Balmanno Cottage will be closed to the public effective Friday, August 23, 2013.
June 10, 2013 Geneva Historical Society to Sell Balmanno Cottage
On May 15, 2013 the Geneva Historical Society’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution to sell Balmanno Cottage at 583 South Main Street, Geneva. Blanchard Bartlett Walker bequeathed her house and the vast majority of her household furnishings to the Geneva Historical Society upon her death in 1997. It was her intent to establish her late husband’s collection of 18th- and 19th-century American furniture and decorative arts as a memorial to him. These objects became the William Walker Memorial Collection. Since 1997, the collection and other household furnishings have been displayed at Balmanno Cottage, the couple’s former home.
To maintain the house and its contents, Mrs. Walker created a small trust. However, she understood that there might come a time when the Historical Society could no longer maintain the house. In that event, she stipulated the house could be sold and the proceeds devoted to the display and maintenance of the Walker Collection at another location. Income from the trust would continue to be used to care for the Walker Collection.
The Board of Trustees has determined that the Historical Society does not have the physical and financial resources to maintain Balmanno Cottage. To better care for the Walker Collection and make it more accessible to the public, the Board has decided to remove the collection from Balmanno Cottage and sell the house. The Walker Collection will be temporarily moved to the Geneva History Museum at the Prouty-Chew House while plans are made for its permanent display. Portions of the collection will be incorporated into the museum’s existing period rooms, and the remainder will be placed in storage.
Those items currently at Balmanno Cottage that are not part of the Walker Collection will be added to the Geneva Historical Society’s permanent collection if they are relevant to community history. Items unconnected to the city’s history will either be transferred to other public institutions or sold at public auction. Proceeds from any sale will go towards caring for the Historical Society’s permanent collection. For further information or questions about the sale of Balmanno Cottage, please contact the Society’s Executive Director, Kerry Lippincott at 315-789-5151.
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