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Slate Valley Museum

Historic Museums and Attractions
Slate Valley Museum

From a New World Dutch Barn, the Slate Valley Museum emerged. The barn, which dates to about 1840, may have some parts that date to as early as the 1700s. This has been determined by the design of the nails in its oldest timbers. It was expanded in size around the middle of the nineteenth century. New World Dutch Barns, built in a region dominated by grain farming, provided housing for farm animals and acted as facilities for threshing and storing grain and hay. Dutch Barns are distinctive because of their shape, arrangement of interior space, and H-shaped structural frames which serve as the central core.

This particular Dutch Barn was previously located in Ravena, New York. The Blue Circle Cement Company generously donated the barn to become a part of the new museum. It was dismantled piece-by-piece with hand tools and hauled to its present site in Granville, New York, on land donated by the estate of Hugh G. Williams, a descendant of a slate baron. Here it has been reconstructed into the remarkably beautiful main exhibition space of the Slate Valley Museum.

In 1996, the Museum won a Preservation Award from the Washington County Advisory Board on Historic Preservation for the reconstruction of the Dutch Barn.

Through its focus on the regional history and culture of the Slate Valley of New York and Vermont, the Slate Valley Museum is the leading center for the research and interpretation of the geology, history, and peoples of the slate industry in North America.

We invite you to join us and explore…

  • exhibits of historic artifacts from the area's renowned slate quarries and mills

  • displays revealing the science and art of slate quarrying, and its influence on the Slate Valley culture

  • a quarry shanty, complete with all the machinery and tools used in traditional slate quarrying

  • a geological display illustrating the natural history of slate

  • examples of how slate has been used in the structure and decor of local buildings and as an inspiration for artworks in various media

  • and our multi-media exhibit " HEAVY LIFTING: A Human and Technological History of Moving Slate from Quarry to Market, 1850-Present "

    Experience the recent and distant past through...

  • videos of quarry workers in action that show how slate is processed

  • an extensive collection of documentary photographs that reveals the people, atmosphere, and traditions of 150 years of slate quarrying

  • a WPA Federal Art Project mural created in 1939 for the local high school that commemorates "Men Working in Slate Quarry"

  • art and paintings by local artists that celebrate the impact of slate quarrying on community life

  • a schedule of engaging public programs ranging from quarry and mill tours to industrial archeaology walks, from lectures to workshops and demonstrations


  • how slate formed within the Earth

  • why slate comes in different colors

  • how the discovery of slate in the Slate Valley forever changed the region

  • why the Slate Valley is truly unique in all the world

  • how slate was first quarried, and the impact of modern technology on quarrying today

  • how slate has been and continues to be used both for its strength and beauty in architecture, including national landmarks such as the White House

  • why immigrants came to the United States from many different parts of the world to work in the Slate Valley, and the histories of those who settled in the area

Identify And Describe The Management Organization

The Slate Valley Museum is a not-for-profit educational, cultural, and artistic organization with a mission to collect, catalogue, preserve, conserve, exhibit and interpret materials, artifacts, machines and information that demonstrate the geology of slate and the history of slate quarrying and the quarrying community in the Slate Valley of New York and Vermont from 1839 to the present.

The Slate Valley Museum Foundation that runs the museum and its activities is headed by a Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is responsible for policy making and oversight of all museum activities.

Suggested Further Reading

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