Allen Steinheim Museum

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Allen Steinheim Museum
Steinheim Building at Alfred University.jpg
Alfred University's Steinheim Building, August 2007
Allen Steinheim Museum is located in New York
Allen Steinheim Museum
Location Alfred University Campus, Alfred, New York
Coordinates 42°15′16″N 77°47′13″W / 42.25444°N 77.78694°W / 42.25444; -77.78694Coordinates: 42°15′16″N 77°47′13″W / 42.25444°N 77.78694°W / 42.25444; -77.78694
Area less than one acre
Built 1876-1880
Architect Allen, Jonathan
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 73001163[1]
Added to NRHP June 04, 1973

The Allen Steinheim Museum is a historic building and former museum located on the campus of Alfred University at Alfred in Allegany County, New York. It is a crenellated stone structure built from 1876 to 1880 to house the "mineral, geological, natural, and man-made curiosities" of Alfred University's second president Jonathan Allen. The building was originally started by Professor Ida Kenyon, who wished to make a private residence that resembled the castles of her native Germany.[2] The building is constructed of over 8,000 rock specimens that were combined to form the walls of the structure and 700 samples of local and foreign wood to combine the internal framework. When operating in the 1930's, it was considered the second oldest college museum in the United States. The Federal Writers Project described the museum as exhibiting a unique collection of "rare shells, mounted birds and animals, Indian artifacts and pioneer agricultural implements, early American pottery, Steigel and Sandwich glass, and the finest workmanship in the ceramic arts".[3] The building ceased being used as a museum in the early 1950s, was used as classroom space, and then fell into disrepair.

After a 1995 renovation, the Steinheim, which is German for "stone house," has since housed the university's Career Development Center.[4]

In 2008 artist Lenka Clayton devoted time to several projects that sought to call attention to the Steinheim Museum's absent collection.[5] Among these projects were: ""7,000 Stones," that collected a symbolic pile of stones- numbered as if part of a collection- which were then discarded; "Found Instructions 1", that used an inventory sheet of the dieing collection- found in the university's Special Collections- to create a modern display; and "Amnesty for the Museum," where she put a call out for the missing artifacts of the collection in order to photograph them in their current environment.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.[1]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ McFadden, Laurie. "The Steinheim". Archives and Special Collection at Herrick Memorial Library. Alfred University. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  3. ^ New York State Historical Association, Federal Writers Project (1940). New York: a Guide to the Empire State. Oxford University Press. p. 662. 
  4. ^ Steven S. Levy (April 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Steinheim, Alfred, Museum". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2009-06-14.  See also: "Accompanying two photos". 
  5. ^ "Artist offers 'amnesty' on Steinheim artifacts". AU News Press Release. Alfred University. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 

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