Intersections: The Underground Railroad in Chautauqua County tells the story of the freedom movement in and through the western corner of New York State. The exhibit explores the local reaction to the slavery issue and the violent reaction to a slave capture in 1851, it points out the myths and truths about stations in the County and it tells the story of Catherine Harris, one of the most noted Operators on the trek north.
For more information about the Underground Railroad in New York State, visit the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor website.
The Fenton History Center also features elegant period rooms, the most notable of which, is the Fenton Drawing Room. Recreated in 1989, it exhibits some of the museums finest artifacts and is the perfect example of Victorian décor. The museum features a number of permanent and rotating exhibits.
Some of the museum’s permanent features include:
- Chautauqua Lake Room
- Civil War Room
- Evolution of Children’s Toys (Exhibit)
- Homespun Era (Cellar Dedication)
- Interactive History of Jamestown, New York (Display)
- Interactive Political Career of Reuben E. Fenton (1819-1895)
- Fenton Dining Room
- Fenton Family Parlor
- Jamestown, New York: Industrialization (Stairway Dedication)
- Lookout Tower
- Lucille Ball: Not the Girl Next Door (Room Dedication)
- Mourning 1800’s-1900’s (Corridor Dedication)
- Nanny and Children’s Room
- Swedish Room
- Victorian Vestibule
Summer 2017 Specially Featured Exhibit: Over There: WWI and Jamestown
After receiving news that the United States Congress had declared war on April 6, 1917, the City of Jamestown sprang into action. From its school children to its factories, bankers, and laborers to its City leaders – everyone did their bit. The Over There: WWI and Jamestown exhibit takes an intimate look at how WWI impacted the City of Jamestown specifically and gives a brief overview of what drove America to war after its initial reluctancy.
Over There: WWI and Jamestown features uniforms, American Legion history, letters sent from the battlefield (along with the soldier’s personal effects), artifacts from the War and many local references to Jamestown’ activities and people. The official dedication of this exhibit took place on April 5 at 6 PM on the eve of 100th anniversary of the day that the United States officially entered WWI and will stay on display until September 23rd.
New Yorkers played a pivotal role in the struggle for women’s suffrage and equal rights beginning in 1848 in Seneca Falls through the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. November 2017 marks the Centennial of New York State granting women the right to vote. Celebrate New York State’s triumph.
Why Not New York? The Road to the Vote addresses the struggle for equal rights in the 19th and 20th century, and the significant role that Chautauqua County citizens played in the movement for women’s suffrage.
This exhibit debuted the evening of June 14 and will stay on display until September 30.
Learn more about the Fenton History Center below:
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Fenton Mansion, located at 67 Washington Street in Jamestown, New York, is a landmark, lending distinction and elegance to the passing scene. In its continuing mission as the center for education and preservation of a unique local heritage, it is a valuable cultural institution in the city of Jamestown, New York.
In addition to housing an impressive museum within the family home of Reuben E. Fenton (1819-1885), U.S. Congressman (1853-1864), New York State Governor (1864-1869) and U.S. Senator (1869-1875), the Fenton History Center owns and operates a full functioning research center, located 73 Forest Avenue in the historic Hall House.
The Hall House is situated adjacently from the Fenton Mansion and is accessible by a private redbrick walkway. A private parking lot is available at both locations.
The Fenton History Center welcomes bus tours and guided tours by appointment (716) 664-6256. However, walk-in visitors are invited to take a self-guided tour of the museum at any time during operational hours, Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Visitors touring the museum on their own are provided with an informative booklet and a brief overview of the museum prior to their tour. A full selection of books; pieces reminiscent of the Victorian era; mementos of the Fenton Mansion, Jamestown, New York and Chautauqua Lake; keepsakes; and other a number of handcrafted items are available for sale within the museum gift shop.
Educational programming is available for businesses, civic groups, private and public students and families. Offerings are available within the historic Fenton Mansion and through the Fenton History Center’s Moving Museum. Please contact the Education Director Jennifer Champ to schedule a guided tour or program by phone (716) 664-6256 or by email
Museum and Research Center
Monday – Saturday
10 AM – 4 PM
Paid admission includes access to the Fenton History Center museum and research center. Those visiting the Fenton History Center are encouraged to visit both locations. Exhibits in the museum are ever-changing and new additions to the research center library are added on a regular basis.
*Please call ahead before visiting the research center whenever possible and to schedule appointments for detailed studies.
Many visitors park in one location to enjoy the brief walk between the museum and research center in the spring, summer, and fall.
Child (age 6 to 12) $4
Children (age 5 and under) Free Admission
Family Admission (children accompanied by parents) $30
Individuals, families, students and seniors who plan to visit the Fenton History Center on more than one occasion are encouraged to purchase a Fenton History Center membership. *Students and seniors receive discounted membership rates.
Follow the following link to learn how to become a member: