We were up early and broke camp at our Lake
Ontario site and headed southeast to Mumford,
NY. Today we were visiting yet another living
history museum, the Genesee Country Village.
The Genesee Country Village shows 19th century
life in 3 different phases:
Village Center 1830-1870
Turn of the Century 1880-1920
Pioneer life must have been tough in this
This was a time when the old saying of
"make it or make do" really applied. In
the early years of the pioneer settlers, they
had to provide their own food, make their
shelters and make all of the things that they
would need to survive. It wasn't just that
you were making your own clothing, you
were making the cloth to make your own
As with most living history museums, there
was the old schoolhouse.
This museum has a camp for kids so they
can come every day and experience life in
a different time. Just thinking about how
different my childhood was compared to my
children's childhood is quite startling. Imagine
when you had to make your own bread and go
out to find the eggs to make a meal. Actually,
I think my kids would have loved to have gone
to a camp like this ~ for a while at least.
Moving into the next time period of village life,
we see how far the community has come in a few
decades. This house was an example of a Shaker
house. The Shakers had roots in upstate NY. The
Shakers were very industrious and we learned they
were the first to offer seeds by catalog.
In this kitchen they were making cheese. They
were separating the curds and whey and straining
the cheese and molding and pressing it.
This house was the boyhood home of George
Eastmam (founder of Eastman Kodak). This
is where the quilters hang out so of course I
especially loved it. Look at that beauty on the
This made me want to get busy with
my own designs.
This woman gave a lecture on hygiene in the
19th century. It was quite different from the
easy, modern way of life we enjoy now.
Then it was on the the Turn of the Century
area of the village. This is a beautiful octagonal
I must confess the Victorian era furnishings
seemed so gloomy and overdone after the
simplicity of the homes from earlier times.
We were lucky to have a beautiful day for
our visit. We stayed until closing so we could
see all the museum had to offer. We skipped
lunch so as not to waste time so after we exited
we found a shady tree and pulled out our camp
chairs and had a lovely lunch from our cooler
as we listened to the birds. Then it was time to
pack up and find a forest to sleep in for the night.
I was thinking today of what got me started in
my love for these types of museums, when I
was three my family took a trip to Colonial
Willamsburg, Even though I was very young,
I still have some memories of that trip. One of
them has nothing to do with history but with my
own history of embarrassing myself. I probably
only came up to my Dad's knee, and I had a habit
of wrapping my arm around his calf and leaning on
him. It seems I did this in one of the exhibits at
Williamsburg but with a bit of a problem ~ it wasn't
my Dad! I'm still doing weird stuff like that as you
can see here. It wasn't just about museums though,
I loved going to other people's houses to see how they
lived and what they ate and how their family's life was
different from my family's life. I guess I was an
ethnographer before I even knew what that meant.
And today, it still interests me.