Allegany Museum tells a story that begins with rare Ice Age fauna discovered in deep mountain caves, covers the arrival and life-ways of the region’s Native American populations, and includes a rich cast of legendary frontiersmen.
Our area was important to the career of George Washington. Washington first came in 1748, on a mission searching for the origin of the Potomac River. Some years later, he was a leader in the French and Indian War campaigns staged from Fort Cumberland.
From the beginnings of human habitation, our region has been an important route for east-west passage. The Cumberland Road, authorized in 1806 by President Thomas Jefferson, was the first highway built by the Federal Government. It provided access from Cumberland to the Ohio River Valley for thousands of westward moving settlers. The C&O Canal, started in 1828 to link Washington DC and Cumberland, further established Cumberland as a hub. By the 1860s, railroads and road improvement made Cumberland a center of industry, which came to include glass manufacturing, breweries, textiles, and tires. From the mid-20th century on, however, Cumberland lost many large industries, as did many other centers on what is now known as the ‘rust belt’.
Today, Cumberland offers a wonderful mix of history, art, and access to the great outdoors. The Allegany Museum play a major role the life of the community through exhibits documenting the cultural and natural history of the region.