Plan to Return IBM Endicott Collection Provokes Outrage
People are reacting angrily to word that the Endicott History and Heritage Center is preparing to return its IBM Collection to the company that calls the village its birthplace.
Center executive director Marlene Yacos said "we're just devastated" by a decision made at a September board meeting to send the historic IBM items back to the corporation.
The IBM Museum had been created by the company for its employees. It had occupied a prime spot in an IBM building on North Street before the company sold its microelectronics units in 2002.
Yacos questioned the validity of the vote by the center's board, which was split on the proposal to return the IBM materials to the company.
Yacos said the IBM collection is "beautiful." The entire first floor of the Endicott history center on Washington Avenue is devoted to the company's history.
Yacos told WNBF News people "are just in shock" when they learn the unique selection of IBM-related items are about to be sent back to the corporation which loaned them to the Endicott museum.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said she had been hearing rumors that the IBM Collection might be returned to the company soon. She expressed concern that there hasn't been any public discussion about the plan.
Lupardo said she believes retaining the historic IBM items in Endicott is more important than ever with the federal "Tech Hub" designation for the Southern Tier. She said it's vital to remember the region's heritage as progress is made toward developing new technology.
The museum's website indicates the center is open on Saturdays but signs posted at the facility state it will be closed through at least December 2. There is no explanation for the closure.
Heritage center president Ted Warner did not return a call seeking comment on the plan to return the materials to IBM.
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Gallery Credit: Kaiya Shunyata