Living Museums are a Great Way Kids Can Learn About the Past: Visiting Genesee County Village & Museum

Years ago, when I was a homeschooling dad, I would take my kids on as many educational trips as I could fit into a schedule. They would learn more by interacting with history than by sitting at a desk and putting pencil to paper. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are legit reasons to have kids sit down and drink in all the knowledge that is poured out from books and lessons. It is undeniable though that information transferred from being an active participant is beneficial to learning.

Even though my kids are no longer homeschooled (we only did it for 3 years), I’m always in teacher mode. Whenever we go on vacation, I look for ways my kids and I can take a side-step from whatever we are doing and take a moment to learn something new. Since we’re on a vacation, whatever we do isn’t considered a “learning moment,” but a fun thing we do on the trip. Since I too am an active learner, I jump right in with them and enjoy the moments.

Read about Visiting Rochester With Kids

While vacationing in Rochester, NY, we couldn’t pass up visiting Genesee County Village & Museum. Genesee County Village & Museum is the largest living museum in New York and the third-largest in the United States. With 68 buildings on the property and most of them staffed with someone who can explain what the building was used for and the people that inhabited it.

Living museums are some of my favorite places to take my city kids. Growing up in New York City, they rarely get to witness rural life, let alone what the United States looked like in the 1800s. It’s nice to take them places where they can run around and learn from people who are passionate about teaching what life was like way back when. Genesee County Village & Museum did just that. Every building we went into, my kids were treated as honored guests and the guides patiently walked my kids through a history lesson on “How To.”

They peppered the Blacksmith with questions and comments about making tools. They tried to help the brewmaster at the brewery find a hole in a barrel and made many comments on how much their dad likes beer. The guide inside the women’s seminary shared what life was like for young women during that time and their unfair struggles. The woodcarver let my kids have hands-on experiences while making a chair.

It was also nice to spend that time outdoors in the beautiful upstate setting. The Village is gorgeous and you can take great photos everywhere you look. It’s a photographer’s dream. Each structure is in the perfect space for an opportunity to take a lovely photo. I imagine wedding parties and graduates take a lot of photos in the Village.

There are so many things to do in Rochester with and without kids. Slowing down and taking time at the Genesee County Village & Museum is a great way to spend a day. And while you’re there, grab some homemade fudge at the gift store.


Disclaimer: I was hosted by Visit Rochester for this post. The thoughts, words, and photos are my own. 

Also read:
Civil Rights Road Trip
Visiting Cooperstown
How to Have a Succesful Road Trip with Kids
Visiting Hamilton Grange: Alexander’s Uptown Home

1 comment

  1. This museum is also great year round. Phil and I had one of our first dates during the Christmas season at the museum. The theme was Christmas in the 1800s. The buildings were decorated in that style. We took a night tour, through the snow, with Christmas caroling, hot cider and cookies. You also can’t beat the colors of the fall and spring seasons.

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