QUEENSBURY - 21st century development in Queensbury has opened a window to a time when the area was an American Indian seasonal hunting and fishing region.
The Warren County Historical Society is considering use of that heritage to establish a new museum that would feature a collection of artifacts the society has accumulated from archeological studies done prior to development projects in Queensbury, including for the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Water Park and installation of the Route 9 sewer line.
There also are a few artifacts from a study conducted before the Wingate Hotel was built in Lake George.
The collection includes stone tools, projectile points, spear heads and knife points believed to have been used by American Indians.
"A significant portion of the objects seem to be from the late Archaic Age, and that's about 3,000 to 5,000 years ago," said Paul Derby, a cultural anthropology professor at Castleton State College and a historical society board member.
Historians would like to someday put the collection on public display.
"We have a state charter that says we can become a museum," Gary Evans, the society's executive director, said last week at a Queensbury Town Board workshop meeting.
The society leases space from the town for the society's offices in a former firehouse on Sunnyside Road.
Evans said the society might want to lease additional space to develop a museum display area, possibly the space now used to store older voting machines that at some point likely will be discarded.
For now, the museum is just a concept the society is discussing. There are no definitive plans.
Evans said he is exploring possible sources of grants for planning, but there is limited grant funding available for renovating buildings and creating displays. So the society would have to come up with funding other than grants in order to expand its scope.
"It would be great. It would be a different kind of attraction in Queensbury," Evans said.
The artifacts are connected with the story of when the area was an American Indian hunting and fishing ground.
Derby said the Great Escape Lodge, which opened in 2005, was built on property once known as Holt's Terrace that was previously known to have American Indian archeological significance.
"They came there for probably seasonal, but they definitely came there often and they knew about it," he said.
Evans said a museum would fit the nostalgic character of the Oneida Corners neighborhood, where the historical society's offices are located.
"Right around the immediate corners, it's the same as it's been for 50 or 100 years," he said.
The society pays the town $375 in monthly rent, the same amount it has paid for five years.
Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec said he will introduce a resolution at an upcoming Town Board meeting to extend the lease for two more years, while the society considers its options.
"We've got a lot of activity there where something significant might happen that would change the direction in the next few years," he said.