Museum at the Creamery

SHS MuseumThe Skaneateles Creamery Company opened in 1899 as a place for local farmers to sell their milk and for residents to buy dairy products. In 1918 the Creamery was sold to the Best Ice Cream Company, and they in turn sold it to the Borden Milk Company in 1948, which closed the following year. A local businessman bought the building for storage space and in 1989 donated it to the village.

The Skaneateles Historical Society was given the opportunity to renovate the Creamery as a museum and as a home for the Society. In 1992, thanks to gifts of time, talent, and funding from the entire community, the Creamery proudly reopened.

In 2007, the Skaneateles Historical Society acquired the former Boiler Plant of the Creamery Company. Through grants and fundraising, that building was converted into a Boat Building to display wooden boats built in Skaneateles. A Connector Wing was built between the original building and the new museum space, providing room for an expanded gift shop and additional displays. A new archival room was added where the old icehouse used to be, at the corner of the old Creamery building. And in 2013, an addition to the Boat Building was completed to house additional wooden boats that have been donated. CLICK HERE for more information on the The Creamery.

Museum Construction

Phase One – We are given the Creamery Building.


Phase Two – We acquire the Boiler Plant.


Mid-summer 2008. Less of the old boiler plant could be saved than we had hoped. Photo by Pat Blackler.

Our Collections

Our artifact collection features hundreds of items related to farming, manufacturing, recreation, transportation, art, architecture, the press, and commerce. Of special interest are the locally manufactured boats, carriages, wooden toys, medical instruments, a sleigh, and chairs. In addition to the exhibits devoted to dairy farming and the business of the Creamery, there is a fine display of the raising and marketing of the fuller’s teasels. This was an industry limited to very few places in the U.S.

The exhibits devoted to transportation cover the Skaneateles Short Line RR, the interurban trolley that ran through the village, and the large excursion boats that plied the lake. As can be expected the lake played a significant role in the history of the community. One can learn about the immense waterpower that was available along the outlet and about how Skaneateles became the source of water for the City of Syracuse. The boat displays include early Skaneateles-made rowboats, canoes and historic sailboats, including Lightning No. 1.