Traditional Arts in Upstate New York. Traditional Arts of Upstate New York
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Canton, NY 13617
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Personal Collection Series


Personal Collections Series

In 2017 at the TAUNY Center, we will showcase personal collections from individuals around our region. Each collection has a special connection to the North Country; most of the items were originally produced or utilized here. These collections represent the diversity of interests in our region along with the deep-rooted history of folk culture over the past century or more. Each item holds intrinsic value for these collectors and their families, and we at TAUNY are deeply grateful to be able to display these items for the benefit of the public.

The Personal Collections series is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, Folk Arts Program, with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Current Personal Collection Series Exhibit

Personal Collection Series:

Guideboat Paddles and More from the Collection of Ted Comstock, Saranac Lake

July 8, 2017 - August 19, 2017

Ted Comstock, Saranac Lake, NY,  has been interested in the Adirondack region for most of his life.  He was a curator at the (then named) Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY,  in the 1970s. Ted is a lifelong student of the region’s history, artifacts, and publications.  He established and operated Wildwood Enterprises in Old Forge, NY,  from 1979-1991, a shop where he specialized in regional books, prints, paintings, early photographs, vintage wooden boats, and antiques.


Ted has a great respect for finely crafted items, especially ones that are functional and designed in response to the specific circumstances in which they will be used.  At the top of Ted’s list is the Adirondack guideboat: “It was designed by a topographical imperative -- all those water highways -- a remarkably efficient tool.  Today, it is known around the world. These boats perfectly answered the question of how to navigate on and between Adirondack waters; and they are so much fun to row.”


For this display,  Ted will exhibit a collection of full-size vintage guideboat and canoe paddles made in the Adirondacks at different times and places, and related items, such as a souvenir paddle blank from Parsons Brothers in Old Forge.  The display will also feature supporting illustrative materials.  “We live in a plastic world.  There is so much pressure to forget about heritage and history.  People need to remember how remarkable North Country craftsmen were, and are.  At the core of our region’s past are those designers and builders of wooden rowing and paddling craft.”

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Guide Boat Realty, LLC.



Upcoming Personal Collection Series Exhibits

Personal Collection Series:

Fiddles from Rick Streeter of

the Adirondack Playboys Band

August 26, 2017 - October 7, 2017

Our next Personal Collection Series exhibit features fiddles from the collection of Rick Streeter, the fiddler in The Adirondack Playboys Band, one of TAUNY’s 2016 North Country Heritage Award recipients. The Adirondack Playboys (also known as the Streeter Family Band) are a multi-generational square dance band based around Lewis County, particularly Beaver Falls and Croghan. Rick Streeter is an experienced fiddler and learned to play fiddle from his dad, Ralph, who was the original fiddler in the band. Ralph collected fiddles for many years, buying them in garage sales and antique shops throughout the region. After Ralph’s passing, Rick inherited the collection of over 60 fiddles and has continued collecting ever since then. He even started making his own fiddles around 1989. The red and black fiddle that Rick now plays was part of his dad’s original collection, though he stripped and refinished it to his liking. The fiddles, now numbering over seventy, hang all over the walls of his home - quite a sight to be seen.

This exhibit is made possible by the generous support of the Cloudsplitter Foundation.

Past Personal Collection Series Exhibits

Personal Collection Series: Antique Tools from the Backus Family Collection

May 13, 2017 - June 24, 2017

Personal Collection Series: Judy Rexford's Buttons

March 11, 2017 - April 29, 2017


Personal Collection Series: Jerry Lincoln's Decoys

January 14, 2017 - February 25, 2017


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