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“Hidden Gem”
Review of Arkell Museum

Arkell Museum
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The mission of the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie and the Canajoharie Library is to promote and celebrate the understanding and enjoyment of the arts and humanities in Canajoharie, the Mohawk Valley, and beyond. The Arkell Museum collects, preserves, researches and presents American Art and Mohawk Valley History, and promotes active participation in art and history related activities, to enhance knowledge, appreciation and personal exploration by all.
Reviewed 2 October 2017

We were staying at Cooperstown and wanted to explore the surrounding area. Saw an ad for the Arkell Museum in a tourist book and we decided to go. Upon arriving, we did not have high expectations but that soon changed as soon as we walked in the door. The museum is modern and beautiful! We saw the Mingling the Waters: 200 Years on the Erie Canal - awesome collection and their current exhibitions. We also had the opportunity to have lunch (we bought our own sandwiches) in their beautiful courtyard under the beechnut tree! Wonderful experience. Will definitely be back next time we are up by their parts!

Thank papuzza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CuratorofEducation, Public Relations Manager at Arkell Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 3 October 2017

We are so glad that you stopped in and that you enjoyed your visit. Hopefully, you will have the chance to stop in and see us soon, we have recently opened our newest exhibits, "Masterworks" and "Masterworks on Paper," which will be up through the end of the year. Thank you for taking the time to write a review!

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"winslow homer"
in 19 reviews
"permanent collection"
in 11 reviews
"erie canal"
in 8 reviews
"night watch"
in 6 reviews
"local library"
in 5 reviews
"nys thruway"
in 4 reviews
"john singer sargent"
in 4 reviews
"american paintings"
in 4 reviews
"small collection"
in 3 reviews
"upstate new york"
in 3 reviews
"full scale"
in 2 reviews
"world class art"
in 2 reviews
"short stop"
in 2 reviews
"beech nut"
in 25 reviews
"interesting history"
in 3 reviews
"great collection"
in 2 reviews
"arkell family"
in 12 reviews
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7 - 11 of 78 reviews

Reviewed 20 August 2017

Thank heavens, sometimes, for FB. A friend posted about her visit here, so it got added to our Erie Canal itinerary.

The Arkell money came from the Beech-Nut Company, whose 1905 factory looms over it just a few blocks away. There is a lot of information about the family and the company--and it is all very interesting if a little more hagiography than biography. A display of old advertisements and photographs would interest a wide variety of people interested in advertising, marketing, design and business, who might otherwise not be inclined to make time to see an "art museum."

The museum is a handsome building, but a little unfriendly. On the ground level expanses of glass open it up to the outside and that's attractive. The galleries themselves, though, are spartan and unnecessarily formal. Needs some seating at the very least. The galleries are monitored by cameras rather than humans and lights are on motion sensors--the rooms are dark unless people are inside. This meant that we almost didn't enter the gallery with the fine American paintings at the far end of the ground level corridor. But I tend to wiggle all doorknobs and the person at the desk had, after all, said that there was a gallery down there on the right.

The bicentennial of breaking ground for the Erie Canal was the motivation for exhibitions about Canajoharie and the Canal. Really interesting and a good mix of minor works of art, documents, and more important landscapes. Portrait drawings of the Suffragettes of NY State was excellent. Would have liked more real information about the artist though, not just an obituary-like litany of her exhibitions.

And the serious painting collection. The room includes a full scale 19th century copy of Rembrandt's "Night Watch" and I really wish it didn't. I suppose a lot of people can never get to see the original in Amsterdam, but in our digital age, they can get a better experience than this by booting up a computer or mobile phone. But the other paintings--American impressionists, Winslow Homer, other American greats--utterly captivating.

The museum is attached to the older library, also an Arkell-funded organization. It's a beautiful little library. Go read a book. Or at least, go find the giant globe in the corner, an Arkell design and production. Very cool thing, showing time zones around the globe. We also noticed that a "5" was in the place where there was supposed to be a "3." The hours went: 1, 2, 5, 4, 5, 6... There was a 3 in the other 12-hour group though. Asked at the desk about that. No one seemed to know anything about it. Sparked my curiosity though.

And there is a lovely garden with a Harriet Frishmuth statue above the fountain. The unattractive view across the street diminishes the pleasure of being there, but it is a lovely space.

Thank lnwyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CuratorofEducation, Guest Relations Manager at Arkell Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 23 August 2017

Thank you for your review! We are so glad your friend shared about her visit and brought you to us, and hope you will continue to spread the word. And actually, we did want to let you know that the lights in our galleries stay off until someone enters the room in order to protect our artwork. Like our skin, canvas and paper react to light, and so letting the art rest in the dark whenever possible helps us preserve our collection. But, we will update the signage outside the doors to make sure people know they should go inside. We are glad you went in and got the chance to see our exhibits and hope you will stop in again soon!

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Reviewed 11 August 2017

The Arkell Museum is a unexpected treasure that is located in a town that has, like many in that region, seen better days. Small and intimate with expertly curated exhibits, and a first rate permanent collection, the Arkell is well worth the drive. The Erie Canal exhibit, which is currently being shown, is first rate.

Thank cpear16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CuratorofEducation, Guest Relations Manager at Arkell Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 13 August 2017

Thank you very much for taking a moment to write a review. We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed your visit, especially our exhibit "Mingling the Waters: 200 Years on the Erie Canal." We hope you will come back after September 16 to see our next exhibitions, "Masterworks" and "Masterworks on Paper!"

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Reviewed 1 August 2017

visited there on Saturday and loved all the history of the Erie Canal, the Beechnut factory plus world class art

Thank Nancy T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CuratorofEducation, Public Relations Manager at Arkell Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 August 2017

Nancy,

Thank you so much for your review. We are so glad you enjoyed your our exhibits, and hope you will be back to see us again soon!

Best,
Jenna Peterson Riley
Curator of Education & Public Engagement

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Reviewed 28 July 2017

Stopped here recently to view the Erie Canal exhibit for the bicentennial of the canal. Although I enjoyed the exhibit which gives a good grounding in life along and on the canal through the ages the museum itself doesn't present an inviting welcome to visitors.

The museum building itself is an unappealing non-descript white box obviously intended to mimic the decaying Beech-nut factory building across the street and incongruously grafted onto the charming 18th century Dutch limestone styled library. The idea would have been much better aesthetically if the museum were physically separated from the library and connected via garden paths.

Within the museum the visitor is greeted with a charmless gray, white, and black expanse. The garden area so prominent in the photos is off limits from the street and only accessible from within with difficulty. Even on cloudy days the garden view is obscured by dark blinds that conceal the outdoors.

Adding to the disappointment were acres of white folding chairs obscuring what was intended to be a showpiece mural of the area landscape and hydrology.

Thank Old_Tyme_Farmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CuratorofEducation, Public Relations Manager at Arkell Museum, responded to this reviewResponded 2 August 2017

Hello!

Thank you for taking the time to write; we always appreciate hearing from our visitors. We are very glad to hear that you enjoyed our Erie Canal exhibit. We have received great feedback about it, as well as our exhibit featuring Christine Heller's suffragist portraits and our lower level exhibit featuring the journal and mementos of a WWII POW camp survivor.

Our building does reflect the significant history of the Beech-Nut Packing Company plant across the street. We are all looking forward to seeing the long-term plan for that site and will work hard to continue to preserve the history of that important national and local business.

We do have a wonderful floor mural by artist Tom Schultz that depicts a map of the Mohawk Valley in our Great Hall and are very lucky that the Hall also serves as a shared event space for us and the Canajoharie Library. Last week alone we hosted (free-to-the-public) the Utica Zoo and the Caroga Lake Music Festival and a lecture on the impact of the Erie Canal on foodways in New York. This means that visitors will occasionally see chairs set up in the Great Hall, but we hope that this encourages visitors to stay for an event or to check our website for the next great offering.

Even more of our permanent collection will be on display in our Masterwork and Masterworks on Paper exhibits which open on September 16; we look forward to closing out the year by sharing more of our wonderful collection.

Best,
Jenna Peterson Riley
Curator of Education & Public Engagement

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