For the last two months there has been a silence that has permeated the Hoffman Clock Museum located in Newark, NY. There has been a lot of noise from the pounding of hammers and the moving of display cases but the clocks that make up the heartbeat of the museum have been silenced to allow for extensive remodeling and redesigning of the museum to accommodate the many new clocks that have been purchased or donated and are now on display. The work is now finished and the museum is once again alive with the sounds of clocks ticking, striking, and chiming! To celebrate this milestone in the museum’s history, the public is invited to attend the Grand Reopening sponsored by the Hoffman Foundation on Saturday, April 9th from 4:00-6:00 pm. The Hoffman Clock Museum is located in the Newark Public Library at 121 High St. in the historic village of Newark. It is a hidden gem that is well worth exploring. The museum follows the library’s hours and is free of charge.
The Hoffman Foundation Clock Collection was established under the wills of Augustus L. Hoffman (1856-1945) and his wife, Jennie D. Hoffman, to help preserve the history of Wayne County. Mr. Hoffman, a jeweler in Newark, NY for over 30 years, started clock collecting as a hobby. The exhibit of rare clocks assembled by the Hoffmans over their lifetime demonstrates the evolution of the clockmaker’s craft and the history of clockmaking in America. Since the collection was opened to the public in 1954 there have been numerous donations and purchases made that have helped to round out this wonderful display of timepieces.
The museum houses the largest collection of New York State Clocks in the country including an A. Smith & Co. Empire style clock that was manufactured in Rochester, New York in the late 1830’s. The watch collection has been expanding lately as well. A display showcasing an authentic Watchmaker’s Workbench and tools has been constructed as well as a revolving pocket watch display that allows you to see all sides of the watches. The watches include several pocket watches from Hoffman’s Jewelry Store with his name on them.
Other clocks that can be seen at the museum include an unusual working Black Forest Organ Clock from the 1830’s, a recently donated Austrian Column Clock, an Eli Terry open escapement Pillar & Scroll Wood Works Clock, and numerous tall case, banjo, and calendar clocks. There is also a working Time Clock that was used at a lingerie factory in Dunkirk, NY. Visitors can punch a time card as a memento of their visit to the museum. Curator, Eric Hooker, of Fairport, NY oversees the collection. You can find him at the museum every Tuesday winding the clocks and maintaining the displays. “These clocks tell a story,” Eric says. “They are a part of history and we are privileged to have a fine collection that includes over 300 clocks, watches and tools. I encourage everyone to visit the museum and discover the fascinating evolution of time.”
For more information about the Hoffman Clock Museum or to arrange a group tour, contact the curator at (585)-586-2942 or log on to the museum’s website at www.hoffmanclockmuseum.org.