Thursday, December 30, 2010

Please Support Genesee Country Village & Museum

We hope you and your family enjoyed the warmth and magic of a wonderful holiday season. As 2010 draws to a close, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to GCV&M to help sustain the magic of the Genesee Country Village & Museum experience.

Your year-end tax-deductible donation will directly support the Museum’s mission to “inspire excitement and curiosity about the past and an appreciation for its relevance today.”

All donations will fund the care and preservation of the many stories, objects and historic buildings that form a richly unique backdrop for the museum’s engaging and enjoyably immersive educational programming.

2010 brought exciting new interpretations—such as Grieve’s Brewery—to the Village. With your support now, GCV&M will continue to re-define the visitor experience in 2011 with even more active, hands-on experiences. Your donation now will help the museum as it prepares for the new year.

For your convenience, click here to donate, or go to our website at to make your donation online. All donations received by midnight December 31, 2010 will be receipted for 2010 tax purposes.

Your support is warmly appreciated.

Staff and Volunteers of Genesee Country Village & Museum

We hope to see you often in the 2011 season!

Monday, November 22, 2010

19th Century Origins of Our Modern Thanksgiving

Today's post is a guest post by Charles LeCount, Senior Director of Programs and Collections at the Genesee Country Village & Museum
19th-Century Origins of Our Modern Day Thanksgiving
The story, or myth (depending upon who you talk to) of the First Thanksgiving is well know to most. And many of us are aware that other locations than Plymouth, Massachusetts have valid claims to actually hosting the first “thanksgiving” in North America. However, once we get beyond the “origination” stories, few of us are familiar with how the holiday actually gained accepted into the pantheon of American holidays. And many of us are unaware that much of the "customization" of the holiday into the celebration that we know today, took place in the 19th century.
America in the early 19th century was a country with little history and virtually no shared customs. Divisions were everywhere. Americans saw themselves first as a Virginian or a New Yorker, or as a New Englander, Westerner or Southerner before they considered themselves American. The country was full of immigrants from Ireland, Germany and England. Foreign languages, accents and strange regional and ethnic customs localized Americans. Americans were divided by politics. Democrats favored little government; whereas the more conservative Whigs wanted more. They were divided over the questions of slavery, western expansion and the place of religion in the community and in government. Politically, the states guarded their rights and powers jealously. So inherently localized were Americans that most referred to the country in the plural sense, as in “these United States” as opposed to “the United States”.
The infancy and parochial nature of early 19th century America was also reflected in the fact that the country had few common holidays: civic, cultural or religious. Aside from Independence Day (July 4th) and Washington’s Birthday (February 22), there were no civic holidays universally regarded or celebrated among Americans. And arguably these days were not celebrated by the country’s many enslaved African Americans or its Indian inhabitants. And while the country had already engaged in several wars, no Memorial Day or Veterans Day yet existed. And there was no Labor Day or Martin Luther King Day either.
New Years Day was recognized by many people but it was hardly celebrated as we think of it today. Folk cultural holidays abounded among the nation’s many ethnic groups but most had limited appeal. How many of us still celebrate Guy Fawkes Day or Fast Day for example though they had their followings in early America? And forget about Halloween. While originally a pagan observance taken over by the Catholic Church it’s a largely a modern holiday with few roots in early America.
Religious based holidays in early 19th century America were even more rare. As the United States was a largely Protestant nation, the many Catholic saints or holy days (including Easter) were ignored by the masses. To Protestant Americans, who believed the word of the Bible, only Sunday—the Sabbath, need be observed. Thus, while Christmas was recognized by some Americans, those who did observe it mostly celebrated the day through a potpourri of secular or folk customs. In fact Christmas was often a rowdy, street festival in many cities.
Many Americans were happy with this. Government pretty much stayed out of the holiday making business and no governmentally supported church mandated observances. True, Presidents Washington, Adams and Madison (Jefferson did not) declared days of Thanksgiving during their presidencies. But the days differed from year to year and were not declared annually.
Other Americans lamented the country’s lack of unifying holidays. They felt the nation needed holidays that were morally edifying as opposed to rowdy public festivals that often got out of hand. They wanted holidays that would focus on the family and home. Sarah Hale, the New England-bred editor of Gody’s, was a tireless promoter of Thanksgiving as a holiday to satisfy this need. For her, the holiday would promote a happy, loving Christian oasis at home: “…when the noise and tumult of worldliness may be exchanged for the laughter of happy children, the glad greetings of family reunion, and the humble gratitude of Christian heart.” Hale observed that America had only “two national holidays, Washington’s birthday, and Independence day” and that they were set by circumstances in mid-summer and mid-winter. What the country needed was a “third festival, hallowed by custom or by statue, for autumn….” She recommended the last Thursday of November as a day “best suited when the people…might sit down together…and enjoy in national union their feast of gladness, rendering thanks to Almighty God for the blessings of the year.” She didn’t mention honoring the Pilgrims.
Despite Hale’s and others efforts, early political attempts to make Thanksgiving a national holiday failed. In a country deeply divided by regional and political interests, Thanksgiving was too “Yankee”, too New England to be accepted by others outside the tiny region. A Pennsylvania newspaper editor ridiculed Thanksgiving as “Yankee importations which had no real reason for existing on Pennsylvania soil.” For many, the holiday smacked of Puritanism and for others it illustrated the self-importance of New Englanders and their political power. If Congress declared what had heretofore been a regional holiday a national one, what next?
Declaring what seemed to be a religious observance a national holiday also struck many as unconstitutional. A South Carolina congressman objected to making Thanksgiving a national holiday as it was a “religious matter” and not “the business of Congress.” Even some New Englanders were uncomfortable with the government getting involved. “The appointment…of a thanksgiving by a civil officer, is strictly a union of Church and State,” wrote abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in 1835.
One of GCV's Bronze Sculptures
Some folks discomfort with elevating the holiday to national levels for morality’s sake stemmed from the primary mode of celebrating the day—eating. For a day that was supposed to promote praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty to be spent on gluttony was bothersome. Ironically though, the focus on eating probably made the acceptance of the holiday more acceptable to those outside of New England.
Our own New York was one of the leaders in recognizing Thanksgiving governmentally. The governor of New York in 1817 declared it a holiday and in 1830 the state sanctioned it officially. By the 1840s many northern states had declared thanksgiving holidays of their own. Texas was the first Southern state to declare Thanksgiving a holiday in 1848. By the Civil War five southern states, and most northern states and all the western territories had done so.
Charles Francis Adams, the grandson of President John Adams, wrote that the holiday was “gradually making its way as a festival into States which have but a very small infusion of the Puritans, and setting up a sort of independent existence against its more ancient form.”
Of course it would have to wait till 1863 for President Abraham Lincoln to set the holiday on the fourth Thursday of November each year and to make it a national holiday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yuletide in The Country-Our Premier Holiday Event!

It's time to start thinking about your holiday plans! Join us this year for one of our merriest events of the season, our Yuletide In the Country celebration which runs Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, December 3-5, 10-12 & 17-19. This is the event that everyone waits all year for and it usually sells out early!

The historic village will be all aglow with festively decorated homes for its traditional Yuletide in the Country the first three weekends in December.

Enjoy reenactments of Yuletides past in each building on the tour; sing along to joyful holiday songs; delight in merry instrumental music; catch the lingering aroma of wood smoke in the crisp, sparkling air; savor a refreshing drink and perhaps step to a lively tune, all the while discovering a little about the roots of our many favorite Christmas customs.

Again this year is the special historic village Gingerbread House Competition that will be on display in the Meeting Center lounge. All of the houses in the competition are modled after village buildings!

Tours last approximately 1½ hours and cost: adults $22/$18 members; youth $15/$12 members, and run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19.

Tour-goers will delight in a new style light buffet supper. It features festive savory dishes, plus a sumptuous spread of mouth-watering desserts, cakes and sweet delights created to satisfy the most demanding sweet tooth.

Cost for the buffet is just $15 adults/ $10 youth ages 4-10. Children 3 and under are free. Reservations required for tour. Call (585) 538-6822 or purchase tickets online!

If you are part of a large group (10 or more) please call (585) 538-6822 for a special discount.

And if you're looking for that special gift for the holidays, stop in the Genesee Country Gift Shop, open 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. each day during Yuletide.

REFUNDS: Since the severity of weather conditions varies from place to place, ticket sales are non-refundable unless the authorities close the roads or the museum cancels the program based on conditions on-site. Please check our website for severe weather updates.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Crafts at Christmas Event This Weekend at Genesee Country Village & Museum

Want to kick off your holiday season 19th-Century style? Join us this weekend for our Crafts at Christmas Program.

On Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 13 and 14, families may create any—or all—of a half dozen different 19th-century crafts, turning tin, fabric, paper, even cinnamon sticks into unique holiday ornaments. Kids will delight in discovering the history of the craft from a museum artisan while they work.

This year's selection includes the perennial favorite tin-punched ornament—choose from any of a dozen different designs—along with a tea cup quilt, peanuts on a string, apple-and-spice sachet, glorious paper roses and some fun cinnamon stick snowmen and Santas.

The weekend program is a family affair, with crafts for adults and children of all skills. Each craft is $4. A combination ticket for all six crafts is $20. The event runs 10 a.m.-3 p.m. each day in the museum's Meeting Center dining room.

Pre-registration is not necessary, but appreciated. Call (585) 538-6822 or click the button below to purchase tickets online!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Potter's Fire-Featuring Master Potter Mark Presher

Have you seen The Potter's Fire, the documentaty featuring Genesee Country Village & Museum Master Potter Mark Presher?

This well-done DVD tells the story of salt-glazed pottery in the 19th Century and how it is currently made on site at the Genesee Country Village & Museum. From hand-throwing to wood-firing the pieces Mark produces are as close to 19th-century pottery as can be.
Click below for a short clip!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Genesee Country Village & Museum Online Store is Up & Running for The Holidays!

 Just in time for the holidays, the Genesee Country Village & Museum is proud and excited to announce that once again, all of our specialty pottery is avaliable in our online store and is able to be shipped to your home!

Used throughout the village, our Salt Glazed Stoneware, Redware and Albany slip Pottery are all entirely handmade in the village by Master Potter Mark Presher.  Each piece is hand throw on the potter's wheel, each handle, hand shaped. Mark does not use molds in any way and his pieces have a sincerity and authenticity not found elsewhere. 

The styles and designs he produces are based on historic research of 19th century potteries in this area. The Salt glazed stoneware is fired in our wood fired kiln, the only wood-fired kiln in a Museum in the country. That, combined with their historical accuracy, means that the pieces produced in the village are as close to 19th century pottery as can be.  Mark's craftsmanship is unmatched. If you've been to the village, you've see his work in almost all of the village buildings and of course, in each village kitchen!

This is a great way to bring a little of the authenticity of the museum into your home and any of the pieces in our shop would be a fine gift for the museum lover on your list! 

We also have artisan products from our Tinsmiths and broom makers online. And starting next week, we'll have The Official Fat Ox Ale Glassware and Stoneware Mugs!  Over the next few weeks we'll have more children's items, books and replicas of our village made by The Cat's Meow!

All orders ship within 3 business days! 

And, as always, all of these pieces in our online store are also avaliable for sale in our gift shop! 

Mark is showcased in the documentary, The Potters Fire, also avaliable online. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Filling The Root Cellar Fall 2010

This past Monday, our Pioneers filled their root cellar with vegetables to store until spring. We could hardly believe that it was time already, as it seems like they just opened it, opening weekend of the season this past May. 

 The Cellar. 
Our cellar has evolved over time from just a hole in the ground, to the current design which includes framed in sides and a french drain. 

 It's fairly deep.

Crating the vegetables for the winter.
We keep our vegetables in separate crates and insulate them with straw.

 This year's store includes giant turnips, potatoes & carrots.
All of these vegetables were grown at the museum this season.

Packing the cellar with the crates of vegetables.

After the crates are in, the entire cellar is stuffed with straw for insulation. 

All the way to the top!

A heavy tight fitting cover is put on top of it.
Notice how the cellar is slanted to let water run easily off of it.

And our vegetables are snug until spring!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spirits Of The Past Tour: A Spooky Evening of 19th Century Superstition and Local Lore

Looking for a new twist on the same old Halloween tour?

On Oct. 15-16, Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30, We'll be will host an all-new Spirits of the Past Tour.

Unlike typical seasonal tours, this one has an historic component and uses the19th-century historic village as its canvas, to explore local legends and 19th-century superstitions. It is a truly unique experience.

Picture the scene. It’s dark, long past sunset. There’s something disquieting in the air. The old buildings, even the trees, their dry leaves rustling, seem to be whispering dark, sinister secrets. Stories of unnatural happenings, even a scalping, abound. The poor woman who would give anything, ANYTHING, to get her wish. And here, body parts. Could that be murder?

Our region is awash in tales of wandering spirits, murder and the unexplained. Can these tales be true? Or are they just legends?

Guides, whose garments are reminiscent of the fearsome Dementors, will lead guests through the darker recesses of the village to discover these seldom-told tales. From cellars to cupolas, no quarter that offers a forbidding venue for these true tales and folklore is ignored. Some of the buildings themselves have a dark history, and eerie happenings still occur there, if you listen to those who frequent the buildings.

Tours depart every 10 minutes each night between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Cost is $12/$10 members. Reservations are required. Call (585) 538-6822.

The program is not recommended for children under 12 because of the adult themes involved. With the uneven walk areas and sometimes steep stairways, walking shoes are a must!

Tickets are available at the museum’s gift shop, by phone: 585-538-6822. Reservations are required.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Greene Collection-Men's Coats

This week, or selections from the Greene Collection features men's clothing for the first time.

It's important to note that one of the reasons that the collection is so important is because it includes a wide variety of mens clothing items from the 19th century. Typically, mens clothes are harder to find than women's, with work clothing, being particularly scarce. We'll highlight some typical work clothing in the near future.

Today, however, we are focusing on some beautiful men's coats.

Our first piece is from 1845-1855 and is made of a fine black broadcloth. It is double-breasted, has very wide notched lapels and is entirely hand stitched. The skirt and side back are lined with greenish wool or mohair brocade. The front and sides are padded and there are no pockets except for 2 hidden in the back. The buttons are cut velvet covered and the sleeve vents have 3 small satin covered buttons,, underarm seam.

Our second coat, from 1820-1825 is entirely hand stitched in a blue/white diamond twill check cotton. It is double breasted with a fairly narrow high-standing collar. There are 4 buttons on each side, round tails with self buttons at each side. It has pockets toward back. It has a relatively wide back and long, narrow sleeves with slight fullness near top. It also has a deep faux cuff with two small self buttons.

This coat, cuts a particularly fine silhouette for a gentleman.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Agricultural Fair & Antique Show This Weekend!

The Agricultural Society Exhibition & Fair Oct. 2-3 is an authentic,19th-century country fair with something for everyone.

There are exhibitions in more than 150 categories of judged baked goods, preserves, hand-made needlecrafts and the industrial arts—including tin, iron and wooden wares; pottery; cooperage (barrel making); printing; and broom and soap making.

Youth compete in 60 different aged categories, from penmanship and pottery to photography and pumpkin pie.

Among the competitions are those for the largest pumpkin, one for weight and a second for size. The competitions are open to museum members and the public alike, and most have both 19th-century and 21st-century categories.

Eye-catching 19th-century vegetables, many of them unfamiliar to modern gardeners, will also be found in a special vegetable and floral tent.

Prize-winning sheep, oxen, cows, horses and goats will be on display, in addition to a poultry show, sponsored by the Rochester Poultry Assn.

The popular produce tent features specialty vendors offering smoked meats, cheeses, baked goods, maple products, spices, honey, cider, apples and other specialty items.

There will also be live entertainment, including 19th-century musicians , a 2 p.m. Sunday Festival of Favorites concert by the Harmonics in Brooks Grove Church and Punch & Judy and magic shows.

And, as was common at 19th-century fairs, museum vintage base ball teams will square off for the Mayor’s Cup Championship Trophy.

The consolation game will be played Saturday and the championship game on Sunday. Both games are played at Silver Base Ball Park, the first replica 1800s base ball park in the nation

ALSO FEATURED THIS YEAR…the museum’s 12th Annual Antique Show & Sale with 30 select dealers from across the Mid-Atlantic region to show and sell their exceptional antiques. Furniture, paintings, books, jewelry, porcelain and glassware should be plentiful all weekend. (Antique-Show-Only admission: $5)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friendly Creatures of The Night & Dummy Hoy Classic This Weekend!

Looking for something to do this weekend?   We've got things for everyone!
Friendly Creatures Of The Night
Friday & Saturday, September 24-25  6-9 p.m.
Bring the whole family for this guided woodland tour to meet some talking nocturnal “animals” as they dispel some of the myths and misperceptions surrounding them.
Enjoy storytelling around the campfire, children’s activities, refreshments and more. Registration and payment must be received in advance.
Fee: adults $8/$6 members; youth (4-16) $6/$4 members; children 3 and younger free. Call for reservations.
Dummy Hoy Classic 
Saturday September 25, 2010 
William “Dummy” Hoy, a deaf player who began his professional base ball career in 1886, is largely credited with creating hand signs—including “strike,” “ball”, “safe” and “out”—still used by umpires in the game today.
The William "Dummy" Hoy Classic on Saturday, Sept. 25, honors Hoy as the first deaf player in Major League Baseball with two vintage games at the museum’s Silver Base Ball Park, featuring all-deaf teams, and a special history presentation.
A five-inning women’s game will be played at 11 a.m.; the men’s game will start at 2:30 p.m. The men will play at least seven innings. All teams will be outfitted in 19th-century uniforms and play according to 1864 rules.
The history presentation will follow the women’s game at 1 p.m. and will focus on the technology of 19th-century clothing.
The event is sponsored by the Rochester Recreation Club for the Deaf and is part of Deaf Awareness Week Sept. 19-25.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Meet Tom & Mike

If you've been to the museum before, you've probably met (or have at least seen!) our oxen, Tom & Mike.  Since they are a fixture around the village and we get a lot of questions, we thought we would tell you a little more about them!

What are oxen?
Oxen (plural of ox) are cattle trained as draft animals. Often they are adult, castrated males. Usually an ox is more than four years old because it takes that long for them to learn their jobs and to grow to full size. 
The museum currently has one pair of oxen. Tom and Mike are Ayrshires. The Ayrshire is a medium-sized animal frequently seen in New England and easily recognized by its long horns. This breed tends to be a little more active than many of the other breeds. Ayrshires carry a little more flesh and muscle than other dairy breeds, and their size makes them a good choice as an all-around farm or woods team. A mature Ayrshire ox weighs about 2,000 pounds. The average life expectancy is 20 years. Tom and Mike were born in the spring of 2003 and are from the same herd.
An ox is not a unique breed of bovine. An ox is simply a mature bovine with a four-year education. The animals learn to respond to their names and to obey commands, both individually and as a team. At Genesee Country Village & Museum, the driver uses the following commands:
Hitch up- stand in place to get yoked
Step up-  move forward
Go gee-  turn to the right
Come haw- turn to the left
Step gee side- step to the right
Step haw side- step to the left
Back -step backward
Step in-move closer to each other
Step out- move away from each other
Stand -stand still
Whoa -stop
Oxen are most often used in teams of two. At the museum, Tom and Mike are a team. They are always hitched in the same order, and the driver always walks on the left side. According to their driver, Tom is the “near ox” on the left, and Mike is the “off ox” on the right. 
Oxen must be trained from a young age. Their driver must make or buy as many as a dozen yokes of different sizes as the animals grow. A wooden yoke is fastened about the neck of each pair so that the force of draft is distributed across their shoulders. Oxen must have horns because the horns hold the yoke in place when the oxen lower their heads, back up, or slow down. 
Oxen can pull harder and longer than horses. Although they are not as fast as horses, they are less prone to injury because they are more sure-footed and do not try to jerk the load. Many people throughout the world use oxen today, and they are quite common in developing nations. Recently at the museum, we had our team hauling large logs for use in the village.
Oxen can be proud of their contributions to the history of the United States. They pulled out tree stumps to clear land, moved covered wagons across the prairies, and hauled cannons in battle.    

Bovine Vocabulary 

Bull: A bovine male, usually denoting animals past puberty.

Bullock: A young bull, typically younger than 20 months of age.
Calf: A young male or female bovine animal younger than 1 year of age.
Dairy Steer: A neutered male of any of the dairy cattle breeds. The "dairy steers" are raised for meat production and usually managed like beef cattle.
Dam: A mother or female parent in a pedigree.
Heifer: A bovine female younger than three years of age that has not borne a calf. Young cows that have had their first calves are often called first-calf heifers.
Herd: A group of animals (especially cattle), collectively considered as a unit.
Polled: A breed that naturally does not grow horns. Cattle can damage each other with their horns.
Registered Cow (Purebred): A cow that has a pedigree and is registered in the herdbook of a breed association. Today, the six major dairy breeds are the Holstein, Jersey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey and Milking Shorthorn. Major beef breeds are the Angus (Black and Red), Charolais, Hereford (Horned and Polled), Limousin, and Simmental.
Steer: A male bovine that has been castrated (testicles removed) prior to puberty.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What about All of Those Brightly Painted Things in the Village

Recently we were sent a blog comment that went something like:
“What’s with the ugly bright painted items out there” 

And because the answer is long, and actually pretty interesting, we thought it would make a great blog post for our readers rather than to just bury the answer in our comments section.  

So what is with the brightly painted furniture out there?

Our mission being that we are a Living History Museum, is to immerse you in the time-period. And this demands as much accuracy as we can muster.

Those bright colors that you have seen in some of the building this season are, in fact, accurate for the time periods that they represent.  Just like the painting of Foster-Tufts this year as well as the bright green shutters you may have seen making their way into the village square, these colors are based in reality and have been chosen for the village via our historic paint expert as well from what we know about furniture styles and finishes of the time period.

Please be aware that we evaluated the museum's furniture collection prior to this project and some of the "antiques" on exhibit, were found to be marriages of styles, old reproductions and probably outright frauds. Rather than just discard these pieces, it gave us the perfect opportunity to use the pieces in a more meaningful way to tell an accurate story of 19th Century life.

Another reason for painting the objects, beyond the historical accuracy of it, is the clear indication it gives you that these items are for use and not on exhibit.  This means you can touch them, sit on them and pretty much participate in some of the buildings in a way that was not possible before.

It is not our intent to change all buildings or spaces in this manner, just in places where it makes sense.

Sometimes styles popular in bygone eras don't do much for our 21st century tastes and sensibilities. Whether it’s the bright and exuberant “fancy” styles popular between 1800 and 1850 or the taste for plaids, avocado green and plush carpet of the 1970s there is no arguing that people’s tastes change.  And it’s our job as an educational institution to be as faithful to those tastes as possible whether or not we like them personally.  Otherwise, we are simply decorating to our taste.   If you find that the pieces are difficult to get used to in a place you love, try and think of them as reminders of the days when work and life were often harsher and people did what they could to "brighten" up their surroundings with up cheerfully painted objects, bright walls, colorful carpets and floor cloths, as well as fanciful carpet and wallpaper designs.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New At The Foster-Tufts House, Our Final Stages of Life Exhibit

This past week we've completed the final installation in our stages of life exhibit at the Foster-Tufts house this year.

Our last exhibit focuses on death and depicts an 1830's country rural mourning scene. This is direct in contrast to the high mourning of the Victorian era that is often depicted at the museum.

In the exhibit, set in the home’s dining room, you’ll  find coffin draped with black cloths and bundles of herbs as well as covered mirrors, mourning pictures and a table set for visitors coming to pay their respects to the family.

You can engage in conversation about the signifigance of the shape of the coffin, herbs used and 19th century burial techniques. Our interpreters know why the mirrors are covered and can contrast this scene with other aspects of mourning that can be seen around the village.  This is the first time we've done this exhibit and are excited to share it with you. 

We hope that you've had the chance to visit all three installations at Foster-Tufts  this season and hope you  found them interesting and informative!

5 Fun Facts About The Museum Featured on!

Take a look at the nice piece did on the museum for it's 5 Fun Facts Series!

5 Fun Facts From Genesee Country Village & Museum

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Letter From Our President & CEO Peter Arnold, in regard to our Fireworks Extravaganza

We deeply apologize for the disappointment and inconvenience caused by the equipment failure at last night’s Fireworks Extravaganza.
As explained by the representative from Young Explosives, the malfunction made it impossible to detonate the fireworks using their computerized system. The part that failed simply could not be repaired or replaced in time for the show and it was far too dangerous to fire the big shells manually.
This was especially disappointing since, as you are all too well aware, we rescheduled from Saturday because high winds exceeded the safety parameters for launching fireworks.
In order to rectify the situation, museum staff is currently working on a solution that will equitably compensate all ticket holders for their loss.  Letters will be going out September 9 to all guests who attended the event, outlining what options are avaliable to them.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding and please accept our most sincere apologies
Peter Arnold
President & CEO
Genesee Country Village & Museum


Here are answers to some of the questions you may have regarding this event.
Frequently asked Questions:
1.     What happened with the fireworks show? Why was it cancelled?
Our unique fireworks program is synchronized with music and narration and therefore completely computerized. The firing mechanism used in conjunction with the computer system failed shortly before the show was to begin making it impossible to ignite the fireworks program. The equipment failure could not be repaired or replaced in time for the show.
Although the set pieces could be safely fired manually, the aerial and ground level fireworks were too dangerous to be fired individually by the fireworks personnel.
2.     Why didn’t Young Explosives have a backup?
It’s a good question and we don’t have the answer at this time – it will be one of the issues we discuss with them in the coming days.
3.     How will the Museum rectify the situation?
In order to rectify the situation, museum staff is currently working on a solution that will equitably compensate all ticket holders for their loss.  It will include a refund option as well as some other options.
4.     When will the decision be made?
We will reach a decision in this regard, and subsequently be in touch with everyone, by Wednesday (9/8/10). Please watch our web-site, but feel free to contact us as well.
5.     What if I bought my tickets the night of the show with a credit card? Will I be charged?
No, we will not process your credit card. 
6.     What if I bought my tickets at Wegmans?
Each person will be compensated regardless of how the ticket was purchased. If you purchased your tickets from Wegmans please call the Museum directly at (585) 538-6822.
7.     Will the Fireworks Extravaganza be rescheduled?
Due to the Museum’s schedule and the unpredictable weather conditions during this time of year, the show will not be rescheduled in 2010.
8.     Will the Fireworks Extravaganza be held next year?
The Museum plans to hold the Fireworks Extravaganza again in 2011.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Important Date Change For Fireworks Extravaganza/Beatlemagic Show

Please Note, the date of  our Fireworks Extravaganza/ Beatlemagic Show has been changed from Saturday September 4 to Monday September 6 because of weather and saftey considerations. All previously purchased tickets will be honored.

Because of the forecasted rain, cold, wind and saftey considerations, our Fireworks Extravaganza/Beatlemagic Show has been changed from Saturday September 4th to Monday September 6th. This will insure that we are able to put the show on as well as provide the most comfortable, safest and enjoyable experience for our guest!

All of the things we have scheduled for this special event, including Beatlemagic, food and drink vendors and 19th century crafts and games will take place on Monday the 6th as well!

You will be able to make reservations for this event through Sunday Septermber 5th . Tickets will be avaliable at the door on Monday, however, reservations are still encouraged for this event as it is one of our biggest and most popular events.

Tickets are also avaliable online until Monday morning.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Greene Collection-A Child's Dress

Hello all! This blogger is back from vacation with a child's dress from the Greene Collection. While you may imagine that this lovely piece is for a young girl, you would be wrong! The actual dress is a little boy's dress, which was common at the time.

This dress is entirely hand stitched and made with a black and red spot pattern fabric. The bodice is gathered generously into the wide bound neckline which was intended to fit off the shoulder. The sleeves are short and flare slightly. The short skirt is gathered at the waistband and there is a drawstring in the back. There are 2 china hobnail buttons on waistband in back, and 4 more on bodice. Thes sleeves are edged with a dense, white hand made lace.

It came with an attached penciled note that reads: “Dress worn by Wm J. Dyer born Feb 16th -1850 June 1910”
and is from the family of Elisha Dyer, b 1811. Married Anna Jones Hoppin in 1833 and was the Governor of RI 1857-1859. His son Elisha Jr. was also the governor of RI from 1897-1900. Elisha Jr.'s son, William Jones Dyer b 1850 (original owner of the dress) married Lillian Pitman Greene. Their daughter, Anna Jones Dyer wrote some of the notes that accompanied the piece when it was aquired by the museum.

And We Have a Winner!

Congratulations Sandra Stahlman our winner for this month's Fireworks giveaway!   Sandra will receive 2 complimentary tickets and a parking pass to our Fireworks Extravaganza and Beatle Magic concert this Saturday, September 4th! 

Sandra we will contact you by email but you can also contact us at

Didn't win tickets and still want to attend? You can purchase tickets online, at the box office, or at Wegmans.