Learn more about the Emily L. Knapp Museum.

The Emily L. Knapp Museum is located in the Village of Brockport, situated on the Erie Canal in the state of New York.

The mission of the museum — an educational institution — is to collect, preserve, and provide access to the heritage and history of the greater Brockport community.


The land on which the Emily L. Knapp Museum stands are the lands of the Onöndowa’ga or Seneca Nation of the Hodinöhsö :ni’ Confederacy. This land was seized and unceded from them. We are committed to centering the voices of indigenous cultures in all spaces where there has been exclusion and erasure. Thank you.

The History of the Museum

Once the Seymour family home, then the Seymour Library, and now the Emily L. Knapp Museum, the historic building at 49 State Street appropriately houses an extensive collection of Brockport’s past.

The Emily L. Knapp Museum, formerly the Seymour Library.

James Seymour, donated the Seymour family home to the Village of Brockport for the purpose of housing a library to be known as the Seymour Library. Seymour’s grandniece, Helen Hastings, then requested that a portion of the home serve as a Brockport Museum.

Hastings founded the Brockport Museum, and wrote much about Brockport’s history. In time, Helen was followed as museum director by Emily L. Knapp.

Knapp served as Village Historian and wrote many histories of Brockport in addition to directing the museum. She was dedicated to preserving the museum’s collection and the hard work of Helen Hastings — her devotion to the collection inspired the Village of Brockport Board of Trustees to name the museum for her in 1996.

Have a Brockport artifact?

We’re always looking to expand our collection.

If you have an artifact that relates to the history of the Village of Brockport, please send us an email at museum@brockportny.org.

Our Namesake

In 1920, Emily Lyon moved to the United States from England, where she was born in 1916. She attended the Brockport Normal School and became Emily Knapp when she married Willis Knapp, a lifetime Brockport resident, in 1938.

Emily became Village Historian and has written many histories of Brockport, some of which are featured on this site. As Historian, Emily directed the Brockport Museum, preserving the museum’s collection, which was originally established by Helen Hastings, and her hard work inspired the Village of Brockport Board of Trustees to name the museum for her in 1996.

Emily Knapp passed in 1997, leaving her husband, Willis, two sons, Norm and Fred, and grandchildren.

Information for this biography can be found in Eunice Chesnut’s Encyclopedia of Brockport.

Do you know there’s a place where time stands still
For as long as you’d like it to?
Where your thoughts may go back to the by-gone days
And with cares of the day you’re through.
We’ve treasures galore in our museum
From when Brockport’s days were new
So stop someday, and visit a while
And this folklore we’ll share with you.
The “Pioneer Room” speaks of old canal days
With relics from packet and land
There are captain’s chairs, and trundle bed,
And “Bessie” is close at hand
Keeping watchful eye on the old, old things,
(She’s a doll, you understand).
We’re Victorian things in another room,
That speak of a grander day
Of stove-pipe hats, and rosewood chairs,
Horse-hair sofas and marble-top stands
You can just be carried away!
The old Morgan reaper we have on display
Had its origin here in our town.
And there’s Mary Jane Holmes and the novels she wrote
For which she gained world renown.
We’ve a “Memory Room”, where for hours you’ll browse
Over places and friends you once knew
Of the old Normal days, the Fair crowds, and such
Of them all, we mention a few.
So come pay a call, stay as long as you like,
You’ll be pleased, we know, if you do.
For you’ll love every moment you spend looking round
The museum is open to you.

The Brockport museum, a poem by emily l. knapp (1957)
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