Genesee Country Village & Museum celebrating 45th anniversary
The 68 historic buildings that comprise the picturesque Historic Village were all painstakingly moved there from locations around Western New York
MUMFORD — When Genesee Country Village & Museum opens its doors on Saturday, 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 today’s world.
Many guests don’t realize that the 68 historic buildings that comprise the picturesque Historic Village were all painstakingly moved there from locations around Western New York, in an effort begun in 1966 by Museum founder Jack Wehle. As a history-lover and conservationist, Mr. Wehle saw an opportunity to preserve examples of local architecture while also creating a place to tell the story of New York’s history. Today, 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.
Opening Day will mark the season kickoff, and will feature costumed interpreters and tradespeople cooking, farming, and re-creating life as it was in the 19th century. On Saturday, May 8 guests can see the potter, blacksmith, tinsmith, and townsfolk in action, creating goods that are beautiful and functional, many of which are for sale in the Museum’s 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 busy summer ahead.
On Sunday, 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 ever-popular D.B. Munger Confectionery will have a variety of treats for sale, so mom can enjoy a fresh-baked hand pie or cookie on her special day. Pre-purchase of tickets for both Saturday and Sunday is 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 special offering to celebrate mom will be a Mother’s Day Brunch featuring a seasonal menu as well as mimosas and specialty drinks, and moms are half-price. Separate preregistration is required for Mother’s Day Brunch with seatings at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Details and tickets are available online at gcv.org.
A stunning new exhibit at the John L. Wehle Gallery is a must-see this season. “Consuming Desires: The Great American Wedding” takes a look at the evolution of marriage and weddings in 19th-century America. Highlights include a local history of marriages of freepersons of color, inter-racial marriage, and the marriages of the Haudenosaunee. Of note is a spectacular 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,” a fun insider look at some of the pieces that are dear to the hearts of the Museum’s own staff and personnel.
On Saturday, 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 Friday evening, May 14, there will be a Preview Party that includes a sneak peek at the sale along with live entertainment and a reception on the Great Meadow.
The Museum is also hosting weekly discounted days for seniors and families, to give everyone the opportunity to come out and enjoy a day in the 19th century. Wednesdays from May 12 to June 30 are Senior Days, when visitors age 62 and up will only pay $10 for admission, and on Thursdays from May 13 to June 17, families can enjoy a “field trip” to the Museum with discounted admission as well.
GCV&M will also host a variety of special events throughout the season, offering the public a way to get outside and take advantage of the Museum’s 600-acre campus. Coming up is the popular and spirited Celtic Faire on Saturday & Sunday June 12 and 13, featuring traditional music, food, and entertainment from Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales.
On Saturday, June 19, GCV&M will feature a new event, Celebrating Juneteenth. This traditional African-American celebration marks the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, and dates back to 1865. Guests will learn more about this tradition and its meaning in the larger context of American history. Then on Sunday, 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.
Genesee Country Village & Museum is open Wednesdays-Sundays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. during the Regular Season. General daily admission is $18 adults; $15 seniors and students ages 13-18; $12 youth ages 3-12; free for GCV&M members and children 2 and under. Special event pricing may vary, visit the Museum website www.gcv.org or call 585-538-6822 for details.