CHQ Attractions Drone Tour: McClurg Museum in Westfield, NY

There are countless reasons to enjoy living in Chautauqua County, including the many attractions found within our various communities. This week we are sharing a virtual tour of the McClurg Museum – home of the Chautauqua County Historical Society – in Westfield, NY. Footage courtesy of our partners at the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau.

The Chautauqua County Historical Society (CCHS) was founded in 1883, making it the oldest historical society in Western New York. CCHS stands as a preserver of the rich and diverse history of Chautauqua County. This esteemed institution, dedicated to preserving and sharing the stories of the region, offers visitors a fascinating journey through time, showing the lives and events that have shaped the community. It’s proven to be an invaluable education resource for residents of all ages.

At the forefront of CCHS is the McClurg Museum, located in the Village of Westfield. The museum is a former mansion that dates back to the 19th century and is now over 200 years old, making it a piece of county history. When stepping through its doors, visitors are immediately immersed in a bygone era, surrounded by period furnishings, vintage photographs and portraits, and preserved exhibits that reflect the diverse heritage of Chautauqua County.

Exhibits at the McClurg span a wide range of topics, offering something for everyone. Whether visitors are interested in the regions Native American roots, the impact of the European settlers, or the evolution of local industries, there’s a wealth of information to discover. Highlights include “The Earliest Settlers” exhibit, showcasing the tools, clothing and everyday items used by the county’s first inhabitants. As well as a Research Library, located in the museum, that contains several important collections, including the Elial T. Foote Collection, the Cushing Family Papers, the Albion W. Tourgee Collection and the John O. Bowman Photographic Collection. This library has been used by both local residents and visitors from not only across the country, but also from around the world.

The museum also features rotating exhibits that delve into specific aspects of Chautauqua County history. Recent displays have included an exploration of the county’s role in the Underground Railroad and a celebration of local artists and craftsmen. These always changing exhibits make sure that there is always something new to learn, which allows for each visit to provide a fresh and welcoming experience.

The McClurg is more than just a museum, it’s also a social center. Throughout the year, the society hosts a variety of programs and events designed to engage and educate. All the way from historical lectures and workshops to walking tours and family friendly activities. These events allow for a deeper understanding of the county’s history and offer opportunities for community members to connect and share their own stories.

This not-for-profit organization is able to thrive thanks to the support and involvement of the local community. There are always opportunities to get involved, whether through volunteering time, contributing skills, serving on the board of trustees, or simply making a tax-deductible donation. Volunteers play a crucial role in daily operations, from assisting with exhibits and events to helping with the archives. Serving on the board of trustees offers an opportunity to shape the future of the CCHS.

By volunteering or serving on the board, individuals can make an impact, ensuring to preserve Chautauqua County history and the legacies of the women and men who shaped communities, culture, and industry. The society welcomes individuals with a passion for history and their community to join in their efforts.

To learn more about the McClurg Museum and Historical Society, visit