It had been empty for many many years and the roof was bad, they had areas of flooring that had fallen in that they had to replace. So we don’t want that to happen again. It’s very important that as the historical society, we have to be dedicated to taking care of this historic building.”

The history center is working to update their exhibits as well, working with educators to bring in more school groups. In fact, they hired a new curator and education coordinator from Palm Springs California to help.

“I was in a museum as well, the Coachella Valley History Museum and I was doing program development. That’s what I’d love to do here actually is to pursue the education part of it also and get that going. Our education program to get schools back again post- COVID,” says Therese Avedillo, curator and education coordinator.

She will not only curate exhibits, but also create events to showcase the history of Jamestown and get the community involved.

“We have our gala because it’s our sixty year anniversary this July, this summer. And so that is our big event. We would like people to see the Jamestown that was and especially during that time sixty years ago when it opened and we’d like to highlight all through the years what has happened in the museum from then til now,” says Avedillo.

The Fenton History Center plans to reopen February 1.


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