The Pember Library and Museum were established in Granville, New York, in 1909, by Franklin Tanner Pember and his wife Ellen Wood Pember. Both institutions continue to operate in the building designed and built for this purpose. The Pember Library is housed on the first floor of the marble structure and the Pember Museum of Natural History is located on the second floor.
Franklin Pember was born near Granville in 1841. He was an entrepreneur, with interests in the fur trade, oil fields and orange groves. From boyhood he was interested in the natural world and collected mounted birds and mammals, bird nests and eggs, shells, insects, plants and rocks and minerals. This collection became the basis of the Pember Museum.
After Franklin Pember died in 1924, the Museum was neglected and its funding depleted. The Museum was forced to close to the public for almost 40 years, until 1973, when the Friends of the Museum revived the Pember, cleaning and restoring the collections and the building. In 1979, the Pember Museum acquired 125 acres of land south of Granville, which became the Pember Nature Preserve in Hebron. The historic Porter Schoolhouse adjacent to the Preserve was given to the Museum by the Granville School District in 1987, for use as a nature center.
The Pember Museum of Natural History and the Pember Nature Preserve provide programs, exhibits and activities for the people of eastern New York and western Vermont. It is the only institution of its kind in the region and serves large numbers of school children each year. The Museum and Preserve offer lectures, field trips, environmental studies, tours, hikes, day camps, outreach and many other special programs.
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