Jamestown Emporium Fills Former Marine Midland Bank

Arnold Duke, owner of The Jamestown Emporium, held a “Weekend at the Museum” event on Friday and Saturday to introduce the community to his new organization. Operating out of the old Marine Midland Bank building, Duke hopes to renovate the building and open it up for local artists to showcase their work. The “Weekend at the Museum” event featured art work previously purchased from the James Prendergast Library, animatronic dinosaurs and various pieces of jewelry formerly owned by celebrities. P-J Photo by Jordan W. Patterson

Historic oil paintings from the James Prendergast Library returned to Jamestown over the weekend and were uniquely showcased along side animatronic dinosaurs. The pairing was only possible because the future Jamestown Emporium held a “Weekend at the Museum” event giving the community a taste of what’s to come.

Arnold Duke, developer of the Jamestown City Center, said the Friday and Saturday introduction was a “success” inside the walls of the old Marine Midland Bank building.

“Basically, I bought the building because it’s just a beautiful building … and we decided with this building we are going to open up a business called the Jamestown Emporium and we’re going to try to fill it with artists’ and craftsmans’ (work).”

The “Weekend at the Museum” event featured animatronic dinosaurs, paintings purchased from the James Prendergast Library, jewelry formerly worn by celebrities and prominent people and fossils. Duke said the Friday event saw “hundreds” of people attend.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was a great party (on Friday).”

Duke was optimistic about what the Jamestown Emporium can be to the community. He said the business would hopefully be open four or five days a week and be open to the public. “We hope to get started right away,” he said.

He mentioned that the old building is in “disrepair” and is in need of much renovation.

As for the Prendergast oil paintings, Duke said he is in talks with the members of the community to find a permanent home for them. But Duke reassured that the paintings will remain in Jamestown “for good.”

Among the various items on display, the future Jamestown Emporium showcased a sheriffs badge worn by Pat Garrett, a necklace worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and a tiara formerly owned by Princess Michael of Kent.

Duke emphasized that the future emporium would be filled with local artists. He noted the type art could range from homemade soap and candles to stain glass and ceramics.

“(We want) to have a place where artisans can work and sell their things as well,” Duke said.