Sunday, May 2, 2010

New at the Foster-Tufts House

This year, the Foster-Tufts house will feature 3 different exhibits that revolve around the stages of life. These will change as the season progresses.

The first theme will focus on Birth and will feature discussion on all aspects of a country birth in the early 19th century.
A rocking chair, cradle and a custom made baby layette will all be part of the exhibit. The layette pieces are beautifully done in linen and wool with rolled edges all around so as not to bother a newborn baby's skin. They are truly a masterpiece and were made to be handled so please do! There is also a name game to take part in. This program will run from opening day until the 4th of July.

The next theme, Marriage and Courtship, will run from July up until the fall. Find out how people met, courted & married and how that differs from today. The back bedroom will be adorned with typical dowry items and we even have a marriage manual that you can consult!

Finally, in September, we will introduce our program on death. The program will depict an 1830's country rural mourning scene. This will be in contrast to the high mourning of the Victorian era that is often depicted at the museum and will be complete with discussion of burial techniques and customs as well as a real coffin!

For each topic, there will be items in the kitchen that correspond with that theme. For instance, a wedding cake for our marriage program will be featured.

The quilters, who have been housed in the Foster-Tufts home are being moved to George Eastman's Boyhood Home for 2010.

Also, keep your eyes out for the change of color this building will undergo in 2010! Based on its paint history, we will be restoring it to one of it's original colors! We'll let you wait and see what color it's going to be!


  1. I look forward to following this blog!! We are local homeschoolers and go to the museum often. I've even posted many times about the museum on my own blog.

  2. Thanks Jen! We look forward to reading your blog as well!

  3. I look forward to coming out to the museum for all of these neat new programs!

  4. Jonathan Buffington HallOctober 26, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    Ok. This is my first post here folks so bear with me. I've only visited GCM twice since I live on Cape Cod and it's a hike.

    This particular (though now long past) theme would have interested me tremendously. I collect period daguerreotypes as an avocation and I am interested in housesn (period American buildings) first and foremost. However, I should have enjoyed seeing the way the last (Funeral stage of the program) looked like. I mention daguerreotypes (post mortems and funeral processions)simply to give the reader a view into that wonderful window into our 19th century past as to how we dealt with the ever-present phenomenon of looming death hovering over rural American nineteenth century life on such a pround level.

    I have a wonderful poem written by my g.g.g.grandmoter Lydia Howland Buffington (1812-1905) of No. Raynham, Massachusetts which was read graveside at the burial of her two year old granddaughter. The thing is PERSPECTIVE itself. It is, arguably, one of the most touching and hearfelt bits of prose I've ever read from American literature of that period.. It has been used at countless funerals in this century since it surfaced nearly a decade ago.

    These people were as reverent to the dying process as they were the birth one. In other words, the entry into this life should be was as noble and celebratory as the entry at that time. We've lost something over the last one hundred years or so. Relatives die alone often at the local nursing home, where one hundred and fifty years ago death was handled with dignigy and the reverance it deserves.

    Much can be learned (and held in individual cerebral trust)from this sort of program initialted by The Genessee Country Museum and I applaud the curatorial staff for their willingness to educate a largely uneducated American public. It's essential that we glean the lessons taught us by our Colonial and Early American predecessors, for if we do not we become a disposible society only generally interested in its own day-to-day existence without thought of the legacy we'll leave subsequent generations.

    Agan, MANY thanks. I wish I'd gotten to see both first and third portions of The Stages of Life Exhibit/program. The marriage segment interests me less because its not part of my own reality. (I'm willing to bet, however, that it was the most popular part of the Progrram.)

    All the best from Cape Cod. And I hope I can learn something from your blog and perhaps add a little something from time to time.

  5. Mr. Buffington,

    Thanks so much for posting your comments, both regarding your family poem and the thoughts regarding the passing of a loved one from this life to the next.

    How wonderful to have such a fine poem in your family, to be used and cherished. Part of our mission here at the Genesee Country Village and Museum is to connect visitors with the past, so that they can see how their own present life relates to the lives of those in the past. Your poem is a prime example of this. You must feel such a connection to your g.g.g.g. grandmother, and her loss, whenever it is read.

    You make an excellent point that the way we deal with this subject as a society has changed so much over time. Sometimes, the changes are not always for the best.

    For a few pictures on the Passing of a Loved One part of the Foster-Tufts rotating exhibit, click on " New at the Foster-Tufts house" over in the Blog archive. We'll work on getting some up from this year's version for you to enjoy.

    Thanks so much for visiting us, though you live so far away, and for sharing your own family history with us! Please continue to enjoy the blog and to share your information and feedback with us!