Skaneateles Historical Society working to protect years of local history from mold destruction

Local News

SKANEATELES, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Skaneateles Historical Society is working to stop the spread of mold in the attic of the old creamery building, where it houses its museum and collection of artifacts.

The executive director first spotted mold in one side of the attic in January 2020 when putting away Christmas decorations. It was not an urgent concern at the time, and work was delayed by the pandemic, so the mold spread to the side of the attic with priceless treasures.

Executive Director and Curator Geralyn Huba said: “The three words that terrify museum curators are mold, water and fire. I got one of the big three.”

Only affordable with funding from the village government and private donations, the organization hired private companies that will restore any damaged artifacts, restore the building itself, and kill the mold.

Experts with Property Restoration, Inc. and Rockwell Indoor Environmental determined insulation had failed to prevent condensation between the insulation and the roofing, which allowed mold to grow.

Work over the past several weeks resulted in interior walling being removed, air being filtered and dried and specialty vacuuming.

The attic doesn’t smell and the mold isn’t easily spotted by untrained eyes, but any spores left are embedded in the old wood and need chemical removal.

While the work happens upstairs, the museum downstairs is still open every Friday and Saturday.

Among the many artifacts in the museum include 90-year-old blankets made locally by the Waterbury Felt Company, hats worn during World War II, countless documents, newspaper archives and photos, and vintage boats made in Skaneateles.

Steven Rosenberger, of Property Restoration Inc., said: “We don’t get a chance to work on items like that. So it’s very special to us. We take it to heart.”

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