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      Ste. Marie changes cancel Christmas tradition

      A call is out to volunteers, to stay involved as the Ste. Marie Museum gets some major changes and cutbacks.An email to Friends and Volunteers at the Onondaga Lake Parkway museum, sent out Tuesday afternoon, calls for people to be a part of the upcoming move and reorganization of displays, set to start next month.Museum goers will notice the big changes as Christmas Around the World, the popular exhibit that's done in conjunction with Lights on the Lake, is cancelled for this year. Jon Anderson, the volunteer director of operations for the museum, says the goal is to make sure that the history and traditions of the museum--which includes exhibits and interactive displays centered on when the first European visitors came to this area--are not lost in the transition.

      Physically, the museum will lose its second floor display area, as the County Soil and Water District 'deconstructs' the area to use it as office space. That's scheduled to start right after Thanksgiving. Before then, volunteers will have to take a photo inventory, help move the archive room and all the displays including the LeMoyne mural and all the animals on the stairway up to the area. Anderson says volunteers are also being asked to help in the planning for efficient use of the new, condensed museum space. (The outdoor exhibits are not affected.)

      The changes put new demands on volunteers, who have carried the museum for a decade, after budget cuts took away county funds. Anderson--who helped re-design the old French Fort into the current recreation of the Jesuit missionary's gathering place, says he's looking for inspiration from how the palisaded 'retreat' worked back in 1656, when volunteers ran the original, as well.

      If you'd like to get involved, you can call 453-6768 (answers only when museum is open) or contact Friends of Historic Onondaga Lake, PO Box 249, Liverpool, NY 13088 or via email at