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Gouverneur Museum will become more handicapped accessible

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GOUVERNEUR — The community has rallied behind the Gouverneur Historical Association, donating more than $6,000 within a week toward the $15,400 cost of two stair chair lifts to make the Gouverneur Museum more handicapped-accessible.

President Joseph D. Laurenza said he sent 410 letters to businesses and individuals asking for help in the association’s drive to install two stair lifts at the Church Street museum, one to the basement exhibit and one to the second floor.

“The community has been wonderful,” he said.

Whatever money is not raised from donors will come from the association’s endowment, he said.

The museum’s governing board has never asked the community for financial assistance, but the undertaking’s size necessitated the request, he said.

Once a three-story Victorian home, the building used to be the Presbyterian Church’s manse.

The association has a gem and mineral collection, medical room and office equipment in the basement. On the second floor, the association has a library mostly used for genealogical research, a children’s room, military room, bedroom and clothing room. The main floor has a Victorian living room, music room and dining room.

“We have a lot of senior citizens who come in. They do the first floor and say they can’t do any more,” Mr. Laurenza said. “It bothered me and I went to the board.”

The stairway to the basement posed few problems because it is straight. Steps to the second floor are more challenging because the stairway curves in a landing.

Therefore, that cost was higher.

The equipment is being manufactured by Fleetwood Accessibility Services, Rochester, Mr. Laurenza said.

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