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Broad Appeal

Museum looks to open its permanent location in Binghamton.

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Most neighborhoods don't want a junkyard in their community. But Broad Avenue isn't like most neighborhoods, and the Junkyard Museum isn't like most junkyards.

The Junkyard will be an interactive museum using found objects and architectural salvage to create climbable sculptures. Though the Junkyard is located temporarily at the old Marine Hospital near the National Ornamental Metal Museum, founder Lisa Williamson would like the museum's permanent home to be on Broad.

"I've been looking at Broad for a long time," she said at a meeting of the Historic Broad Avenue Business Association last week. "If it were up to me, I'd put it there in a second. Everybody's rallied around me. ... I already feel at home there."

Though many children's museums try to prepare children for adulthood, the Junkyard — and museums like it, such as City Museum in St. Louis — encourage teenagers and adults to be kids again.

Williamson and the Junkyard board are in talks to lease the warehouse on which the iconic Broad Avenue watertower rests, but they're also open to other spaces in the neighborhood.

John Weeden, the UrbanArt Commission's executive director, thinks locating the Junkyard in Binghamton would be brilliant. Lined with galleries and home to UrbanArt's offices, Broad is the city's newest arts district.

"It could provide an anchor for this area ... as well as offer incredible opportunities to local artists," Weeden said.

The location is also in the middle of a residential neighborhood and would be within walking distance of four schools.

Broad Avenue residents and business owners seemed to feel the museum would be a good fit with the neighborhood, too. Most of the questions during the presentation focused on suggestions for fund-raising and ways to make the Broad location a reality.

"We heard Lisa was looking over here, and we jumped at it," said Pat Brown of the T. Clifton Art Gallery. "This is just what we need."

Brown said the Junkyard could be a magnet for bringing new people to the neighborhood: "This would redefine people's perceptions of Broad."

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