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Rectangular collage of photos of the exhibit hall. Text underneath says "EXHIBIT HALL"EXHIBIT HALL


Exhibit Hall

Wednesday- Saturday 10AM - 6PM

CLOSED - Sunday-Tuesday

**Or by special appointment. Please contact or call 607-273-8284 ext 229 if you'd like to schedule a visit outside our normal hours.


Our Exhibit Hall is a state of the art museum highlighting the history of Tompkins County and the Finger Lakes region thorough interactive displays with artifacts from our extensive physical archival collections.

To reserve your preferred time please schedule your visit ahead of time online. Even with a reservation there may be other visitors at the time of your visit. To schedule a private visit, please contact us in advance. 

Explore our Health & Safety page for information about our sanitation and safety practices in the museum. 

Our Passage Through Time walkway begins with a video representation of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ (Cayuga) creation story. This video was was made in collaboration with local representatives of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Nation.  We collectively acknowledge that Tompkins County is located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people. All Native American items currently on display in our museum are on loan from the Cayuga Nation.

Our current exhibit A Sporting Chance on and Off the Field will be on display from February-December 2024. 

Throughout the Exhibit Hall you will notice bank vault doors and architectural elements incorporated into our building design from our locations long history as the home of multiple banks from 1917-2017.

Our six Exhibit Towers each explore two local aspects of history. Digital displays, and pull out drawers with additional artifacts are present at each tower. The tower displays within the Exhibit Hall change once per year, while the tower display in the Tompkins Center atrium changes every 4 months.

Exhibit themes are coordinated years in advance, and each highlight a specific aspect of Tompkins County history and our archival collections. See our Past Exhibits page to see some of our recent exhibit interpretations. 

Our main attraction is our permanent exhibit of the 106 year old Tommy Plane, which visitors see as soon as they enter the hall. Tommy is a Thomas Morse Scout S4-B which was manufactured in Ithaca by the Thomas Morse Aviation Corporation in 1918. The plane was painstakingly restored by the Ithaca Aviation Heritage Foundation over 14 years, and took its centennial flight over Ithaca on September 29th 2018. The plane is still flight worthy, however we don't have plans to fly it again...yet.

Explore our Story Vault, housed in one of the original bank vaults of the Tompkins Trust Company, and listen to clips from our Oral Histories of Tompkins County archival collection.

A rectangular photo of guests at the exhibit hall.

Smaller exhibits change on a regular basis, with museum wide exhibit changes annual basis. Exhibits open in February and close in December each year.. 

Explore the Museum with Kids!

The Children's Education Area is a partial replica of our famed 1827 Eight Square Schoolhouse located in Dryden. Eight Square is the site of living history programs for every 4th grader in the county. Our miniature Eight Square in the museum hall has puzzles, books, games, and school materials for children to explore how it would feel to be a student in Tompkins County over 150 years ago. 

We have Exhibit Hall Scavenger Hunts, museum activity guides and local-history themed coloring sheets available at the front desk!


The Story Vault display, housed in an original bank vault includes clips from our Oral Histories of Tompkins County collections. Full interviews can be listened to by appointment in our Research Library.

A rectangular image of the story vault exhibit.

Our "Passage Through Time" exhibit begins with the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ (Cayuga) creation story and highlights excerpts from Tompkins County history. In 2024 explore the history of the famed International Rutabaga Curling Championship! 

A rectangular image of the entrance to the "Passage Through Time" exhibit.

A rectangular image of the interior of the "Passage Through Time" Exhibit.

Explore the six Exhibit Towers which each have two sides, pull-out drawers with artifacts from our collections, and interactive touch screens. These exhibits change on a bi-annual basis. 

A rectangular image of one of the exhibit towers.

For information about previous exhibits explore our Virtual Exhibits and Past Exhibits pages.


Please explore the local Inclusive Recreation Resource Center's profile of our handicap accessibility here.

An image of a wheelchair with a red heart that reads "Inclusive Recreation Resource Center"

This profile includes detailed information regarding the physical layout of the Exhibit Hall and Research Library, and alternate methods for engaging with our exhibits and materials for individuals with impaired sight or hearing. Print out visitor guides and auditory visitor guides can be requested at the docent desk to the right of the front entrance to the Exhibit Hall. 

We do not have a parking lot associated with our building, however visitors with physical and/or movement impairment are encouraged to contact us at in advance, and when possible they may use one of two staff parking spaces by the back entrance of our building. These spaces may not be used without advance communication. 

Email with any questions or feedback.

We have two wheelchairs available for visitor use within the building. Ask at the front desk or email to reserve them in advance of your visit. 

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Territory


Exhibit HallWednesday-Saturday 10am-6pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


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