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Akin Free Library

Discover, enjoy, spend the day!

pawling, putnam county, dutchess county, hudson valley, quaker hill, library, museum, oddities, history, things to do, places to go, kid friendly, family friendly, halloween, spooky, free things to do

The building itself exudes spookiness, Akin Free Library sits on a quiet street in Pawling, NY and seems so out of place. Built all in stone, glowing eerily green and obviously from a time long passed, it is the perfect place to find eccentric treasures!

The whole building is one big history museum, and in the basement is the most wonderful collection of oddities! As you walk down the dark, winding staircase, you're met with a wonderful collection of taxidermy. A small gator adorns a soft glowing window, some horned beasts hang from the green walls and a creepy snake, with the push of a button, loses its skin and reveals its skeleton.
The oddity museum is comprised of 4 small rooms; Indian relics, the bird room, the "jars of super weird stuff" room and the mineral room. My daughter's favorite room is the one we will start with first! The "jars of super weird stuff" is exactly what it sounds like and you will not be disappointed in the bizarre factor! Animals, parasites and human remains are all perfectly preserved in jars full of clear liquid.
The wonderful creepiness does not stop here, other cases hold delicate skeletons of every creature imaginable along with dried hanging puffer fish, an impressive collection of stuffed rodents being attacked by reptiles and lots and lots of insects!
The next room aka the bird room is filled to the brim with all manner of stuffed birds! Every single bird you could possibly imagine is perfectly preserved and set in cases for you to admire. Along with the bird "skins" are their nests and eggs. The collection of eggs is quite interesting, and allows you to compare all of the colors, shapes and sizes.

The next room, or the mineral room is filled with fossils, meteorites, and lots and lots of natural minerals. The room is made even more impressive as a suit of armor overlooks and protects the precious stones.
The last room, the Indian relic room, holds an impressive collection of artifacts, animal skeletons and taxidermy from the local native tribes of people. Creepy bobcats stare you down, hawks in the position of attack and interesting preserved flora species fill the space.

This museum is the perfect little day trip for your family and a great addition to your Halloween festivities. My family loves to bring a blanket to have a picnic on the library's lawn after perusing the odds and ends the museum. October is the perfect time to visit Pawling, with leaf peeping in full swing and large farms with rolling hills and grazing horses that await you on your drive up.

Tips for this visit:
  • The library and museum is free to enter but does accept donations.
  • The museum is drop-in, no need to schedule a visit or tour.
  • The library is open: April-October 11-5pm. November-March 11-4pm.   
  • They do have public restrooms.
  • The building is not stroller friendly.     

For more information visit Akin Free Library online.

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