In July 1949, a group of industry leaders met to formally organize a harness racing museum. The founders and first trustees were E. Roland Harriman, Octave Blake, William H. Cane, Elbridge T. Gerry, Sr., George M. Levy, Lawrence B. Sheppard and Charles W. Phellis.
Their first challenge was to find a suitable location to house the history of harness racing. Several sites were considered, and the trustees decided upon the handsome, Tudor-style Good Time Stable in Goshen, New York. The new institution was named The Trotting Horse Museum, Inc., Hall of Fame of the Trotter.
Stalls were kept as exhibition rooms and hay chutes were converted into miniature showcases. The carriage room displayed famous sulkies and wagons and the loft became a gallery and additional display area.
Over the years, several renovations allowed for more effective use of the space. Additions included the Currier & Ives Gallery, the William R. Haughton Memorial Hall, the Historic Clubhouse, the Peter D. Haughton Memorial Library and Hall of Immortals. A climate-controlled storage facility for the Museum's collection and an elevator were also added.
In 1996 a $6 million major capital campaign was launched to renovate and expand the Museum and augment the Museum's Endowment Fund. The institution's name became the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame.
Today, the Harness Racing Museum remains dedicated to the protection of harness racing’s memories and to the support of the Standardbred industry. Annually, more than 20,000 visitors experience fine art, historical memorabilia, interactive exhibitry and informative films, while the Museum’s free traveling exhibits have been enjoyed by an audience of over 1.2 million in North America and Europe. In addition to more than 40,000 harness racing artifacts, the Museum is the repository of the world’s largest collection of Currier & Ives trotting prints.
2017 Spring-Summer Newsletter