Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pioneer Family Reflections

“Q-tips and tissues” was the ready answer from Mike Holcomb, patriarch of our most recent “Pioneer Family,” when asked what he missed most during his stay here.  Mike, his wife Carrie, and their three children (Audrey, Zach, and Natalie) spent the weekend of June 8-10 on site in the Hetchler House as the latest participants of the Pioneer House Experience.  They slept, ate, worked and played together like pioneers in the early nineteenth century Genesee Country.  What they were hoping to get out of the event was “a truer sense of where we come from, a deeper gratitude for what we have, [and] a greater appreciation for the little things.”  They profess that they were not disappointed, and it was a great experience for them as a family and fulfilled all the expectations they had when they signed up to spend the weekend at the log house on the pioneer farmstead. 

The kids, too, rolled up their sleeves and took action just as openly as their parents.  In fact, the whole weekend was Audrey’s birthday wish!  She had her birthday during the visit, and said that being able to spend it at the Pioneer House Experience would, “the best birthday ever!!”  She asked for vinegar pie to be made, and she really liked it!  Zach and Natalie didn’t care for it, but sampled it with a true pioneer spirit.  Zach also celebrated his birthday while here, and though he didn’t exactly share his sister’s birthday wish, he was very excited to share the experience with his family, and made some new, wooly, feathered, and hooved friends while here.  When asked what he would miss the most about staying here, his answer was the sheep.  He and Audrey made each other birthday gifts, and shared the chores, helping Mom & Dad make sure everything got done.  Not to be left out, little Natalie, made herself right at home, enjoying a doll her mother made her right on the spot. 

The family agreed that what they liked best about the experience was the peace and quiet of the evenings, and trying new things.  They left still feeling excited about the educational value of the weekend, and in their own words “What better way to learn about history than to live it?” 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

War of 1812 Bicentenial & Jane Austen Weekend

Please join us this weekend to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and revel in the fashions of the Jane Austen Era.

Two hundred years ago, New Yorkers from throughout the Rochester, Finger Lakes and Genesee region hastily assembled volunteer militia units to invade British Canada in 1812.
Eclipsed by the bloodshed of the Civil War, and often overlooked in the aftermath of two World Wars, the “Forgotten” War of 1812 is revisited on its Bicentennial at Genesee Country Village & Museum, Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24.
The weekend’s activities include:
  • Morning Parade & Flag Raising on the Village Square
  • Fashion Shows: Military Uniforms and Jane Austen style dresses
  • Live target shooting with muskets & artillery
  • Jane Austen dance demonstration by the English Country Dancers of Rochester (Saturday only)
  • Skillful craftspeople showcasing their talents in tailoring, medicine and apothecary
  • Tactical demonstrations and militia drills
  • Native Americans' role in the war
  • Genesee Harmonic Society concert featuring patriotic music (Sunday only)
NEW for 2012! - Join our Jane Austen Tea Party
Enjoy a relaxing cup of the 19th century’s finest tea while you chat about Jane Austen’s books with a rabid fan, and nibble on dainty tea cakes made according to 19th-century receipts (recipes). Imagine yourself a society debutante waited on by a servant and using the best china and linen the Village has to offer! This exclusive tea takes place on June 23 and 24 at 3pm both days.
  • Due to the intimate nature of the setting, seating is limited to 8 people per day.
  • Tickets are $10 per person (in addition to museum admission) and are pre-purchase only.

The War of 1812 Bicentennial & Jane Austen Weekend is sponsored in part by the New York Council for the Humanities.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Macy's Miracle, Says Museum CEO; Civil War Balloon to Take Flight with Last-Minute Helium Donation

Public Excursions on the Intrepid to Begin July 4 at Genesee Country Village & Museum
 MUMFORD, N.Y., June 18 — When the CEO of the Genesee Country Village & Museum (GCV&M; www.gcv.org) set out last year to build and fly the world's first replica of a Civil War manned balloon – the Intrepid – little did he know his dream could collapse from a nationwide helium shortage. But he also didn't bargain that one of the country's most iconic retailers would step forward to deliver a miracle at the last minute, literally raising the project off the ground.

 Thanks to the generous support of Macy's – a brand synonymous with the giant helium-filled balloons that grace Manhattan's skies every Thanksgiving morning – the Intrepid will begin flying this July 4 outside of Rochester, N.Y. Weather permitting, the balloon will take guests 300 feet (32 stories) into the sky, simulating what some of the world’s first military pilots (a.k.a. aeronauts) experienced 150 years ago.

"We were looking for a miracle. The Museum was seemingly out of options to secure helium after having placed innumerable calls to dealers, government officials and even decommissioned research laboratories across the U.S.," said Peter Arnold, GCV&M's CEO and president. "Then we heard from Macy's, which was able to donate the 50,000 cubic feet we needed. We’re simply ecstatic, as we were within days of having to suspend our opening. 'The Magic of Macy's' has never been more real."

First announced this past February, the Intrepid project has captured the imagination of families, educators, historians and aviation enthusiasts across North America. Renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and adventure balloonist and Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson have both praised the historic reconstruction.

"Supporting education is an important aspect of our community giving, made even more relevant in this case since Macy’s was founded during the Civil War era,” said Russell Schutte, senior vice president / director of stores, Macy’s Midwest. “With our unique connection to helium ballooning, we had the opportunity to help Genesee Country Village & Museum fulfill its dream to open this one-of-a-kind, interactive exhibit. The result will benefit not only the people of Western New York, but visitors who will travel from across the U.S. and overseas to experience the wonder and history of flight.”

Featuring its signature giant helium character balloons, the 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place on Thursday, November 22.
One side of the deflated Intrepid is hand-painted
by illustrator Todd Price in May 2012.

Conceived by Professor Thaddeus Lowe, the Union Army Balloon Corps was personally approved by President Abraham Lincoln in June 1861. Not only was the Intrepid the predecessor to modern-day military aviation, but it also foreshadowed the future of military reconnaissance communications. The pilot would send intelligence information – troop movements, artillery compensation instructions, and more – to soldiers on the ground via telegraph.

Like the original seven gas balloons used by the Union Army during the Civil War, the Intrepid is tethered to land for optimal convenience and safety. Visitors – up to four at a time – will have the opportunity to take 15-minute flights for a nominal cost in addition to their museum entry fee.

A team of prominent advisors is assisting with the project, including Tom D. Crouch, Ph.D., senior curator of Aeronautics for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum; Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and Rob Shenk, director, Internet Strategy & Development, Civil War Trust.

For more information, visit www.gcv.org or follow the museum on Twitter at @GCVandM.

# # #

Monday, June 11, 2012

Village Happenings - Hosmer Supper and A Pioneer Experience

This past weekend, the historic village was filled with family and friends as we hosted the first two of this season's Hosmer Inn Suppers and a family joined us for their pioneer experience.

The Salamagundi Salad with Hosmer House dressing was filled with beautiful seasonal greens and flowers.

Guests enjoyed each others company as they dined on a tasty spring soup.

The youngest of the weekend's pioneers was happy to show off her work.

Even with the damp weather, we hope everyone had an enjoyable time.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Before and After in the Smoke House

 Here are the before and after photos from our Smoke House

Notice how the meat has darkened, developing a layer of creosote. This layer of creosote acts as a protective layer, preserving the meat inside while developing the flavor of the meat. The word "creosote" comes from the Greek kréas and sōtēr, meaing flesh preserver.