Tag Archives: Finger Lakes Museum

Finger Lakes Museum Appoints Executive Director


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Finger Lakes MuseumThe Finger Lakes Museum’s Board of Trustees made a new appointment at its March 18th board meeting. Philip Lentini, of Penfield, who had been serving as the Museum’s Vice President for Advancement since late 2013, was elected to a seat on the board and appointed to the position of Executive Director.

He will be in charge of managing the Museum’s day to day business operations and will continue to direct its fundraising programs. He previously served nine years as a Vice President of the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Continue reading

Finger Lakes Museum Breaks Ground


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Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy joined local officials recently to break ground on the Finger Lakes Museum, a new educational and cultural center that will be located on the Discovery Campus in Branchport, along Keuka Lake.

The project was identified by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council as a priority project in 2011 and was awarded $2.3 million to support the renovation of the former Branchport Elementary School into a historical center highlighting the Finger Lakes region.

“The Finger Lakes Museum is a transformational project that will create much-needed jobs and provide a significant boost for the tourism industry and local-area businesses,” said Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy.

The Discovery Campus is the first of a two phase multimillion dollar indoor/outdoor natural and cultural complex highlighting the Finger Lakes region. The project is sponsored by The Finger Lakes Museum and will create and retain 100 direct jobs at the Museum, create 330 construction jobs, and generate an estimated $12 to $15 million annually in the region through increased tourism, which will spur local economic activity with area businesses and benefit the surrounding communities.

“The Finger Lakes Museum’s Business Plan sets forth a series of small steps leading to the creation of a premier educational institution with goals of stewardship, entertainment and regional economic health,” said Don Naetzker, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Museum. “Establishing the Museum’s Discovery Campus in the quintessential Finger Lakes hamlet of Branchport is a satisfying first step in ensuring the future of this pristine region for generations to come.”

Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. The Museum was awarded funding from three state agencies, including $1.5 million from Empire State Development (ESD), $400,000 from New York State Office of Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and $381,000 from the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC).

Kenneth Adams, President, CEO & Commissioner of Empire State Development said, “This is great news for the Finger Lakes region, as this project creates much-needed jobs and will boost the region’s tourism industry, which will generate significant economic activity and help foster growth for local businesses.”

ESD’s $1.5 million will help to offset the costs of acquiring and renovating the Branchport Elementary School site and the construction of the Discovery Campus. EFC’s Green Innovation Grant Program will create an innovative and interpretive storm water management system, including a porous pavement parking lot which will absorb rainwater and reduce the runoff of polluted water into Sugar Creek. A rain-absorbing “green roof” and eco-friendly bio-filters will further treat storm water runoff, stream banks along the creek will be restored and protected, and OPRHP’s resources will be used to increase public access to the waterways at the Discovery Campus including the creation of a waterfront program center and a hand-carry boat launch.

In May, final design plans and a virtual tour of the exterior and interior improvements of the Discovery Campus were unveiled and can be seen online at The Finger Lakes Museum’s website.

Finger Lakes Museum Hires Development Director


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The Finger Lakes Museum has announced the appointment of Richard Lane as Development Director. Richard brings over 20 years of senior level experience in the non-profit sector to the Museum, which will open its Discovery Campus, in Branchport in 2013 and plans to open its exhibit-based museum facility and aquarium in 2014-2015 at Keuka State Park.

While serving four nationally-recognized organizations, Richard has worked on capital campaigns, including construction projects, ranging from $12 million to $18 million. He has extensive experience in community outreach and advocacy, working diligently with non-profit boards to accomplish those projects.

Executive Director Don Naetzker stated, “We are very pleased and excited to have Richard on our team. We are impressed with his capabilities and look forward to working with him.”

Upon accepting the offer, Lane said “Having vacationed on the Finger Lakes since 2001 at my in-laws, and having been married at Norton Chapel, Keuka College, I have grown to love this very special region with all it has to offer. I am especially attracted to the Museum’s focus on protecting and sustaining the natural beauty and resources of the Finger Lakes, while promoting a green economy. I am truly excited about working with Board and staff to realize the Finger Lakes Museum, which will greatly benefit the region.”

Contact Richard by email at rlane@fingerlakesmuseum.org or by phone at 315-418-0536 to set up a time to meet with him to discuss giving opportunities, questions about future donations, or to get to know one another over a cup of coffee.

In April, The Finger Lakes Museum launched its annual campaign titled “Preserving your Passions”. By the end of December, the Museum hopes to raise $450,000. Contributions are being accepted to help the Museum make their first annual giving campaign a success so they can continue supplying the Finger Lakes community and its visitors with educational programming focused on the preservation and stewardship of this beautiful Finger Lakes region. Donations can be made online or by mail to: The Finger Lakes Museum, PO Box 96, Keuka Park, NY, 14478.

The Finger Lakes Museum is proposed as the premier natural and cultural resource dedicated to the enjoyment, education and stewardship of the Finger Lakes Region – and to fresh water conservation. The Museum is chartered by the NYS Education Department and incorporated as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization.

For more information or to make contact, visit www.fingerlakesmuseum.org

Finger Lakes Museum Opens New Satellite Office


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The Finger Lakes Museum has a new satellite office space at 81 Browns Race in the High Falls historic district of Rochester. The Museum signed a co-location agreement with the Philipson Group, a creative communications and marketing firm. According to a statement issued to the press, the main purpose of the new office space is development. Current and potential supporters and consultants of the Museum from the surrounding Rochester area are expected to have the place to visit one on one with Museum staff and keep abreast of their progress. Plans for the Museum will be on display and collateral material will be available inside, museum officials said.

To schedule a time to meet with the Museum staff at their new location, call 315-595-2200 or email as follows:

Executive Director, Don Naetzker dnaetzker@fingerlakesmuseum.org

Interim Development Director, John Adamski jadamski@fingerlakesmuseum.org

Communications/Programs Director, Natalie Payne npayne@fingerlakesmuseum.org

Photo: The Finger Lakes Museum employees, Executive Director Don Naetzker and Communications/Programs Director Natalie Payne, stand outside of their new satellite location in High Falls, Rochester.

Finger Lakes Museum Exceeds Fundraising Goal


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The Finger Lakes Museum’s board president, John Adamski, has announced that the organization has surpassed its Founders Campaign goal of raising $1 million by December 31st.

The total includes pledges that are still being paid and in­kind contributions for legal and other pro­bono professional services, which the museum would have otherwise had to pay for. The fund is currently $12,000 over the goal.

The Founders Campaign was launched and initially funded by the museum’s board of trustees in July 2010. The first major boosts came as grants from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, the Fred L. Emerson Foundation, the James P. Gordon Charitable Trust and the Rochester Area Community Foundation, which totaled $120,000.

Adamski said that some larger private donations ranged between $500 and $50,000 but “most contributions were $100 grassroots gifts from individuals and families.” Every donor’s name will be permanently inscribed on the Founders Wall in the main museum building when it opens in Keuka Lake State Park.

Last December, The Finger Lakes Museum was awarded $2.3 million in New York State economic development grants as one of 10 Finger Lakes Region Economic Development Council ­recommended transformational projects. Those funds will be used to convert the Branchport Elementary School, which the museum purchased a year ago, into The Finger Lakes Research &
Education Center.

That part of the project is shovel-­ready and will serve as the museum’s operations center and a place where regional academic institutions can collaborate in the study of issues like water quality, invasive species, and sustainability. It will become a permanent adjunct facility to the museum and serve as a center for local and area community gatherings as well.

Adamski said that an annual fund drive to support the day-­to­-day operation of the project is being planned to replace the Founders Campaign and that an announcement is forthcoming. He is also looking for sponsors for the museum’s 2012 educational program, which is being developed to tell the stories of grape­-growing and wine­-making in the Finger Lakes Region.

Anyone who may be interested in becoming a sponsor can contact him at jadamski@fingerlakesmuseum.org.

Name the Finger Lakes Museum Eagle Contest


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The Finger Lakes Museum has announced “Name the Eagle,” its first school-based program for area students. Every K-12 student in the Finger Lakes Region will have an opportunity to leave an imprint on the new museum by naming its bald eagle. The winning student will be eligible to have a live bald eagle visit his or her school.

The vision of The Finger Lakes Museum is to create a premier, eco-friendly educational institution that provides entertaining and compelling experiences for visitors and residents. Static and interactive exhibits will immerse visitors in discovery experiences that inspire pride, appreciation, and stewardship for the protection of the region and its water resources.

The eagle is not only the national symbol of the United States, but it represents the new museum as well. It is also one of the most successful conservation stories in American history. In 1965, a single pair of bald eagles remained in all of New York State and nested on Hemlock Lake. Through the dedication and hard work of private individuals and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, more than 200 bald eagle nesting sites occur across the state today.

The Name the Eagle contest will challenge students from across the Finger Lakes Region to identify a name for the museum’s eagle. Students will be encouraged to submit names that are relevant to their region’s cultural and/or natural history. The winning name will be chosen by The Finger Lakes Museum’s Education Committee and the winner’s school will be rewarded with a special program and visit from a live bald eagle.

The contest is open to students in grades K-12; contest entry forms will be distributed through principals and curriculum coordinators in early October; or they can be downloaded from the Museum’s website. For questions about The Finger Lakes Museum and the Name the Eagle contest, contact eagle@fingerlakesmuseum.org.

The Story of Hemlock and Canadice Lakes


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Part 2 of The Finger Lakes Museum’s three-part inaugural program series, Back from the Brink; The Story of Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, will be presented at the Finger Lakes Wine Center in Ithaca on Thursday, August 18th at 7:00 p.m. The series highlights the natural and cultural history of the only two undeveloped Finger Lakes.

Lima Town Historian Douglas Morgan will present, “Blue Blood to Blue Water”, a forgotten view of what Hemlock and Canadice—the only two undeveloped Finger Lakes—looked like between 1875 and 1945. It is a remarkable story of quaint cottages, elegant summer homes, bustling resort hotels, and passenger-ferrying steamboats—and the City of Rochester’s need of a new source for clean drinking water. Morgan’s program will include a slide presentation of antique photographs that help tell his story.

Part 3, “Lakes Go Wild”, will be presented in the Finger Lakes Wine Center on Thursday, September 1st at 7:00 p.m. It will tell about watershed protection efforts that began more than a century ago and detail the trials and tribulations that eventually evolved into the 7,000-acre Hemlock-Canadice State Forest in 2010. A slide presentation will accompany this final program chapter.

According to museum board president, John Adamski, Part 1 of the series, “From the Brink of Extinction”, which was presented at the Wine Center on Saturday, August 6th, “told the story of the successful restoration of the bald eagle—a conservation effort that began in the Finger Lakes Region and spread across the nation.” He added, “People were excited to see Liberty, a live bald eagle, in-person, and were enthusiastic about The Finger Lakes Museum’s vision.”

Each of the “Back from the Brink” presentations is free and open to the public but pre-registration is requested. Donations are welcome.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to build a premier educational institution in Keuka Lake State Park to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. It was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009 and is operating from offices in a former elementary school in Branchport, NY, which it purchased from the Penn Yan Central School District in January.

The Museum’s Board of Trustees has launched a Founders Campaign to raise $1 million to retain design professionals and other consultants, hire staff, and pay for day-to-day operations. With a donation of $100 or more, anyone can become a Museum Founder and have their name permanently inscribed on the Founders Wall in the lobby of The Finger Lakes Museum. Donors will also receive a Founder certificate and decal.

For more information on the Founders Campaign or to pre-register for these programs, visit our website at www.fingerlakesmuseum.org or call us at 315-595-2200.

Photo: A 1910 Reunion at the Hemlock Lake Resort Springwater.

Update on Finger Lakes Museum Efforts


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The president of The Finger Lakes Museum’s board of trustees announced that the project’s Founders Campaign is nearing the halfway mark in an endeavor to raise $1 million by December 31st. The drive is financing operations at the former Branchport Elementary School, including hiring staff, and paying consultants for architectural and exhibit design services.

Board President John Adamski said, “The Founders Campaign was launched by the board late last year and has resulted in hundreds of donations that range from $100 to $100,000. We’re almost halfway there but there is still a long way to go.” He is asking people from across the Finger Lakes Region to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the project. Significant funding has been received from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. “We are also looking for program sponsors,” he added.

Anyone, including regional businesses, can become a founder of The Finger Lakes Museum by making a contribution of $100 or more. Donors will receive a founders’ certificate, vehicle decal, and have their names permanently inscribed as members of the Founders Society on the Founders Wall in the entrance to the main museum building. Contributions can be made online or mailed to the museum at PO Box 96, Keuka Park, NY, 14478.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to build a premier educational institution in Keuka Lake State Park to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. It was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009 and is operating from development offices in the school, which it purchased from the Penn Yan Central School District last January.

Adamski said that the project is being planned to become a primary tourist destination that will feature one of the largest freshwater fish aquariums in the Northeast. Studies show that it has the potential to increase tourism in the Finger Lakes Region and create hundreds of jobs in the private sector, he said.

Adamski also announced the election of two new members to the organization’s board of trustees. Tim Sellers of Geneva, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Keuka College, and retired lumber executive John Meisch of Rushville were both elected in a unanimous vote. Adamski said, “Tim’s expertise as a limnologist and professor of biology and environmental science will be a tremendous asset in planning the natural history component of the museum. We are all very excited to have him aboard.”

He also said, “And John Meisch brings a lifetime of business management experience and a working knowledge of American History to the board, which balances the cultural history component. I think that we’ve hit two home runs here.” The addition of Sellers and Meisch brings the number of board members to 13.

For more information or to make contact, see www.fingerlakesmuseum.org.

Finger Lakes Museum Presents Inaugural Program


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The Finger Lakes Museum will present its inaugural program series, “Back from the Brink: The Story of Hemlock and Canadice Lakes”, at Keuka College in three separate installments during the month of July. The first part of this series will begin with the telling of one of North America’s most fascinating conservation stories. Parts 2 and 3, which are scheduled for later in the month, complete this chronicle series. Each of the programs will be held at the Lightner Library.

Part I – From the Brink of Extinction: On Saturday, July 2nd at 2:00 p.m., bald eagle specialist Mike Allen, who recently retired from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, will talk about the discovery of the last remaining pair of nesting bald eagles in New York State in 1965 and the decades-long endeavor that ensued to restore their population. The original pair nested at the south end of Hemlock Lake. While telling his story, Mike will also present his original photographs and will be accompanied by Liberty, a magnificent live bald eagle.

Part II – Blue Blood to Blue Water: On Thursday, July 14th at 7:00 p.m., Lima Town Historian Douglas Morgan will present a forgotten view of what Hemlock and Canadice Lakes—the only two undeveloped Finger Lakes—looked like between 1875 and 1945. It is a remarkable story of cottages, summer homes, resort hotels, and steamboats—and the City of Rochester’s need of a new source for clean drinking water. Doug will include a slide presentation of antique photographs that help tell his story.

Part III – Lakes Go Wild: On Thursday, July 28th at 7:00 p.m., Jim Howe, executive director of the Central New York Chapter of the Nature Conservancy; Don Root, the Hemlock-Canadice Watershed Conservationist for the last 30 years; Steve Lewandowski, founder of the Coalition for Hemlock and Canadice Lakes; and Paul D’Amato, Regional Director for NYS DEC Region 8—all longtime advocates for the permanent protection of Hemlock and Canadice Lakes—will present this program. They will tell about watershed protection efforts that began more than a century ago and detail the trials and tribulations that eventually evolved into the 7,000-acre Hemlock-Canadice State Forest in 2010. A slide presentation will accompany this final program chapter.

Each of the “Back from the Brink” presentations is free and open to the public but pre-registration is requested. Donations are encouraged. For more information or to pre-register, see www.fingerlakesmuseum.org.

Note: This series will also be taking place at the Finger Lakes Wine Center in Ithaca on August 6th, August 18th, and September 1st.

Finger Lakes Museum Publishes New Guide


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As part of its mission to serve as a gateway to the Finger Lakes Region, The Finger Lakes Museum has published the premier edition of Pathways, a full-color map and guide to attractions and historical venues throughout the 14-county area. The publication is a partnership venture with Life in the Finger Lakes magazine and is being distributed as a removable insert in the Summer 2011 issue, which will be on newsstands soon. It can also be ordered online.

In a prepared statement the museum’s executive director, John Adamski, said, “The Pathways guide will be a valuable resource for anyone who is traveling in the Finger Lakes Region and looking for something to do.” It provides a map and directions to major museums, historical centers, historic sites and villages, state parks, visitors’ centers, nature centers, scenic vistas, byways, hiking trails, and waterfalls.

He added, “This publication is the result of an enormous amount of work by a group of tireless volunteers in a very short period of time. The research and graphic design efforts that went into this project are incredible.” The guide is planned to be updated and published annually in time for the tourism and vacation seasons.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to build a premier educational institution in Keuka Lake State Park to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. It was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009. The museum is operating from offices in a former elementary school in Branchport, NY (Yates County), which it purchased from the Penn Yan Central School District last January.

As part of its strategic plan, the Finger Lakes Museum has been forming collaborative partnerships with other historical and academic institutions in the region. Adamski said, “Pathways is the best way that we know of to direct people to the places where they can learn more about something that is of particular interest to them. And it has helped to cement some exciting new partnerships for us.”

An operational fundraising effort is presently underway in the form of The Finger Lakes Museum Founders Campaign. To learn more or to volunteer visit their webpage.

Finger Lakes Museum Buys Local School


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The Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Museum has voted to purchase the Branchport Elementary School from the Penn Yan Central School District for $200,000 and the deal was closed the same afternoon at the Yates County Clerk’s Office. The school has been vacant for several years due to school district consolidation.

Museum board president John Adamski said, “The original plan was for the Finger Lakes Visitors Association to purchase the school and lease it to the museum on a 5-year interim basis during the startup phase of the project, after which time the museum would move to its new quarters in Keuka Lake State Park. But we have since realized the long term potential of the building and grounds as a research and education center, directly affiliated with the museum. That’s 17,000 square feet that we don’t have to build in Keuka Lake State Park.” The two sites are about a mile apart.

The school was first proposed as a temporary museum headquarters by Keuka Lake site proponents during the search for a location to build the project in 2009. When Keuka Lake State Park—one of 19 sites then in contention—was chosen last April, the school was included in the deal.

Museum personnel occupied the building last summer and fall under an early occupancy agreement with the Town of Jerusalem while the FLVA pursued arrangements to purchase the property from the school district. The museum staff has moved to other quarters for the winter months to avoid heating the entire building for three staff members.

Adamski said, “At first we looked at the school as a temporary office and warehouse for artifacts and collections while the project was being designed and built. But after conducting program definition and market studies, we realized that we could have some initial museum exhibits and programming ready there as early as next summer.” Plans now call for making investments into the school property to upgrade the heating and septic systems and to make the building more energy efficient. Converting the gym into a theater and auditorium is also being considered.

Adamski said that recent partnership discussions with officials at Keuka College confirmed the potential of the school property to become a research and education center, administered by the museum, the college, and other academic partners. “All of these factors contributed to our change in plans”, he said.

Finger Lakes Museum Narrows Design Teams


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Project director Don Naetzker announced that the number of design teams interested in planning the Finger Lakes Museum has been narrowed from 35 to 4. The four teams are led by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Cambridge 7, HBT Architects, and The Smith Group. Each team has museum design experience.

In September, representatives from 60 architectural, engineering, exhibit design and landscape architecture firms from across the country and Canada met at Keuka Lake State Park to hear Naetzker and board president John Adamski describe the concept, mission, and vision for the project. Attendees were invited to submit qualifications to compete for the design commission. Thirty-five qualification packages were received by museum officials.

Naetzker said that the museum’s facilities committee, which he chairs, worked long and hard to evaluate the submissions, some as thick as phone books. He saluted the efforts and stated, “The choices were not easy to make. Each of the firms is nationally-known and very-well qualified.”

The four design teams on the short list will be asked to submit proposals outlining design concepts and fee structures by the end of December. A final selection is scheduled for January 2011.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to create a world-class educational institution that will showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. Last April, Keuka Lake State Park was selected as the preferred location to build the project.

For more information or to make contact, see www.fingerlakesmuseum.org.

Finger Lakes Museum Adds Three Trustees


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Finger Lakes Museum board president John Adamski announced that three new members have been elected to the organization’s board of trustees. The addition of Nancy Rees and Susan van der Stricht, and Texas businessman George Slocum brings the current number of board members to 12.

Rees, a retired Xerox senior vice president, currently coaches and speaks on practical approaches to leading organizations through change, and business process improvement. She also serves on the advisory board of Forte Capital Wealth Management and chairs the Garth Fagan Dance Company, an internationally renowned modern dance group.

She is a founding board member of Moonshadow’s Spirit, a non­profit organization benefiting people who are seeking treatment for eating disorders. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in computer science from Ball State University, and a management certificate from Smith College. Rees and her husband, Michael, live in Farmington and on Keuka Lake.

Susan van der Stricht is a Pittsford and Canandaigua Lake resident and former paralegal who worked for three major law firms during her 28­year career. She is a graduate of Union College with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and she also attended the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. Van der Stricht is an outdoor enthusiast who serves on the boards of The Nature Conservancy and the Genesee Country Museum and is active in conservation and preservation initiatives. She was recently involved in the transfer of title of the 7,000­ acre Hemlock and Canadice Lake watersheds from the City of Rochester to the State of New York. The new Hemlock­ Canadice State Forest will now be preserved in a forever ­wild state, immune from development.

Houston, TX entrepreneur George Slocum was elected to the board of trustees in October. Slocum grew up in the Finger Lakes Region but moved to Houston early in his career. He and his wife, Priscilla, live on Cayuga Lake for six months each year, where Slocum owns and operates the 1,200­ acre Cayuga Lake Farm. Slocum is a private investor and entrepreneur engaged in proactive investments in agriculture, energy, and venture capital. In his former corporate executive career, he served as CFO and CEO of Transco Energy Company, now part of the Williams Companies. Before that he was a vice
president in charge of energy project financing at Citibank.

Slocum is presently a trustee of Wells College in Aurora and a former trustee of University Council at Cornell University, where he is an active member. He has also chaired the Houston Council of Boy Scouts of America and served as a vice­chair of United Way of Houston. The Slocums have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
Adamski said, “George brings the business acumen and fundraising expertise that we need to keep the museum project on course. And he knows a little something about staying on course. His grandfather was the first person to sail around the world solo.”

Finger Lakes Museum Adds Staff, Previews Designers


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Thirty­-five architectural, engineering, and exhibit design teams from across the U.S. and Canada presented qualification submissions in the first stage of a competition to design the Finger Lakes Museum. The submission deadline was October 1st.

On September 14th executive director John Adamski and project director Don Naetzker hosted 70 design professionals from 60 firms at the museum’s future site in Keuka Lake State Park.

The meeting was followed by a request for qualifications, which is the first step in selecting a design team. “Because of the complexity of the project, a team approach makes sense”, said Adamski, who is also president of the museum’s board of trustees and a retired architect. “It’s unlikely that any single firm would possess all of the design disciplines in­-house that are needed for a project like this”, he added.

The museum’s facilities committee will evaluate each of the submissions in order to narrow the field to a maximum of 5 frontrunners. Those firms would then be asked to submit proposals, which would include design concepts. It is hoped that a design team can be onboard before the end of the year.

In other Finger Lakes Museum news, the board of trustees recently hired Natalie Payne as the startup organization’s third employee. She was formerly acting curator at Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua and will serve as associate project director working with executive director, John Adamski, and project director, Don Naetzker.

Adamski and Naetzker were hired by the board last May to develop plans for building the Finger Lakes Museum in Keuka Lake State Park. Payne has been involved with the project since its inception. She has been a museum board member since August 2008 and still serves as its secretary.

Adamski said, “Hiring Natalie is possible because of the early success of our Founders Campaign, which is a grass roots effort to raise the funds we need to hire personnel and equip our offices at the school in Branchport.”

Anyone can become a museum founder for $100 or more by logging on to their website and making a contribution. “We have momentum but we need all of the help we can get to keep it going” Adamski said. He has donated his own 2010 salary back to the project.

Finger Lakes Museum Unveils New Logo


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Finger Lakes Museum board president John Adamski recently unveiled the logo that will symbolize the museum’s future brand and identity. In his remarks, Adamski said that the bald eagle represents the most successful wildlife restoration success story in American history and it all began in the Finger Lakes Region near Hemlock Lake in the 1970s.

He later stated, “Our plans for the museum project, which started out with a handful of supporters just two and a half years ago, are to mirror the success of the bald eagle.”

Adamski and Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Director Tim Joseph also signed a Letter of Intent to start the process that will enable the Finger Lakes Museum to build its campus in Keuka Lake State Park.

Under the Letter of Intent, the Finger Lakes Museum and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation will begin a comprehensive planning process for the Museum’s facilities at Keuka Lake State Park. The process, which will include public input opportunities and a full environmental review, will develop a detailed concept design and site building plans.

A joint Memorandum of Understanding listing the commitments of five other Keuka Lake State Park site sponsors was also signed. Those members include Yates County, the Town of Jerusalem, Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, Keuka College and the Finger Lakes Visitors Association. A separate agreement with the Yates County Chamber of Commerce will be signed at a future date.

A few weeks ago, more than 70 people from 60 architectural, engineering, and exhibit design firms from across the country met at Keuka Lake State Park to listen to Adamski and project director Don Naetzker describe the concept, mission and vision for the project. After the presentation, they took a walking tour of the park and the Branchport School campus, which is serving as the museum’s interim headquarters.

When asked what constitutes a world­class museum, Adamski responded, “When dozens of design professionals from five countries—Canada, China, England, Germany, and the United States—express an interest in designing the project, you can’t get much more world­class than that.”

The attendees were asked to submit qualifications to compete for the commission of designing the Finger Lakes Museum. The board plans to narrow the list to five firms, which will then each submit design proposals before the end of the year.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to create a world­class educational institution to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square­mile Finger Lakes Region, since the last glacial recession began over 12,000 years ago. Last April, Keuka Lake State Park was selected as the preferred location to build the project.

Second Photo: Finger Lakes Museum project director Don Naetzker, left, facilitates the signing ceremony at Keuka Lake State Park. Seated from left are museum trustee David Wegman, Regional Parks Director Tim Joseph, board president John Adamski, Jerusalem town supervisor Daryl Jones, Yates County Legislature president Taylor Fitch, Finger Lakes Economic Development Center CEO Steve Griffin, Keuka College president Dr. Joseph Burke, and Finger Lakes Visitors Association Executive Director Steve Knapp.

For more information or to make contact, see www.fingerlakesmuseum.org.

Finger Lakes Museum Annouces Agreement


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Finger Lakes Museum Board President John Adamski and Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Director Tim Joseph have announced that a ceremony has been scheduled to sign a Letter of Intent to start the process that will enable the Finger Lakes Museum to build its campus in Keuka Lake State Park. A joint Memorandum of Understanding listing the commitments of five other Keuka Lake State Park site sponsors, which were presented in the Site Sponsors’ Proposal last December, will also be signed at the same event. Those members include Yates County, the Town of Jerusalem, Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, Keuka College and the Finger Lakes Visitors Association. A separate agreement with the Yates County Chamber of Commerce will be signed in a few more weeks.

The affair will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 17 th at the lakeside
pavilion in Keuka Lake State Park and members of the News Media and the public
are invited to attend this unprecedented event.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to create a worldclass educational institution to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000
squaremile Finger Lakes Region, since the last glacial recession began some 12,000 years ago. Last April, Keuka Lake State Park was selected as the preferred location to build the project after 19 sites were submitted for evaluation by 8 Finger Lakes counties and the City of Geneva in 2009.

Under the Letter of Intent, the Finger Lakes Museum and the New York State Office
of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will initiate a comprehensive planning
process for the Museum’s facilities at Keuka Lake State Park. The planning process,
which will include public input opportunities and a full environmental review, will
develop a detailed concept design and site building plans.

The Board of Trustees has approved the design of a new logo for the Finger Lakes
Museum, which was created by InHouse Graphics of Geneva and will be unveiled at the event.

New Board Members for Finger Lakes Museum


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Two new members were elected to seats on the Finger Lakes Museum’s board of trustees at its July 21 st meeting. According to board president, John Adamski, New York City attorney William Gaske, who serves as the museum’s legal counsel, and Village of Aurora vice mayor George Farenthold, were both added to the board in unanimous votes.
The board of trustees now has 10 members seated. Former trustee, Don Naetzker, resigned in May to take a paid position as the museum’s Project Director and is now in charge of managing its design and construction.

In other motions, the board elected six members to sit on a newly­created advisory board including Keuka College president Joseph Burke, former Kodak chairman and CEO Daniel Carp, Yates County Historian Frances Dumas, Fox Run Vineyard owner Scott Osborn, and former Rochester Institute of Technology president Dr. Albert Simone. Albany health­care consultant Mary Anne Kowalski was elected to chair the advisory board.

Adamski also announced that the board approved a motion to retain Brakeley Briscoe, a Connecticut consulting firm, to develop strategies for a capital fundraising campaign in an effort to raise up to $40 million. In April, Keuka Lake State Park had been selected as the preferred site to build the museum.

In a parallel move, the board of trustees launched its own fundraising drive, which it calls its 2010 Founders’ Campaign and is intended to raise $1 million in startup funds to hire staff, purchase computers, office equipment, and set up shop at the museum’s operations center in the Branchport Elementary School.

Anyone can become a museum founder for as little as $100 by logging on to the museum’s website at www.fingerlakesmuseum.org. Founders will receive a Founder’s Certificate, vehicle decal, and their names will be permanently inscribed on a Founders’ Wall in the lobby of the museum. The school building was vacant because of district consolidation but has been recently purchased by the Finger Lakes Visitors Association for use by the museum.

The Finger Lakes Museum Project is an initiative to create a world­class educational institution that will showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000­square­mile Finger Lakes Region. Plans will call for a freshwater tunnel aquarium, a glacial­geological exhibit of the Finger Lakes, outdoor wildlife habitats, and an auditorium­theater to be built at the Keuka Lake State Park site. Opening is scheduled for spring in 2014.

For more information see www.fingerlakesmuseum.org

Finger Lakes Museum, State Announce Partnership


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The president of the Finger Lakes Museum and the Regional Director of Finger Lakes State Parks have announced the formation of a partnership that will work to move the proposed Finger Lakes Museum forward. In April, the museum’s board of trustees announced that Keuka Lake State Park had been selected as the preferred site for a world­class museum that is planned to showcase the cultural and natural history of the 9,000 square­mile Finger Lakes Region.

Museum president, John Adamski, said that board members and Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) officials from Albany and the region have already met and toured the park as the first step in developing a joint master plan for the museum and public use of state parkland. Regional parks director, Tim Joseph, arranged the meeting and led the tour.

A little­-used 60­-acre section at the north end of the park, bordering Route 54A, is
being considered as the location for the museum’s main campus. Opportunities for interpretive exhibits in other areas of the park are also being examined. Camping and public use of the existing beach, facilities, and boat launch will not be affected.

Andy Beers, OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner, stated that while the agency will not be involved in funding the $40 million project, it will make its expertise and services available to help museum organizers develop their plans.

The Finger Lakes Museum is a privately held not-­for­-profit educational institution that was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009. While some federal and state funding may be available through grant programs, the bulk of the funding is planned to come from private sources and corporations.

In other developments, museum trustee and former site selection committee chairman, Don Naetzker, resigned from the board in May to accept a paid position as the museum’s Project Manager. A licensed landscape architect and professional land planner, Naetzker will coordinate planning efforts with museum organizers, state parks, and architectural and exhibit designers. His recent master planning projects include Frontier Field, Corn Hill Landing, and Charlotte Harbor at the Port of Rochester.
Commercial real estate developer and president of the Finger Lakes Visitors Association, David Wegman, was elected to the museum’s board of trustees in May. He is also owner of Esperanza Mansion Inn and Restaurant in the hamlet of Keuka Park and the tour boat, Esperanza Rose, which offers dinner cruises on Keuka Lake. Wegman was instrumental in bringing the Finger Lakes Museum to Keuka Lake State Park.

Photo: Finger Lakes Museum board members and officials from the state Office of
Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation met last month in order to develop a joint
master plan for Keuka Lake State Park. From left to right: Don Naetzker, FLM project manager; Tim Joseph, Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Director; Mike Wasilco, DEC Region 8 wildlife biologist; Andy Beers, OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner; Chris Pushkarsh, OPRHP, Tom Alworth, OPRHP; Bill Banaszewski, FLM; John Adamski, FLM president; John Eberhard, OPRHP; Henry Maus, FLM; Jim Zimpfer, OPRHP; Dan Davis, OPRHP; and Tom Lyons, OPRHP.

Finger Lakes Museum Selects Keuka Lake Site


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On Thursday, the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to select Keuka Lake State Park in Yates County as the future home of the Finger Lakes Museum. The vote was unanimous with one abstention.

After nearly a year of evaluating 19 sites that were originally submitted, the Site Selection Committee, under the direction of chairman Don Naetzker, recommended two sites for the Board’s consideration: Seneca Lake State Park in and adjacent to the City of Geneva, and Keuka Lake State Park near Branchport.

The idea to create a museum to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological history of the 9,000 square-­mile Finger Lakes Region was first floated in a Life in the Finger Lakes magazine article by John Adamski in March 2008.

After enlisting ConsultEcon Inc., a Boston­based market research firm in March, it was determined that the project is viable at either site although for different reasons. Board president, John Adamski added, “While the Seneca Lake site has significant advantages like a central location, the Board determined that the Keuka Lake site more closely met the requirements that were originally established in the Strategic Plan, especially as they relate to natural history programming.”

Among the advantages that he said tipped the scales in favor of the Keuka Lake site are the following:

• There is 700 feet of intimate lakefront with a level, sandy beach.

• The natural history element of the project is predicted to draw the most visitors. The rolling, hilly terrain, ravines, brook, woods, and areas of natural succession that exist there are ideal for wildlife exhibits in natural habitats.

• Several hundred acres of land are available for wildlife habitats and interpretive use—now or in the future.

• A 350­-car paved parking lot already exists.

• Keuka College has offered to add Museum Sciences to its curriculum
and become a partner in the educational aspect of the Museum.

• Yates County and Keuka­area business leaders have pledged over $2 million in start-up funding.

In addition, Adamski said, “The Branchport Elementary School, which is presently vacant, has been purchased by the Finger Lakes Visitors Association for use as the Museum’s base of operation during the project’s start-up phases. The building will provide 15,000 square­ feet for business offices and initial programming as well as storage for the acquisition of artifacts and collections.” Its 13­-acre site provides navigable water access to Keuka Lake.

He also stated, “Finger Lakes State Parks and the Finger Lakes Museum Project will undertake a joint master plan for the entire 620­acre park. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation has been very cooperative and enthused over the proposal and we look forward to working with them to bring the project to fruition.”

Although the Museum will be built on lands leased from Finger Lakes State Parks, it will remain a privately­-owned and mostly privately­-funded not­-for­-profit educational institution.