The Genesee Country Village & Museum, chartered by the New York State Education Department as an educational institution, was founded with the goal of preserving prime examples of architecture from upstate New York to provide historical context for the telling of the history of New York State and America in the 19th century.
Through interactive programs, events and exhibits we help visitors understand the lives and times of 19th-century America. This unique living history experience provides meaningful insights into the origins of customs, traditions, social values and the evolution of our contemporary lifestyles.
We are the largest and most comprehensive living history museum in New York State and maintain the third-largest collection of historic buildings in America.
Our 700-acre complex consists of 68 historic structures furnished with 15,000 artifacts to provide an authentic, 19th-century environment in which visitors can interact with knowledgeable, third-person historic interpreters in period-appropriate dress. Among the buildings preserved in the historic village are Col. Nathaniel Rochester’s house and George Eastman’s childhood home.
We consider each of our historic buildings, historic gardens and farm landscapes (including domestic animal enclosures) an exhibit in and of itself. Trade, craft, cooking and agricultural demonstrations occur every day. Wherever possible, we strive to provide some opportunity for visitors to touch, use, smell or otherwise share the experience.
Our historic gardens include kitchen, dye plant, children’s, English cottage style, Shaker, Victorian formal gardens, fruit orchards and vineyards, and are created and maintained as living exhibits. Both the heirloom gardens and our farm settings are used to teach the significance of agricultural biodiversity conservation and to demonstrate how each of us can help preserve our fragile landscapes.
Our John L. Wehle Art Gallery—which reopened in 2012 after extensive renovation—presents permanent works in a series of themed rooms, as well as various temporary exhibitions. Long regarded as one of the nation's premiere galleries of wildlife and sporting art, it is now also home to the Susan Greene Costume Collection, considered one of the country's finest privately held collections of historic clothing.
The modernized gallery features a soaring new lobby and new exhibit areas with pull-out drawers and built-in display units, created especially for the Greene collection. Gallery rooms in strikingly rich blue, green and red with golden oak flooring throughout, display American and European works along with treasures from the Southwest and sporting art collections.
We are also home to the Genesee Country Nature Center, providing learning opportunities relating to environmental stewardship and the ecological history of New York State and the mid-Atlantic region. The center features more than five miles of hiking trails and 175 acres of wildlife habitat interpreted through signage.
Our educational programs include historic and nature-themed tours, classes and day camps for children ages 4-16; adult classes; and professional development programs for teachers. For school children and other groups, our Moveable Museum can bring these educational programs to schools, libraries, senior centers and other community locations.