The mission of the Pember Museum is to engage, enrich, educate and inspire children and adults about natural history.
Furthermore, the Pember Museum is to conserve the collections of Franklin Pember and to exhibit them in the original museum setting, consistent with the initial, early twentieth century installation; to facilitate the widest possible use of the Museum, providing access for students and researchers, and natural history education services to schools, special groups and general audiences; to maintain the Pember Nature Preserve as a sanctuary for native plants and animals, conserving a variety of natural habitats, and developing the Preserve in a way that will serve the public interest and have limited impact on its natural character. (Currently, our Mission Statement is under review by the Board of Trustees)
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. At this time, the Museum does not have an elevator.
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.