ALTAMONT: Exhibits inspire fair bit of nostalgia

Though a more modern goal of the Altamont Fair in recent years has been to showcase the latest and greatest entertainment acts, the abundant history of Albany, Greene and Schenectady counties found in the fair?s museums remain a staple of its nostalgic appeal.

Just ask Herald Hahn, chairman of buildings and grounds, and Altamont Fair board member since 1974.

Hahn is the unofficial expert of the fair's nine museums, which showcase everything from antique cars and farm equipment to classic circus paraphernalia.

When asked if he had a favorite museum, Hahn replied, All of them are great.

One of the museums is the Bozenkill School, which was built in 1850 as part of the Knox School District. Originally a tiny red schoolhouse that was used until the 1950s, the Altamont Fair purchased it in 1966 and transferred it to their grounds. Now visitors can enter the school and get a feel for early student life by sitting on the tiny cherry wood and iron desks, browsing the tiny corner library, and viewing old photographs of the original students and teachers that inhabited the school.

Then there is the Village Carriage Museum, which depicts, in several tiny rooms within one space, how the village of Altamont may have looked in 1890. The displays, which include a barber shop, a union office, a saddle and harness shop, a hotel, a saloon, and tin and hardware store, all contain some original antique objects. Inside the Village Carriage Museum, visitors will also find several original horse-drawn carriages and buggies, including some of the actual carriages used in the film "Ironweed," which was filmed in Albany in the mid 1980s.

The Farmhouse Museum depicts how a 19th century farmhouse would look, complete with an antique rope bed, the piece of furniture responsible for the famous saying "sleep tight."

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