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The Cayuga Museum of History and Art opened its doors on October 13, 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression.  Times were uncertain, but the founding members’ tireless efforts over four years brought the idea of an art center in Auburn to reality.  It was at a meeting of the Daubers’ Club on February 2, 1932 that the idea of a museum was presented by Professor Walter Long, and growth was rapid.  The Cayuga Museum is truly a civic project and a perfect example of what can be accomplished by the cooperation of groups and individuals with a shared aspiration.

The firm belief of the Founders that a museum must function as an integral part of community life set the pattern for a dynamic organization which became closely knit with every cultural activity in the city and county over the next eighty years. As an October 16, 1936 newspaper article states, “The formal opening of the Cayuga Museum of History and Art today is an event whose importance will be increasingly realized as the various departments get into full swing.  When functioning properly, a museum is not a show place merely, but a work place and a recreational place.  It offers not simply an opportunity to see and enjoy the finished productions of artists but also a chance to participate in the creation of beauty.”

While changes in society have prompted a shift in the way that communities interact with their museums, there is no doubt that any citizen of Auburn has fond memories of Walter Long and his Cayuga Museum of History and Art.  As we embrace our eightieth year, we remember our past as a means of looking to the future, with a renewed emphasis on our community- but as Edith Osborne, first President of the Museum stated in 1937: “We cannot emphasize too strongly that to fulfill its much needed sphere in this community- it must have every citizen’s cooperation and support.”

We rely on the generosity of our friends and neighbors to keep the doors open, now more than ever.  Thank you for your support.