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Cayuga Museum Asks Locals to Share Stories, Items for 2024 Exhibit


One Auburn museum is looking for your help with an upcoming exhibit.

The Cayuga Museum will launch Making History: Stories of Industry in Auburn next fall. To accomplish this, they’re currently looking for individuals to share their and their families’ experiences related to major manufacturers from the city’s past, such as ALCO, Columbian Rope, and Dunn & McCarthy Shoe Factory, with a particular interest in black and immigrant stories.

Karyn Radcliffe is the museum’s Director of Collections. She told Finger Lakes News Radio that the exhibit hopes to explore the impact these national and international companies had on local life.

“[The exhibit’s goal is to] not just tell what this is what Columbian Rope did, this is what Osborne/International Harvester did. We want to talk about why and how it started here and how it changed the city and how the city has changed since industry moved out as well,” said Radcliffe.

Along with stories, the museum is seeking items that can be loaned for the exhibit. Items loaned to the museum will be secured, covered under the
museum’s insurance policy, and returned at the end of the exhibition.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that was made there,” Radcliffe added. “It could be the person who worked there’s uniform or their time card or something like that. We’d also take things that were made at the factory as well; it just doesn’t have to be that.”

By focusing on the individuals who worked at these manufacturers and the lasting legacies of these businesses on local life, the museum hopes to make an engaging and thoughtful exhibit that connects with visitors.

“I think it makes a more interesting exhibit. It’s easier for people to relate… We have [Enna Jettick] shoes and shoe portraits up right now and people come in and go ‘Oh, my family worked there.’ I think it’s fun for people to share their own stories and it’s easier for visitors to relate to that,” said Radcliffe.

While Making History will be a temporary exhibit, Radcliffe said she’s confident the research and knowledge gained from it will go toward the future permanent exhibit focused on the county’s history that was announced in September.

If you would like to share your story or a family story or have an item to lend to the museum, you’re asked to contact Radcliffe at 315-253-8051 or [email protected]. Due to its policies, the museum cannot allow items to be simply dropped off at the front desk.

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