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PENN YAN — As the day begins at Yates County History Center, Registar Bill Murray hears the chimes from Dr. Oliver’s grandfather clock. He turns on the lights in the medical parlor to see hundreds of medical books used by the three generations of doctors. In another room the uniforms of generations of military heroes stand waiting to be seen. Each room in the 1852 Italianate style house museum tells an important story: The story of Yates County’s history.

Across the parking lot, administrative assistant Lisa Harper opens the door to the Underwood Museum and Research Center. Volunteers arrive to digitize newspapers and research family histories. Miss Underwood’s family photos keep a watchful eye on the goings on. The Research Center houses over 3400 family name files plus 2000 topic files. Today someone is investigating the history of salt mining in Yates County.

Director Tricia Noel opens the Scherer Carriage House to visitors. Jemima Wilkinson’s 1780’s couchee is greeted with awe. Wilkinson’s story captures the visitors’ imagination. On an average day at the History Center, there might be a lecture in the evening or a tour on the weekend.

This 160-year-old non-profit’s mission is collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of Yates County. Director Noel encourages those who value the work being done at the History Center to make a donation to the Annual Appeal going on now.

The public is invited to visit the museums during NYS History Month to learn more about Yates County’s fascinating history. The museum at 107 Chapel St. is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday.

A $5 donation is suggested at the door.

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