The silent auction committee volunteers have been diligently seeking support for this year's event. All proceeds will go toward the operating support for the society's historic Richardson-Bates House Museum. "This is the historical society's primary fund-raiser," said Mary Kay Stone, co-chair for the auction. "It has always been a very important event. A successful evening is necessary in order to maintain this iconic landmark and its collections."
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and part of the Washington Square Historic District, the Richardson-Bates House is a rare example of a 19th century Tuscan Villa. "Many costly repairs to the ornate exterior have been completed during the last few years to preserve the historic integrity of the house and it’s been an amazing transformation" added Stone. "Unfortunately we began to have extreme water leaks from the large skylight on the roof and that did damage to the interior. Due to the progress that was made, we know there are many more needs to address in order to continue maintaining the museum building and its services to the community."
Efforts are regularly being made by the historical society board of trustees and volunteers to raise the needed funds to complete additional restoration projects on the interior. A very generous recent contribution from the City of Oswego was received to assist with the roof repairs surrounding the skylight. Interior work will be made through funds raised through the society’s fund-raisers, including this year’s auction.
A popular addition to the silent and live auction portions of the event has been the antique appraisal and it will be featured once again this year. Every admission ticket will include one free antique appraisal by Gerald Petro of Iroquois Auctions in Brewerton, N.Y. Additional appraisals after the first free one will be $5.00 each. This will be donated to the OCHS. "Anyone who enjoys antiques and has something unique that they have always been curious about and would like to know more about the origin and value will have that opportunity," added Jennifer Bertollini, co-chair of the auction. "If you enjoy the popular TV shows that feature antique appraisals, you will definitely enjoy having that personal experience provided at the auction."
Professional auctioneer Ted Sivers will also conduct the live auction of special items. Among the many unique donations for bid will include a watercolor painting by the late Jeanne Kraft, who was a well-known artist that resided in Oswego throughout her life. Kraft was a graphic designer for more than forty years with Sealright Corporation, and was a talented artist of watercolor paintings including recognizable scenes around the Oswego area. The watercolor painting is of the popular historic landmark Selkirk Lighthouse which is located in Port Ontario of the town of Richland in Oswego County.
A wide variety of gift certificates, antiques, home goods, collectibles, artwork and more will be available for bid. A traditional Chinese auction will be featured with chances to be offered for a dozen themed-filled gift baskets. "The evening features a wide variety of valuable items received from generous donors," said Justin White, OCHS board of trustees member. "There is truly something for everyone to bid on and enjoy, all while supporting the museum. Please mark your calendar and bring a friend."
The Oswego County Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the county's rich historic past. It operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum located 135 E. Third St. in Oswego. The museum is open from April to December on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1 - 5 p.m. and other days by appointment.
Anyone wishing to help sponsor the cost of the event, make a donation of quality items for the auction, or would like to purchase tickets in advance, may call the museum at 315-343-1342.