Antique Boat Museum

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Antique Boat Museum logo

The Antique Boat Museum is a museum on the St. Lawrence River, in Clayton, New York, United States, which displays the largest collection of antique and classic boats in North America. Each year, the museum hosts the United States' oldest Antique Boat Show & Auction during the first weekend of August. It is also the site for the biennial Antique Raceboat Regatta. The museum has seasonal hours and is open mid-May to mid-October.

Museum Statement of Purpose: "To collect, preserve, study and interpret objects related to the fresh water nautical history of small craft (less than 100') of North America, with emphasis on the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding area."

Aerial of the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY


In the 1960s a small nucleus of people who were determined to preserve the nautical and cultural heritage of the St. Lawrence River established the Thousand Islands Museum on the St. Lawrence River in Clayton, NY. Within the museum, a group concerned with preserving the area's rich boating heritage formed the Antique Boat Auxiliary and organized a show of antique boats in 1965. Afterwards, the Auxiliary began to build a collection of boats and developed land-based exhibits in the town of Clayton. In the meantime, the boat show became an annual event and grew steadily in size. Under the auspices of the Antique Boat Auxiliary, a small group of supporters acquired several parcels of waterfront property in the early 1970s and established a permanent museum to host the annual boat show. The new institution received a provisional charter from the NY State Department of Education as the 1000 Islands Shipyard Museum in 1980 and was granted an absolute charter in 1986. A 1990 amendment to the charter changed the institution's name to the Antique Boat Museum.

In the 40 years since its founding, the museum has built up a substantial waterfront campus that encompasses 4.5 acres of public program space, 1900 feet of dockage and 1300 feet of St. Lawrence River shoreline. The 10 buildings on the campus contain 29,000 square feet of exhibit space and 33,000 square feet of public programming, collections storage, archives, library and administration space. The exhibits and programs are supported by 20,000 square feet of boat collection storage located a short distance from the museum's main campus. In the last decade, the museum has undertaken a substantial capital expansion program to consolidate its real estate holdings and construct buildings and infrastructure worthy of its collection and programs.

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Coordinates: 44°14′17″N 76°05′21″W / 44.23806°N 76.08917°W / 44.23806; -76.08917