New Home, New Acquisitions

By the time the Museum moved to Glenview in April 1924, it owned some 2,500 minerals, fossils, and relics, as well as works of fine art—acquired through the leadership and, in many cases, the personal generosity of Edwin C. Mott. The Museum’s first director, William Berkeley, praised Mott’s key role: “If he had not given his material to the city and kept on impressing upon the public the desirability of a public museum . . . there is no doubt that we would not have had the museum today . . . . It cannot be questioned that to Mr. Mott, more than to anyone else, Yonkers is indebted for our museum and for all it means to the entire community.”

Once the Museum completed its move, it began soliciting and accepting numerous acquisitions to fill its spacious new quarters. Notably, even before its doors opened to the public in December 1924, it received a number of important gifts including Jasper F. Cropsey’s The Narrows at Lake George—the first Hudson River School painting to enter the collection—as well as engravings, decorative arts, historical photographs, documents, and souvenirs. All items had to be recorded, identified, classified, cleaned, and either stored or displayed—an enormous task that fell to the Museum’s one and only staff member, Supervisor Mabel C. Donnelly. Learn more about Mabel Donnelly and her role at the Museum in our next post.