Genesee Country Village & Museum to mark 45th year

COURTESY OF GENESEE COUNTRY VILLAGE & MUSEUM

When Genesee Country Village & Museum opens its doors on May 8, it will mark the 45th season of connecting visitors with history, art and nature through immersive experiences that connect life in the 1800s to the modern world. 

The 68 historic buildings that comprise the Historic Village came from locations around western New York, in an effort started in 1966 by museum founder Jack Wehle. As a history lover and conservationist, Wehle saw an opportunity to preserve examples of local architecture while creating a place to tell the story of New York’s history. 

GCV&M encompasses 600 acres with the Historic Village, a Nature Center and an art gallery, all dedicated to preserving and highlighting local history for future generations.

Oxen plowing at the Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford.

Opening Day will kick off the season with costumed interpreters and tradespeople cooking, farming and re-creating life as it was in the 19th century. On May 8, guests can see the potter, blacksmith, tinsmith and townsfolk in action, creating goods that are sold in the Flint Hill Store. The historic kitchens and gardens will be bustling with activity as villagers open doors and plant gardens, welcoming the warmth of late spring and preparing for the summer ahead.

On May 9, the museum celebrates Mother’s Day by offering free admission to all moms. Visitors can see how to churn butter, how to “sleep tight” by roping a bed and learn about clothing of the era. The D.B. Munger Confectionery will have treats for sale. 

Advance tickets for Saturday and Sunday are encouraged to guarantee admission, as capacity will be limited. Tickets will remain for sale online and at the door until the event is sold out. GCV&M members are free and have guaranteed admission.

Another way to celebrate mom will be a Mother’s Day Brunch featuring a seasonal menu, mimosas and specialty drinks, and moms are half-price. Separate registration is required for seatings at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. 

“Consuming Desires: The Great American Wedding” in the John L. Wehle Gallery takes a look at the evolution of marriage and weddings in 19th-century America. Highlights include a local history of marriages of free persons of color, interracial marriage and the marriages of the Haudenosaunee. Of note is a Haudenosaunee wedding ensemble on loan from the New York State Museum.

Returning to the gallery is “Nature’s Chain: The Land and Our Place in It,” a visual exploration of artists’ efforts to both document the natural world and work toward habitat preservation and public education. Also on view is “Fan Favorites,” an insider look at some of the pieces that are dear to the hearts of the museum’s own staff and personnel.

A village potter creates items for the Genesee Country Village & Museum’s Flint Hill Store.

On May 15, guests can head to GCV&M to shop for treasures at the 23rd annual Antique Show. Featuring 35 dealers from around western New York, this show offers everything from furniture, books and art to vintage clothing and jewelry. On May 14, there will be a Preview Party with live entertainment and a reception on the Great Meadow.

The museum is hosting weekly discounted days for seniors and families to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy a day in the 19th century. Wednesdays, May 12-June 30, are Senior Days, when visitors ages 62 and older will pay $10 for admission, and on Thursdays, May 13-June 17, families can enjoy a “field trip” to the museum with discounted admission.

GCV&M will host special events throughout the season. Coming up is the Celtic Faire on June 12-13, featuring traditional music, food and entertainment from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. 

On June 19, GCV&M will feature a new event, Celebrating Juneteenth. This traditional African American celebration marks the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. and dates back to 1865. Guests will learn more about this tradition and its meaning in the larger context of American history. 

On June 20, dads will receive free admission for Father’s Day, when the museum will be full of food and fun for families as they enjoy a day out to honor dad.

GCV&M is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays-Sundays during the regular season. General daily admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and ages 13-18, $12 for ages 3-12, and free for members and ages 2 and younger. Call 585-538-6822 or visit gcv.org for information.