About This Building And Site
Maria and William Georgi bought the river property in 1952 from a local resident, Clarence Jackson, who used the land for pasturing cows. The Georgi family built the house in 1955 for their son Henry.The house was not lived in until the mid 1980's after Henry's death; his widow Jessie was the only Georgi family member to establish residence on this site. It was the wish of both Henry and Jessie Georgi that the property be given to the people in the community of Shushan and the town of Salem. It is with great pride that we establish a Museum and Park center for all the people to enjoy.
The grounds consist of nine acres, part of which was originally landscaped by the Georgi family. The remaining acres will soon be developed into a recreational and picnic area. The Battenkill winds around the southwestern perimeter, providing a beautiful natural setting.
Don't Miss This When Visiting
As you wander the museum look for details and delights such as these:
In the entry, facing you as you enter the museum, you will see a portrait of the Virgin Mary on her deathbed. Note the breath escaping from her lips - her soul arising to heaven. Look behind the front door for other saintly subjects. Above the sliding door is a copy of Queen Elizabeth I, given to the museum by Henry's sister Dorothea, who also inherited some of the art.
The small gallery to your left features a magnificent Madonna and Child(unsigned). Note the rather mature look of the Child. Art experts can tell you the approximate age of a piece by the way the Child is portrayed as a baby, a young boy, or even a small adult. Above a polychrome figure of a saint by Peiter Neers, a German piece, examine at closeup "Church at Night"; two exquisite miniature holy family groupings. On another wall are two small paintings which may be parts of two larger altar groupings. Only these two remain, courtesy of Mr. Georgi and his love of collecting.
The larger gallery room was the sole bedroom of the original house. In this room are three paintings which have recently been restored. Note how the damage seen in photos has been rectified. Look closely at the large painting "Martyrdom of a Saint" and you see how the paint was applied over boards. This picture is damaged also, but it was recommended to museum trustees not to have it restored because it is a "window into history"; the faces of the torturers may have been gouged out by angry Christians when the painting was first viewed. Also in this room are three cabinets displaying silks, porcelains and carvings, and tables of exquisite marquetry and decorative painting.
In the large living room, after you admire the wonderful view through the floor-to-ceiling windows covering the entire front wall, you may find yourself wondering about the subject of the life-size "Portrait of a Lady." Isn't she beautiful?She smiles over the mantel of a large fireplace of green Vermont marble. Also in this room is an interesting portion of a stained glass window showing one of the Stations of the Cross: Christ carrying the cross to Calvary. It's thought that the piece may be a portion of a much larger window. If you think pieces of it appear to be missing, you could be right - it was given to the Georgis in a shoe box! It was presented in gratitude by a family whom Mr. Georgi had helped to leave Europe before the impending war.
All of the furniture in this room, as in every room, was a part of the Georgi estate and bequeathed along with the house, artwork, and grounds. It was in use as everyday furniture.
In the small room behind the double French doors is Henry Georgi's mineralcollection, showcasing many unusual and beautiful specimens. In the tall cabinet by the window, look for the diamond encased in natural rock.
In the hallway leading to the Battenkill Room are portraits of the Georgi family: William and Marla, their son Henry, and his wife Jessie.
In the Battenkill Room are some fine examples of antique stained glass. Art shows are held here occasionally, as well. Jessie Georgi called this her "dog room." She was known to rescue stray dogs, her favorite being German Shepherds, and the slate floors were cool on a warm day.