Saratoga County History Center

The Saratoga County History Center at Brookside Museum is pleased to announce the opening of four new exhibits for the public beginning June 26 – Thursday through Sunday from 1- 5 PM

Century of Ice Cream! The Dake Family and Stewart’s 

Few things are as beloved and iconic in upstate New York as Stewart’s shops. This exhibit celebrates the centennial of the famous company born in Saratoga County. In 1787, the Dake family began clearing farms in the hills of what became Greenfield. Three generations later, in 1921, dairy farmers Percy and Charles Dake responded to a changing economy (and America’s growing sweet tooth!) by shifting to ice cream production. True entrepreneurs, the Dakes sought other outlets for their talents, eventually becoming retailers. The chain they started in 1946 is now an anchor of northeastern New York and adjacent Vermont communities. Today, Stewart’s is perhaps Saratoga County’s most familiar contribution to the regional economy. [The exhibit is made possible through the generosity of Stewart’s Shops/Dake Family.]

The Country Store in Saratoga County 

Before the ubiquitous Stewart’s shops, Saratoga County was dotted with a variety of country stores, that served as both necessary sources of supplies and social hubs. The country store was once the dominant economic and social institution. It carried all the provisions farming families needed, provided credit in the absence of banks, purchased perishable produce from customers, and offered a welcoming place to gather and gossip. By the mid-twentieth century, however, country stores began to disappear. This exhibit is dedicated to the long history of that quintessential institution. Rare and beautiful photographs will take visitors back to the bygone days, when families thrived without the internet, instant delivery, or mega-marts.


Mystery Photographs from Eastern Saratoga 

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Several years ago, a photographic historian donated 33 large format glass plate negatives from an unknown photographer. Printed through the support of the Old Saratoga Historical Association of Schuylerville, these images provide an intimate look at  Saratoga County in the post-Civil War era, including remarkable community theater productions.

The Social Life of Hats 

History Center trustees and staff working with Skidmore professors to develop new courses that utilize Brookside collections, as well as student internship opportunities. The fruits of that labor can be seen in the innovative class “The Social Life of Hats” (spring 2021), which is co-taught by Drs. Tillman Nechtman and Eric Bastress-Dukehart, and which analyzes and investigates Brookside’s historic hat collection. The course was so successful that it spawned an alumni event, an “Experts Next Door” episode (May 20, 2021), and a museum exhibit at Brookside (June 26- Oct. 1, 2021). The exhibit is part of the “All Together Now” public history coalition led by the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore.