MEXICO – As residents of Mexico may have noticed, the Mexico Museum located on South Jefferson Street, across from the Mexico Town Office, has remained closed for the past year or so.
The Mexico Historical Society, the caretaker of museum’s artifacts for the 40 plus years since the transfer of the original collection to the society from the Mexico High School Museum, has been unable to open the museum due to a dispute with the Town of Mexico, owner of the museum building.
The dispute centers upon “ownership” of the museum artifacts.
The town contends that it owns not only the building but the collection housed therein as well.
The Mexico Historical Society, which is chartered by the New York State Department of Education to operate a museum, and for many years has accumulated, cataloged, cared for museum artifacts, made the history of Mexico available to the public, has been the sole source of volunteer museum manpower, and has undertaken and financed numerous museum improvements, and physical upgrades, strongly contends otherwise.
The disagreement was precipitated by the town board’s concern over a “yard sale” held by the historical society at which a few artifacts clearly not germane to Mexico, were sold to free up much needed space for relevant pieces, along with items donated by the public to be sold to benefit the museum.
As a result of the impasse, the town changed locks on the museum thus preventing historical society members’ access to the facility.
The conflict is in resolution by attorneys representing both interests.
Persons who have donated artifacts to the museum believing they were donating to the historical society rather than the town of Mexico might wish to express their intention in support of the historical society’s position.
The Mexico Historical Society wishes the public to know that the Starr Clark Tin Shop and Underground Railroad Museum located on Main Street isn’t affected and is open to the public as advertised.