In the hopes of discovering more about Binghamton’s history, I visited the Bundy Museum of History and Art, located on 129 Main Street on the Westside. The museum not only features the history of the Bundy family but also includes many multifaceted offerings such as the Rod Serling exhibit and Binghamton Photo, a community darkroom that offers photo developing services to the public.
The Bundy House was the residence of Harlow Bundy, the founder of Bundy Manufacturing Company that would later become IBM. The Victorian house features several rooms that give you a glimpse into the Bundys’ everyday life at the turn of the century, including the parlor room that would have been used for entertaining guests or the library where Harlow would have conducted his business possibly over cigars.
The house featured interestingly shaped rooms including the octagonal dining room and multiple curved glass windows located in the parlor and the room of Bundy’s daughters. Throughout the tour, our guide pointed out various details including the Bundys’ intention to appear wealthier than they actually were with handcrafted wood mantles and furniture from Sears.
Upstairs we caught a glimpse of the master bedroom where Harlow and his wife Julia, would have slept as well as Julia’s dressing room which we learned was a very private space for a wife trying to get some distance from her husband and children to write in her diary or respond to letters.
On the third floor of the Bundy house was a photo gallery that is currently housing photographs by students from SUNY Broome and next month the Bundy museum plans to have photos from Binghamton University students.
Next, we visited the Annex and Carriage House which used to house the Bundys’ horses and carriages. In it we saw the Rod Serling archive filled with Twilight Zone memorabilia and televisions playing episodes from the acclaimed series. Also featured were the various time recording clocks manufactured in the Bundy company as well as a replica of the barbershop located by the old IBM that many workers would visit.
Lastly, we stepped out of the Victorian age and back into the present to look at Binghamton Photo, the community darkroom space and photo lab. They allow anyone in the public to utilize their darkroom for $10 per hour or $20 for a whole day. The photo lab also gives discounts to students and seniors looking to purchase a year long membership.
Overall, the museum takes a look at not only the history of the first house on Main Street with electricity, but also Broome County’s history while also incorporating more modern aspects of the area shown by the additional art galleries and local photo lab.
The Bundy Museum of History and Art is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.