Visitor Center

Proctors hosts Schenectady Canalway Visitors Center

Display is resource about history, attractions in greater Schenectady region

Schenectady has hosted a Heritage Area Visitors Center since 2011. Located on the first floor of Proctors, the exhibit features five areas that highlight the legacy of Schenectady area – History, Landmarks, Industry, Culture and Visionaries – and instructs visitors to the role Schenectady plays in green energy and other emerging technologies.

“This is an exciting initiative for Proctors,” said CEO Philip Morris in an announcement in 2011. “The Heritage Area Visitors Center is yet another step toward achieving our goal of making Proctors an important gatheringplace for the community – and for those visiting Schenectady. We’re pleased to move this project forward with the strong support of the City, County and Metroplex.

”The project was funded by a $180,000 Federal Highway AdministrationNational Scenic Byways Grant administered by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). A $40,000 local match was provided by the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority.

Eric Hamilton, Chair of the Scenic Byway Program said at the time, “The Mohawk Towpath Byway is excited about this project and the opportunity that it provides. The visitor center is located at the western gateway to the Mohawk Towpath Byway in an area that will capture the interests of largenumbers of residents and visitors alike. The materials presented here will spark further interest in our area’s heritage and encourage further exploration as a visitor leaves the center.”

Adirondack Studios, an Argyle firm that has been the fabricator of sets for Disney’s The Lion King as well as sets for the Boston, Los Angeles and New York Opera companies was commissioned along with Stracher Roth Gilmore Architects of Schenectady to design the exhibit that is located across from Apostrophe Cafe. The 1,200-square foot exhibit area isaccessible from the State Street entrance of Proctors.

The exhibit space includes display racks to showcase marketing materials on various historic points and places of interest within Schenectady County and the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway. Representatives from numerous organizations came together to develop the content of the exhibit including the Schenectady County Historical Society, Schenectady Museum, Mabee Farm, local historians, Proctors History Committee, Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway, Revolutionary Byway and the City of Schenectady.

The Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway is a national and state designated byway from Waterford to Schenectady. It connects to the Revolutionary Byway that runs to Port Ontario.

Ray Gillen, Metroplex Chair and Commissioner of Economic Development for Schenectady County said in an announcement about the project, “By working together we were able to utilize this grant funding to take a high visibility space within the Proctors complex that was not being utilized and turn it into a resource that will help theater goers and other visitors to downtown learn about everything that Schenectady County has to offer.”