Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dresses & Bonnetts-The Greene Collection

In honor of our upcoming Days of Laura Ingalls Wilder event, we have decided to showcase some items from the Greene Collection that little girls from Laura's time period would have worn. 

The first dress is a machine made pale blue cotton pinstripe from 1885. It has a princess-lined in front and is double breasted with large mother-of-peal  buttons. It has a 2-piece  belt around the back and sides where the skirt is pleated and is edged with white braid. It has elbow length sleeves with turnback cuffs and a small sailor collar that are each edged with white embroidered edging and white braid. It is for about an 8-year old sized child.

The second  dress is a more fancy (Nellie Olsen anyone? ) girl’s dress from 1875-1876.  It is a two piece princess dress of light blue and tan ‘ikat’ spot-printed silk taffeta. The top or bodice has 3/4 sleeves with ruched band above self-frilled end, finished with machine lace edging.  It has a small collar and bodice hem edged with the same lace.
The skirt is made of two horizontal ruched rows of blue ribbon printed with chine roses, heading a frill of same blue silk as bodice. The bottom frill is box pleated.  It is meant to be worn with hoops. This dress is from a private family with origins in Massachusetts.

 Next we have a simple girl's sunbonnet from 1850-1880 It is a yellow cotton print with tiny yellow-orange sprigs on buff. It is entirely hand stitched and has a narrow hem on  the 6” bavolet. The brim lining was brought around to finish the front edge. It has drawstring in rear casing. The crown is gathered at top and the brim is made of 2” sections filled with cardboard strips.

And finally, another girl's sunbonnet from 1865-1880. It is white cotton with tiny black sprig stripe. There are machine stitched rows in the brim, through a papery interlining. It has a long cape, narrow hand stitched hem,  and is front edged  with narrow hand stitched self frill. There is a bow on top back and the ties hand hemmed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days

Join us August 7th and 8th as we host our third and what will be our best to date,  Laura Ingalls Wilder Days.

Everyone will enjoy kneading bread, making soap and corn husk dolls or tin ornaments at this event designed for the whole family. You also can try your hand at two-man sawing and rail splitting, compete in sack and three-legged races or enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride, among many other activities.

Children are invited to dress as their favorite "Little House" character and join in a pioneer Fashion Promenade.

Included in the festivities will be Dean Butler, who portrayed “Almanzo Wilder,” Laura’s husband, on the popular television series “Little House on the Prairie.”  Butler’s presentations will include Q&A and autograph sessions. 

Also appearing for Q & A and autograph sessions will be William Anderson, well known historian, lecturer, Wilder biographer and author of more than a dozen books on Laura and her family, including Pioneer Girl, the biography Laura Ingalls Wilder, A Little House Sampler and The Story of the Wilders.

A special exhibit of more than 25 Laura Ingalls Wilder artifacts will be in the museum's Meeting Center on display for the public.  Included are rare ambrotypes of Ma and Pa Ingalls, a book "Pa" Charles read to Laura and her sisters as children and a handwritten letter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  There will also be first editions of her books, signed illustrations by Little House illustrator Garth Williams and other Ingalls memorabilia.

Tickets, are available at the museum’s gift shop, by phone: 585-538-6822, online, and at Wegmans

Admission: adults $16, youth (4-16) $10, seniors 62+ & students with ID $13, children under 3 admitted free.

You can also click on the link below to purchase tickets!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

MidsumerFest! This Weekend!

And The Item is A.....

Ever wonder how they find cobblestones the same size to make a dwelling with? 
They use a cobblestone gauge!
The measuring instrument can be found over at our Made to Measure Exhibit in the Davis Opera House. 
The first person guessed correctly but everyone had some interesting answers. I especially liked the 19th Century Bubble Wand guess over on Facebook!
 Check back again as we'll make this a regular feature!

Genesee Country Village Museum 2010 | American Civil War Videos

Check out this wonderful video made by one of the Civil War Reenactors this past weekend!

Genesee Country Village Museum 2010 American Civil War Videos

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is it?

Once in a while we thought we would try and stump our readers with a curious object from the 19th Century. I'm not sure this is a hard one or an easy one but I do know that I didn't know what it was when I first saw it!
Anyone care to take a guess?

Come back tomorrow to find out!

One hint-This item can be found in one of the museum's new exhibits this year!

Museum Employees-No fair telling if you already know!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MidsummerFest This Coming Saturday Evening July 24th!

Now that the War Between The States is over it's time to relax and have a good time at the museum this coming Saturday night at our MidsummerFest.

This swinging event will be held after-hours at the museum and will feature over 35 different local foods, custom brewed Rochester beers and local wines.  You can stroll our beautiful grounds listening to the smooth blues sounds of Steve Grills and the Roadmasters at the brewery, the spirited beat of Street-Wise at the Garden Pavilion and the suave, contemporary music of the Rochester Rat Pack on the Village Green.

You can also tour our brand new W. Grieve Brewery as well as taste our signature 1803 Fat Ox Ale

There's nothing like enjoying excellent food, delightful music and a fine glass of wine as the sun sets on a warm summer's evening knowing you don’t have to clean up after this party!

Tickets, which are all inclusive, are $30 and are available at the museum’s gift shop, by phone: 585-538-6822, ext 218, or via email:; or at Wegmans. Must be 21 years or older to attend this rain-or-shine event and reservations are recommended, though not required.

Vendors Include

Vendors include:
Abbott's Custard                                 
Allens Hill Farm                                   
Andy's Candies           
Arbor Hill Grapery                              
Brighton Restaurant                             
Custom BrewCrafters                           
D&R Depot                                        
Deer Run Winery                                 
Evening Star Coffee Roasters               
Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese (Bronson Hill Cheesery)         
Genesee Country Inn                           
Hedonist Artisan Chocolates         
Knapp Farm                                        
Kutters Cheese House                         
Pepsi Beverages Company                                  
Red Tail Ridge Winery                                              
Rohrbach Brewing Company               
Sage Maple Products  

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Democrat and Chronicle Journalism Camp Profiles GCV Earth Camp! Check out the Video!

Recently the Democrat & Chronicle did a fantastic article and video about the Genesee Country Village & Museum Earth Camp as part of their journalism camp! Click the links below to view the video and accompanying article!!

Click for the Video

Click for the Article

We still have spots avaliable in both our Earth Camp and Summer Sampler Camps!  For questions or to register, you may contact Maria Neale at (585) 538-6822 ext 216.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Read All About It-All Around The Village

We have so much going on around the village this week/weekend I thought I would give you a quick news brief!

Everyone is gearing up for the civil war reenactment this weekend. As I walked around the village today I saw a few soldiers scoping out the battle terrain. Our historic foodways cooks were baking up 800 Rosewater Currant Cakes. These will be available for $1 donation at the Altay store this weekend. Don’t let the number fool you-These are sure to sell out so make your way over there early!  I had one, they are delicious.

Our Gardens are bursting with new produce and this Friday (the 16th) we will be making pickles at the Jones farm with our bumper crop of cucumbers. We’re closely watching our elberberries as they are almost perfect and I saw one of our gardeners sneaking a bite out of a peach that was almost ripe today. Because of the warm weather and rain all of our vegetables and flowers are earlier than usual. The Jones Farm and Pioneer Gardens look like they may have record harvests this year!

We’ve stepped up our brewing at the W. Grieve Brewery even more and now you can see different aspects of brewing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday.

Over at Foster-Tufts we’re ending the birth portion of our “Stages of Life” exhibit and we will begin the marriage portion. It will run until September. It's as interesting as the birth program so make sure you check it out!

It's supposed to be a beautiful weekend for the War Between The States! We have 2 battles per day-One in the village and one in an open field.  It's an event not to be missed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Join Us This Weekend For Our Annual Civil War Reenactment

Calling all Civil War buffs!

This coming weekend, the village will be transformed into a small Virginia town in 1863 as the Civil War explodes around the village during our annual Civil War Reenactment.

You'll be able to watch as battles rage in the village square and in our open field. There will be cannon fire and mounted cavalry units in battle and military exercises. Soldiers will commandeer the village square and station both Union and Confederate troops in village homes. You can visit both Confederate and Union Camps and experience how daily life in a 19th century village was impacted when armies moved through villages taking over people’s homes and confiscating supplies.

Our re-enactment is the largest of its kind in New York State with over 1000 reenactors, both military, civilian and a cavalry charge.

There will be period music concerts, period clothing demonstrations and depictions of all aspects of daily life in a time of war in many locations around the village as well as specialty shopping.

“We strive to set high standards for our reenactment events,” says Director of Special Events, Melanie Neth “All units are vetted and attend by invitation only to give our event the highest level of quality and authenticity.”

Battles to win the War Between the States will be fought daily at noon and 2 pm.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cool Off This Summer with 19th Century Beverages

Since it's been so hot the past few weeks we thought you might want to cool off 19th century style with a few old fashioned thirst quenchers!

Recipe By: The House Servant's Directory By Robert Roberts, 1827
Servings: 128

1 gallon water
12 whole cloves
2 ounces cinnamon sticks

Boil one gallon of water, pour it into a gallon demijohn, set this before the fire, then put into it twelve cloves, two ounces of whole cinnamon, then stop up your bottle and put it in a cool place; when you want to mix your liquor, put half a pint into two quarts of water, with one quarter of a pound of sugar; cool it in ice before you serve it, and it is a most wholesome and delicious drink as you can take in hot weather.

The above can be cut down as follows for modern-sized families:  ;-)

Amounts to use for making 1 quart of concentrate:
1 quart water
3 whole cloves
1/2 ounce cinnamon sticks

Follow above directions, except no fire is required.  Just boil your water and add the above ingredients.  Stop up the bottle and store it in a cool place.  You can dilute the whole quart of concentrate to serve  by adding 2 gallons cold water and 1 pound sugar according to the directions above, or follow the directions below to mix up just a quart at a time.

For 1 quart diluted:

Put 1/2 cup of cinnamon-clove water and a rounded 1/4 cup of sugar into 1 quart of water.  Chill on ice before serving.  Alternately, add spice water and sugar to 2 cups water, and add ice to make 1 quart.

NOTE: Each 1 cup of this concentrate makes 8, 1 cup servings diluted.


Raspberry Shrub
Recipe By: The Frugal Housewife, by Lydia Maria Child, pub.  1830

"Raspberry shrub mixed with water is a pure delicious drink for summer; and good in a country where raspberries are abundant.   It is good economy to make it answer instead of Port and Catalonia wine.  Put raspberries in a pan and scarcely cover them with strong vinegar. Let sit to draw out the juice for 24-48 hours; strain. Add a pint of sugar to a pint of [strained] juice; (of this you can judge by first trying your pan to see how much it holds) scald it, skim it, and bottle it when cold."


Sumac Lemonade; Indian or Pink Lemonade

8 clusters rosy-red sumac heads
2 quarts cold water
sugar to taste

To make one pitcher, use six to eight clusters of rosy-red sumac heads.  Empty the heads into a large container of water and mash them soundly with a beetle; or you may lightly bruise the seed heads and let them soak in the water, now and again gently stirring.  Strain the liquid through a muslin or several layers of cheesecloth, then add sugar to taste and you will end up with a drink that is very pleasant to the palate.

It is important to harvest the seed heads at the right time, just when the heads turn a nice rosy-red color.  Any darker and the results will be slightly bitter.  Always use cold water.  Hot water will leach out the tannin.  The natural tartness is partly sue to ascorbic acid, vitamin C.

NOTE: It is important to harvest the seed heads at the right time, just when the heads turn the rosy-red color.  Any darker and the results will be slightly bitter.  Always use cold water.  Hot water will leach out the tannin.  The natural tartness is due to ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the berries.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Raining Outside? Consider a Visit to GCV!

As I sit here in my kitchen watching the rain come down outside I'm thinking I might be a nice time to visit the museum. My husband and I are big museum goers (GCV and otherwise) and often find that the nicest times we've had occur at time that other people don't consider visiting.

Don't believe me? Here are but a few reasons to visit in the rain:

1)The village is operational even when it rains.

2) Although the GCV is considered an open air museum, one thing to remember is that all of our exhibits are buildings. That you can go in to.

3) The museum is relatively uncrowded in the rain. If you've never been to the museum with few people in it, it's a different experience that when it is bustling with visitors. Both scenarios are fun but a rainy day provides you a chance to see the village in a quieter moment and appreciate it's beauty and stillness.

4) Because of #3, our interperters see very few people on rainy days. They are just waiting for the chance to see and speak with people-You'll have them all to yourselves for as many questions as you want. Your kids can churn butter and pound corn all day if they want to.

5) Ever thought about how cosy it is to come out of the rain into one of our buildings that has a nice fire going?

6) Our "roads" are gravel covered so you aren't likely to get very dirty, even in the rain.

7) It was not always sunny and bright in the 19th century. A visit on a rainy day gives you one more way to envision life in the 19th century.

Have I convinced you yet? The next time you're looking for something to do on a rainy day, don't rule out the museum-grab an umbrella or a raincoat and head on over!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

June Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to AprilOconnor a follower of this blog who was the lucky winnerof our June giveaway. April gets her choice of a new stoneware 1803 Fat Ox Ale mug or 2 free admission passes to the museum!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Question & Answer Column- A Reader Asks About Infant Care in the 19th Century

As part of our blog contest last month we invited readers to submit their questions to us about the museum or life in the 19th Century. We will take some time this month to answer each of them.

Our first question deals with infant care.

Nell Asks: My question is about infant care in 19th century America. What did they eat? What were the norms around breastfeeding? Who cared for babies and very young children? What did they wear?

Answer: Breast feeding was the norm for infants up to 18 months of age. Sometimes less if a mothers was not particularly productive. In these cases wet nurses were available for hire.

Mothers cared for babies and young children unless of course the mother died in child birth which was not infrequent. In that case, a wet nurse was hired and siblings or female relatives cared for the child.

Babies wore cloth diapers, a diaper cover, a gown, and a piece of flannel wrapped around the mid section plus various caps, flannel for winter and cool weather cotton and linen for warmer weather.

As part of our Stages of Life Program at The Foster-Tufts House this year, we have a hand made baby layette available for you to see & touch.

Have a question? drop us a line through the email link or via our comments. We will answer all that we receive!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Who Is Cutting The Grass In The 19th Century?

Pioneer Farmstead
As it turns out, hardly anyone.

Recently we were sent a comment regarding the upkeep around some of the village properties that we thought deserved a detailed explanation regarding our vision for the grounds of the museum.

This year, in order to provide a more accurate and educational representation of 19th century life, we have altered the way in which the grounds are taken care of around many of the village buildings.

The pioneer farmstead has the least manicured lawn, in fact, it is interpreted to have a yard rather than a lawn as a pioneer would not typically have "planted" anything like lawn and would not have had the time or the inclination to cut, weed and water it.

Field For Haying

The space between the Pioneer Farmstead and Kieffer's Place has been left uncut deliberately as we will be haying this for our animals, as would have been done in the 19th century.

The Jones Farm has a more of a lawn would have been part of a more established farm. Even though the grass has been cut more than at the Pioneer Farmstead, you might see growth around fences as a 19th century farmer would still have been very busy and not likely to do yardwork as we do today.

Jones Farm Fence Post
Contrast this with the manicured lawns & gardens of The Hyde House, The Hamilton House and The Livingston-Backus House and you can see the difference in styles of gardens at the time as well as the difference that money and leisure time have on upkeep of grounds and gardens.

Formal Garden At Livingston-Backus
We hope that this change in direction is one that provides yet another layer of understanding of 19th century life for our visitors.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

2 Ladies Hats From The Greene Collection

By special reader request, this week's look at the Greene Collection features 2 Ladies Hats. 
1845 Silk Bonnet
The first one is from 1845 and is made of a faded lavender silk satin. It is trimmed with feathers and a matching satin ribbon across head with different flat bows on either side and uses the same ribbons to tie at the neck. 

It has an unstiffened bavolet (ruffle) made of the same material amd a wired brim with a buckram form.

*Buckram is a material used for stiffening fabrics and would be used along with the wired brim to give the bonnet it's shape.

Our second example is a ladies mourning bonnet from 1845-1848.

It is  made of cane ribs and black silk taffeta and has a wired front, curved tunnel form and flared slightly at front. It has the original black taffeta ribbon draped across top with bow and streamers the left and pinned on ties The back half is lined with buckram. This bonnet originates from from Canisteo or someplace nearby.