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People news: Antique Boat Museum names Wakefield museum curator

By Journal Staff


CLAYTON, N.Y. — The Antique Boat Museum (ABM), a freshwater nautical museum based in Clayton, announced that it has appointed Claire Wakefield as the museum curator, a role she has been filling on an interim basis since March. 

Wakefield is responsible for building and guiding the course of the museum’s artifact, library, and archival collections and for directing and developing content for exhibitions and public programs related to the collections, according to an ABM news release.

Wakefield joined the ABM staff in 2010 as membership and marketing coordinator and in 2013 became the assistant curator. She has also led the first digitization efforts of the museum’s archives, leading to the broader availability of research materials to the general public. 

“Claire brings a positive attitude and an eye for the details,” Rebecca Hopfinger, ABM executive director, said in the release. “She will be a strong steward for the Museum’s vast collection and I am proud to name her to the position of curator.”

An alumna of Juniata College (in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) with a degree in museum studies, Wakefield began her career as assistant registrar at the Juniata College Museum of Art, and also held a previous position at the Albany Institute of History & Art.

Located on the St. Lawrence River, the ABM features a collection of more than 300 antique and classic boats, among thousands of recreational boating artifacts, including the “world’s largest runabout,” Pardon Me, and a 113-year old gilded-age two-story houseboat, La Duchesse. The museum hosts the longest running antique boat show in North America and is considered the birthplace of antique raceboat regattas, according to the release. 

ABM’s final day of operation for the 2016 season will be Monday, Oct. 10. Until then, it remains open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. While the ABM galleries close to visitors during the winter months, the offices remain open year-round. The museum is expecting to open the 2017 season on May 5.

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