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Museum Showcases the History of Binghamton's Bar Scene

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The Bundy Museum in Binghamton unveiled a special First Friday exhibit titled "The Golden Age of Parlor City Pubs." The showcase focused on a collection of artifacts about Binghamton's bar culture from the 1900's through the present.

"The small restaurants, bars, and of course the churches around the First Ward are important cultural institutions through the last 100 years," said Andrew Pragacz, Exhibit Historical Researcher.

Pragacz says part of the inspiration for the exhibit came from his own experiences growing up. His father owned JR's Tavern, which is now Sach's Tea House. He believes the bar culture shaped him into the person he is today.

"I grew up working there and that was really important for me because I was talking with the people that were coming in and I really developed a love for this area and for the working class culture here," said Pragacz.

Olivia C. Tonin designed the exhibition and hopes that people will get a new perspective on what Binghamton used to offer back in the day.

"It's just a way to show a different side of Binghamton," said Tonin. "The really beautiful, aesthetic, historic, important, culturally relevant side."

Items on display included the original Sharkey's Bar and Grill sign, posters and advertisements, as well as drink chips, and bar games. Pragacz's family and the Sharak family, which owns Sharkey's, donated many of the artifacts.

The exhibit will remain open throughout the rest of the month.