The Saratoga County Historical Society at Brookside Museum has reinvented itself as the Saratoga County History Center.
It’s the intention of the Saratoga County History Roundtable to work closely with the History Center as the new vision takes shape in coming months.
For nearly sixty years, the organization has focused primarily on Brookside Museum (a 1792 summer boarding house in Ballston Spa), catering to local history enthusiasts and genealogy hunters. By October 2019, however, it was clear to the board of trustees that traditional approaches to public history and community engagement would no longer sustain the institution. On the brink of closing, a “Save Brookside” campaign was launched, ultimately raising over $90,000.
A reshuffling of the board of trustees has yielded new approaches to serving the community and preserving history. Rather than concentrating exclusively on Ballston Spa locals and museum walk-ins, the organization now endeavors to represent all the diverse populations and histories of Saratoga County as a whole through a variety of online and in-person exhibits, programs, and events. Thus, rebranding as the Saratoga County History Center with a vision to “Share history to promote community.”
As Saratoga County’s History Center, “Brookside” is expected to act as the nerve center, clearinghouse, and repository for use throughout the county and a resource not only for local historians, libraries, and governments, but also for those around the globe seeking information about Saratoga County and its environs. It’s hoped it will also be a member-driven organization, reliant upon member dues, donations, and participation. Memberships are being sought throughout the county and beyond. A sizable membership will help create a dependable revenue stream and identify stakeholders regardless of location.
To accompany these changes, the History Center’s mission statement has been revised. The new mission statement reads: “The mission of the Saratoga County History Center is to serve as a repository for local and regional histories, to provide innovative educational and public programing, and to instill in our communities a deeper understanding of how the past informs and impacts our present and future.”
Photo of the Brookside Museum provided.