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About this collection

Antique Boat 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.  


Our History


In the 1960’s a small nucleus of people who were determined to preserve the nautical and cultural heritage of the St. Lawrence River established the 1000 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.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′ of dockage and 1300′ 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 program, 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. From humble beginnings as a riverside gathering of antique boat enthusiasts, the Antique Boat Museum has evolved into a national institution which makes substantial economic and cultural contributions to Clayton, the North Country region and the preservation of North America’s maritime heritage.


Gar Wood Collection


Garfield Wood never intended to go into the boat building business. His goal was to personally set every speed record on water and be recognized as the world’s speedboat king. However, as he set forth to achieve these goals, he was influenced by colleagues and friends and as a result built one of the world’s finest line of production recreational boats. Since the 1970’s the Gar Wood Society has been issuing Gar Wood Production Verification Certificates and research requests to Gar Wood owners and enthusiasts. The information is collected directly from original factory documents of the Gar Wood Boat Division of Gar Wood Industries. The data on these documents are taken from the most authentic sources available and should be considered factual in every way.


In 2010 the factory documents and materials collected by the Society from the Gar Wood Boat Division were donated to the Antique Boat Museum by Gar Wood author, historian, and Antique Boat Museum Trustee Anthony S. Mollica, Jr. The Antique Boat Museum continues to provide research on Gar Wood boats as well as issuing Gar Wood Certificates. If you are interested in obtaining a Gar Wood Production Verification Certificate, please visit the following page:


View the Gar Wood Collection

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