The impressive limestone mansion, now called the 1890 House Museum, was once the home of 19th century Industrialist Chester F. Wickwire. Born in 1843, Chester grew up on the family farm in McGraw, east of Cortland. As a young man, he moved to Cortland and opened a grocery store on Main Street. Gradually, the grocery store became a hardware business. Chester’s brother, Theodore, joined him in the business. In 1873, the brothers received a carpet loom as payment for a debt. Adapting the loom to weave wire, Chester transformed the hardware store into a major manufacturing firm that would impact the nation.
The 1890 House Museum aims to promote and interpret the historical and cultural significance of this property to the public. The 1890 House seeks to collect, preserve, research, display, and interpret objects that promote local and national history of America’s cultural heritage during the late 19th and early 20th centuries
Board Members & Staff
Meg Hutchins: Museum Director
Meg Hutchins grew up in the Albany area and attended SUNY Cortland for four years as a History and Social Studies Education major. After graduating she attended the University of Delaware where she received my master’s degree in Historic Preservation and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies in 2015. Her passion for museums began when she became a historic interpreter at Old Fort Western in Augusta, Maine at the age of 13. This love of history brought her to Cortland to become an educator. While at Cortland she became a research assistant working with Dr. Kevin Sheets on a project at the 1890 House Museum. That is when she fell in love with this beautiful structure. Meg has been working on developing new programs, collections management and updating the museum. She is excited to see the 1890 House Museum into a new era and hopes to continue the hard work of those who have come before her.
Justin Soler: Front Desk Manager
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Stephanie Barbara: Interim Assistant Director
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Megan Eves: Board President
Megan has been in the museum sphere since 2010 beginning with a museum internship following her graduation from SUNY Brockport where she received her Bachelors in History. She went on to earn her Masters in Museum & Archives from University College Dublin where she specialized in Irish History & Civilization. Her museum career began at Glasnevin Cemetery Museum in Dublin, Ireland in 2012 as Museum Assistant and later promoted to the Booking & Events Coordinator. While at Glasnevin, Megan performed genealogical research, worked with the cemetery archives, arranged public and private tours and events including Culture Night, Heritage Week, Seachtain Na Gaeilge, Bloomsday, and other commemorations. She returned to the States in late 2013 and worked as Museum Coordinator for the 1890 House Museum where she focused on public outreach, development of an internship program with SUNY Cortland, and the creation of educational workshops with grant assistance from the Cortland Community Foundation. Megan took a new opportunity as the first Executive Director at the Phelps Mansion Museum in Binghamton, New York. While there she worked closely with the museum board to expand and develop museum programming and to increase its public outreach to the community in accordance with its NYS Charter. While there she restructured the museum educational programs to incorporate STEM and NYS Common Core with a focus on cognitive learning via workshops. Megan has since returned to her hometown to work as the Cortland County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s first Social Media Marketing Specialist where she has worked on developing a digital marketing strategy for promoting Cortland County tourism. She is happy to be back in her community where she is focused on encouraging local and nonlocal tourism. Megan is excited to be back at the 1890 House helping to continue its preservation for the community.
Lisa Soler: Board Treasurer
Lisa has been a lifelong citizen of Cortland, and has always been fascinated by the 1890 House Museum. As a girl, she toured the house with her Girl Scout troop and says that it is one of her fondest memories. In mid-2016, Lisa was invited to join the board. She says that she hopes for more volunteer involvement with the museum and wants to bring attention to the museum on a national level. Lisa says that her favorite areas of the museum are the beautiful outdoor grounds and the Carriage House.
Stacey McCall: Board Secretary
Stacey’s interest in the 1890 House was sparked well over 30 years ago when she would visit with her late sister, Christie as small children. Christie had a unique perspective as she was a descendant of the Wickwire family. She would share her fond memories of riding up the stairs on the lap of her great-grandmother Wickwire. Stacey can just picture her playing hide and seek through-out the house with her cousins. To think of The 1890 House as a family home is heart-warming. When Stacey was approached to become a board member she jumped at the chance because not only does she have the opportunity to volunteer in her local community but she can also keep the memory of her late sister’s family alive. “My favorite spot in the house is the grand staircase. On May 26, 2013 I was married on the landing in front of the most important people in my life. My only wish is that Christie could have been there to witness.”
Lee Benson: Board Member
Lee has served on the Board in the past and has been back with us since 2014. Lee and his family reside in Homer, New York. He is owner of Benson Davis Insurance Company located in Homer. Lee feels that “The 1890 House is Cortland’s best historical treasure”. In his “free time” he enjoys antiques, gardening and landscaping.
Marilyn Palmer: Board Member
Marilyn joined the Board in June of 2015 and is an artist who specializes in portrait paintings. Born in Illinois, she has lived in Cortland since 1968, and can still remember seeing The 1890 House Museum (when it was still a private residence) for the first time and how impressed she was by its beauty and size – “It has to be a Castle!” “I am thrilled I was asked to join the Board of Trustees at the 1890 House, and honored to be participating in the restoration and preservation of the Museum.”
Stephanie Koslowski: Museum Programs Committee Chairperson, Board Member
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Jerry Wilcox: Board Member
Jerry has been with the Museum since 2006 who resides in Marathon, New York. A retired public school art teacher, he is now auctioneer and owner of Marathon Auction Sales & Services. In addition, he is owner of Riverbend Antique Center also located in Marathon, New York. “The 1890 House is a Grand Victorian Building Located in Cortland, NY. Due to my business dealings, it was a perfect place for me to feel right at home and felt a need to be part of the place.” In his “spare time”, Jerry is personally a Collector of Antiques and enjoys Music & The Arts. He recently published a book on Collecting Majolica “Majolica Pottery – The Thrill of The Hunt” and is writing another on “The Artist’s of Marathon, NY – 1930 to present!”
Dan Horn: Board Member
Dan joined the Board in August of 2014 and has become a great asset to the rest of the Board and the Museum staff. He is a consultant with Ambit Energy and can be seen jumping in to help out with many different projects around the Museum.
Nancy Hopkins: Board Member
Nancy joined the board in mid-2016. Having lived in Cortland most of her life, Nancy has always admired the many beautiful historic homes and wondered about the lives of those who occupied them. She hopes to get the chance to become more involved with the museum through the board. Nancy says that one of her great interests is genealogy and she is currently researching her family tree. As for future goals of the museum, she feels that preservation for future generations is a priority.
Mark Harrington: Board Member
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Thursday to Saturday - 12PM - 4PM
Last Admission - 3:30PM
Major Holiday's - Closed
Telephone - (607) 756 7551
E-Mail - The1890House@gmail.com
Children 10 & Under: Free
Feel free to contact us with Questions or Concerns by visiting our contact page located Here. Give us a call during our hours of operation or email us directly.
We Are Located
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