The original N.F. Douglas was a staple in the community for over 130 years. Passed down from generation to generation, the store has finally changed hands from the N.F. Douglas family. It is now owned and operated by Alan Mansfield at Mary Lake Home Hardware.
When the store closed down there was a large collection of merchandise, ledgers, records, and memorabilia, all of which has been donated to the museum by the North Queens Heritage Society.
In receiving the large donation, the combined efforts of the heritage society, museum curator Rebecca Foley, and museum summer student Anthony Waterman have officially brought the general store to life in the front room of the museum.
"What we've done with that collection is create our own display," says Foley. "Because the N.F. Douglas store has been such a huge component of our community, that is something we really wanted to continue on so that part of the community was never lost, it was just relocated."
The donation was made over the winter and early spring, and it took the museum a few months to get the display set up to the point where they were ready to share it with the community. Although it was a lot of hard work, Foley says it was worth it.
"It's taken us weeks and weeks to sort through and record all the pieces that we received before we could even dream of setting the display," she says. "I had a vision in my head, but once I was able to put that vision into actuality it was a pretty proud moment."
The display has everything from a large collection of medicines and kitchen supplies, to original star skate blades and ledgers from the store, to old toys Foley says she was unable to recognize.
"The collection needs to be seen as a whole to really appreciate what was donated to us," she says. "I hope that everyone will come and take the opportunity to share this display with us."
Blair Douglas and wife Jean, the last owners of the original store, were in attendance of the grand opening. Blare says he is really pleased with the way the room in the museum has been set up, and thinks those involved with recreating the general store did a "great job."
"It looks really good," he says. "It was a big part of the community for so many years, and I think this will make people remember."
Although the museum does receive small donations on a regular basis, which Foley says they are beyond grateful for, gaining a complete collection is a rare and exciting event. It isn't often the museum has the chance to make such a large change in the overall look and feel of a room.
"A parlor will always be a parlor, a kitchen will always be a kitchen, and it's so nice for us to be able to receive bigger donations to be able to set a complete room," she says. "This grabs a little more attention as it is a complete set."
Foley says she hopes having the complete set will attract many members of the community who held the general store near and dear to their heart. Because the store was such a key component to the area, many items in the new room may just spark a memory or two.
"Everyone who lives in the area, who grew up here, whether they've moved away or come back, all have memories of the general store," says Foley. "Whether it be the large moose head, the sea turtle, the penny scale, all things that are embedded in our memories that we will remember from our childhoods growing up."
Blair says he feels very good about the way the memory of the store is being preserved through the well thought-out display. Even though the original store isn't around, there will always be a piece of it remaining in the community.
"In all the years and all the memories in the business we were able to have a good life," says Blair. "We hope the community appreciates what we did, because we sure appreciate what they did for us."