Schenectady's home for history


About Us

The Schenectady County Historical Society was founded in 1905 to share and preserve Schenectady County’s history. Today we bring history and culture to life through exhibits, programs, and community events at our three sites:

The Mabee Farm Historic Site
The Schenectady History Museum & Library/Archives
1735 Brouwer House Creative

SCHS is very active in presenting vibrant programming for diverse audiences. Please visit our events calendar to find information about upcoming events like tours, talks, workshops, and concerts.


The Schenectady County Historical Society shares stories, inspires dialogue, and encourages understanding of the history, people, and cultures of Schenectady County.


The Schenectady County Historical Society strengthens our community as an increasingly vital destination and resource for exploring history.

You may view an abridged version of our 2019 Strategic Plan here as well as our Bylaws (revised 2023), Articles of Incorporation, and the 2023-2024 Annual Report.

2022-2023 Annual Report.
2021-2022 Annual Report
2020-2021 Annual Report
2019-2020 Annual Report

Financial Support

The Schenectady County Historical Society is a private, not-for-profit organization. We are wholly supported by the dues of our members, interest and dividends earned on bequests willed to us, fees for admission and service, and sales in our two gift shops. Please consider supporting our mission in preserving and promoting Schenectady County’s history by making a gift below, becoming a member,or sponsoring us through your business.


SCHS is generously supported by:


John Ackner, Facilities Manager, maintenance [at] schenectadyhistorical [dot] org

Marietta Carr, Librarian/Archivist, 518-374-0263 x3, librarian [at] schenectadyhistorical [dot] org

Michael Diana, Director of Education/Historian, educator [at] schenectadyhistorical [dot] org

Audrey Humphrey, Office Administrator/Membership & Visitor Services Manager, 518-374-0263 x5, office [at] schenectadyhistorical [dot] org

Christopher Kirksey, Master Gardener at Brouwer House Creative

Mary Zawacki, Executive Director/Curator, director [at] schenectadyhistorical [dot] org

Board of Trustees 2024-2025

Mark Vermilyea: President
David Trestick: Vice President
John Halstead: Treasurer
Robert Sullivan: Secretary

Jill Bogdanowicz-Wilson
Bob Carney
Tracey Chance
Angela Commito
Philip Fields
Russ Hart
Sarah Kirby
David LeBlanc
Chris Leonard
Chris Marney
Sonia Sandoval
Suzy Unger
Kimberly Waldin


The Schenectady County Historical Society has vast collections of objects and archival materials that tell the story of Schenectady.

The Library is home to over 6,000 books and periodicals, 30,000 photographic prints, 750 maps, 65 linear feet of newspaper clippings and surname files, and approximately 2,000 linear feet of archival records, legal documents, maps, and photographs pertaining to Schenectady County’s history.

The Museum collects objects of artistic, cultural, and historical significance to Schenectady County and the surrounding region. Throughout a century of collecting, SCHS has amassed a large and diverse collection containing over 12,500 objects across a broad range of categories: art and decorative art, toys, clothing and textiles, farm equipment and tools, archaeological artifacts, as well as objects related to Schenectady industry and trade, local clubs and civic organizations, and general daily life.

We recently updated our Collections Development Plan, and our collecting goals for the 2020s.

Should you be interested in donating artifacts or archival materials to the SCHS, please read our Artifact Donation Guidelines, and then fill out our Donation Questionnaire. Our areas of collecting interest include:

-Artifacts and documents that tell the story of the pre-colonial, colonial, early Republic, and early industrial periods in Schenectady, c. 1600s-1850s

-Artifacts and documents that tell the stories of the Black and Indigenous communities and experience in Schenectady

-Artifacts or documents that tell the stories of Schenectady’s marginalized or underrepresented peoples

-Artifacts or documents that are related to contemporary issues in the region

-Historic or contemporary artifacts that pertain to locally manufactured goods (e.g., handmade items by local crafters, and items produced locally)

We do not collect commemorative plates, coins, pins, or plaques, or packaging (i.e. bags and boxes branded with a business name). We rarely collect mass-produced goods or oversized objects.

Get Involved

Join us as a member, and immerse yourself in history and culture. Membership grants you exclusive benefits while also supporting local history.


Volunteers inspire our visitors, preserve history, and keep our organization running smoothly. Whether you are looking for something behind-the-scenes or out on the front line, we have the perfect volunteer opportunity for you. To become a volunteer at the Schenectady County Historical Society, please fill out our Volunteer Application form.

What Do Volunteers Do?

Special Events
Do you like to be in the center of the action? Special events volunteers drop in to assist during these events and help with a variety of tasks, including parking, concessions, and way-finding. Mostly at Mabee Farm Historic Site.

Educator and/or Docent
Are you a people person? Do you enjoy helping others? Docents assist the public during our day-to-day operations and during our special events. This can include greeting visitors when they walk through our doors, leading tours, answering phones, and assisting with questions. And, if you like working with kids, contact us about volunteering as a teacher, which includes leading school groups through various activities. Mostly at Mabee Farm Historic Site.

Gardener and/or Handyman
Love to get your hands dirty? Fix things? Make things? At the Mabee Farm Historic Site, we recreate three historic garden beds as well as a field garden, and always need help with building maintenance. Our Gardeners and Handymen help plan and maintain the gardens, grounds, and buildings, which often results in an abundance of fresh produce distributed amongst our volunteers. Mostly at Mabee Farm Historic Site.

Call to Artists

The Schenectady County Historical Society invites local/regional emerging and established artists to submit samples of their work for exhibition in Mabee Farm’s art gallery. All 2D mediums are welcome, as are small 3D pieces. Both members and non-members are encouraged to submit.

Exhibitions will be located in the Van Schaick gallery on the first floor of the Franchere Education Center at Mabee Farm Historic Site in Rotterdam Junction, NY. Each exhibition will be on view for 2-4 months. All proposed artwork must be ready to hang and wired. SCHS will distribute and provide selected artists with promotional materials, and will host an opening reception for each exhibition in the series.

Interested artists should prepare a proposal which includes:

1. Artist’s statement
2. Images of proposed artwork, in the form of JPG, PDF, PNG, etc.
3. CV or resume

Proposals may be emailed to Mary at


Copyright 2022 Schenectady County Historical Society