WILLIAMSTOWN — Sometimes, history has a way of coming back.
That's why Sarah Currie spends so much time chasing local history and all its artifacts and records.
Now, as executive director of the Williamstown Historical Museum, she has actually moved history.
The museum will host a grand opening celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at its new location just south of Five Corners at 32 New Ashford Road.
The historical museum will be housed in a historic building, the former home of the South Center School, which is in the Five Corners historic district. Some might call that an historic hat-trick.
"With the new signage, this quaint building brings a bright face to the museum," Currie said.
The school was established in 1810 in what is now known as Bloedel Park at the Five Corners intersection of New Ashford Road and Hancock Road, or Routes 7 and 43, Currie said.
In 1860, the school moved to a new building just down the street. It served as a schoolhouse for more than 100 years. It then became a preschool during the 1970s, and it closed in 2009.
And that's just the history of the building. The history that's inside the building is even more intriguing, what with more than 10,000 objects including ancient arrowheads, antique farming tools, a ticket window from the 1877 Waterman & Moore Opera House, antique weaponry, even bound copies of local newspapers — including the Williamstown News and the Advocate — dating back to the early 1800s.
The very first building in what is now Williamstown was built in 1753, so there is plenty of rich history to pursue.
The grand opening will feature punch, cookies and history. There will be special speakers and fresh exhibits of treasures from the collection. Overflow parking will be available at Bloedel Park, just a short walk away. With 3,000 square feet, the museum's storage area is bigger now, and the exhibition area is slightly smaller, although all of the exhibits do fit in the smaller space, Currie noted.
Currie said the new location is much more visible to the public than the former location, at the rear of the Milne Public Library, with no exterior signage.
There's a kids' room, complete with antique blackboard and desks, the kind where the wooden chair is attached to the wooden desk with cast iron fixtures and the desks have that little hole for the ink well.
There is also an office, a meeting room and a vast backyard with a barbecue pit.
The storage area is a history buff's heaven, with stacks of books, records and a wide variety of artifacts including the old Gale Hose Company's horse-drawn hose cart, and the steamer truck that once belonged to the wife of composer and songwriter Cole Porter.
The building is owned by the town, and the museum has secured a 50-year lease, with a rental rate of $1 per year, thanks to the efforts of former town Manager Peter Fohlin and current town Manager Jason Hoch, Currie said.
She noted that by the time the lease is up, artifacts from current times could become part of a historical exhibition in the museum.
Currie said she enjoyed the move, because she got to catalogue a bunch of historic items and documents.
"We are so lucky," she said. "We were able to keep all that's really precious and draws the most people."
Reach staff writer Scott Stafford at 413-496-6301.
If you go ...
What: Grand opening of new Williamstown Historical Museum
When: 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: 32 New Ashford Road, just south of Five Corners
Info: Call 413-458-2160 or email email@example.com