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.