Orange County Milk Bottle Museum

Containing over 800 bottles, the Orange County Milk Bottle Museum is among the largest collections of bottles from a region once revered for its dairy products. All bottles from Orange County are displayed in alphabetical order by town and vary in age from the late-1870s to the 1960s. Some of the collection’s outstanding features include a circa-1870s Tuthill Milk Jar (one of the earliest examples of a glass vessel used to store milk in the United States), an 1878 Lester Milk Jar (the first patented glass vessel intended to hold milk in the United States), an 1878 bottle popularized by Brooklyn milk dealer Alex Campbell as the country’s first milk bottle, and an example of the circa-1880 Warren Milk Jar (the first standard-shaped milk bottle). Apart from those local to Orange County, there are also milk bottles featured from New York City and national milk dealers such as Borden’s, Sheffield, and Crowley’s which had connections to the region.

The Orange County Milk Bottle Museum contains over 800 milk bottles from across Orange County, New York from the mid-1870s to the 1960s. Amazingly, the hundreds of bottles represent only a fraction of the 2,900 dairy farms that once operated within Orange County at the turn of the twentieth century.

The museum is dedicated to two individuals that have influenced my perspectives as a historian of this topic. Herman Galberd (1927-2019), a resident of Central Valley, NY gave me my first milk bottle from the Arden Farms Dairy Company when I was eleven years old. That single bottle has led me to develop amazing connections with others as well as a magnificent collection of milk bottles. This was further influenced by carrying the legacy of Anthony J. Knipp (1935-2003), a resident of Washingtonville, NY who was both a founding member of the National Association of Milk Bottle Collectors and the owner of one of the county’s largest milk bottle collections. These artifacts are, however, much more than their shiny (and, in some cases, calcified and cracked) surfaces. Like any relic, they are a vessel through which we can remember the thousands of hands that toiled amidst one of New York’s most prosperous industries. With dairy farming continuing to decline in Orange County, milk bottles are among the only remaining relics that reveal how 2,900 of these farms once existed across the county at the turn of the twentieth century.

The museum’s phase A, completed in April of 2022, welcomes visitors by appointment and those looking to research Orange County’s dairy farming history.

For inquiries or other questions, please contact me: