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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Museum Village Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, History Museums

Mission: Exploring and interpreting 19th century rural life

Programs: Exploring and interpreting 19th century rural life and inspiring an appreciation for the evolution of industry and technology in america through educational programs.

maintaining and exhibiting americana collection of 19th century buildings and grounds housing the programs and workshops.

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Clifton P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first visited Museum Village as a child in the 1950s and it was a source of wonder!

Now as a member of a neighboring Historical Society, and having collaborated with Museum Village staff and volunteers on a couple projects, I really appreciate what a wonderful archive of our local history Roscoe Smith assembled! It is a regional, and dare I say, a national treasure!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have been to Museum Village numerous times. The memories I have of all the different events have helped shape my perspective of history when I was a child. I look forward to taking my daughter there when she gets older, so she as I can experience a great organization that continues to tell the story of America.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Visiting Museum Village is my way of going back into time. Being a lover of history, I am able to enjoy the benefits of such a terrific resource in my very own community. There are many events that are wonderful to attend. Fire Fighter's Day when all the local fire departments join the Museum to proudly show off their own prize antiques. Civil War Weekend - kids and adults are withness to the Union and Confederate reenactors skirmish. And Christmas at the Village is always delight with carolers, pretzels on toasting, and special holiday perfromances. These are just to name a few.

I am always enchanted by what each building has to offer. There is such a diverse collection of artifacts display dating from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century. And what is even more amazing, is the amount of artifacts that are not on display due to lack of space and proper conditions.

The professional staff and friendly volunteers are always bustling about with seamless effort making improvements and working as guardians of history.

This is a place that must be seen.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been going to Museum Village with my family for years. The weekend special events are the best.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 4

I first visited Museum Village with my students in 1975. The children learned much from the interpreters and especially through the hands-on experiences. Our second grade curriculum focused on communities and the fabulous presentation of a late nineteenth century village really motivated the kids. Back at school they made dioramas, practiced different kinds of weaving, crafted pinch pots, cooked with old recipes and played some games that were popular in the late 1800's.

During my thirty year teaching career, I brought hundreds of children and many of their parents to Museum Village to experience and learn about their local history.

When I retired from teaching, I was asked to join the board of trustees. I have spent much time and energy over the past seven years repairing buildings and infrastructure, developing new programs and helping the museum raise funds.

We received a major Federal Grant that enabled the museum to begin an inventory project, photographing and recording every artifact in the collection. We expect to have the inventory results available on-line by next year. What a fantastic resource for students around the world.

Museum Village is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year. A close friend of mine came to the village with her fourth grade class shortly after it opened in 1950. She was enthralled by the weaving demonstration which featured a huge, old, barn loom. As an adult, she successfully pursued her artistic talents as a professional weaver. I wonder how many other stories like that one are out there.

Please consider helping Museum Village by becoming a member, making a donation and if you're close enough, becoming a volunteer.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I think places like Museum Village, which I know quite well, are unique. Kids love watching the craftsmen perform in front of their noses and participate in activities like candle making. A seeing Harry the Mastodon is a must for everyone!
Job well done, Museum Village!
Two thumbs up!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I am a 4th grade teacher, presently working an independent school in Greenwich Village, NYC. I facilitate a social studies-based curriculum, emphasis on westward expansion. I have visited the museum on several occasions, both to experience village life and observe the Civil War reenactment. The grounds are beautifully maintained and the staff is very informative. The possibilities to extend the services they could offer to classroom groups could be extremely valuable if they had additional funding. As of now, there is a small number of dedicated staff members working on marketing, fundraising, maintenance and the facilitation of group visits. I would love to see MV reach its full potential as an educational resource that offers a hands-on experience to 1800's daily life. Themes related to social studies and science are plentiful. As children become more technology savvy, the importance of knowing how technology has impacted our history and will continue to impact our development as a nation, MV has the ability to make some abstract concepts very tangible and exciting for young minds.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear Museum Village,

Thank you for being there.

It is always a pleasure visiting the Village especially when we bring our
younger grandchildren who so much enjoy the exhibits.

Where else could they step back in time and actually experience
life as it was when eggs came from chickens, not supermarkets.
Even I had never seen a working blacksmith or a broom being
made from scratch. Everytime I visit I discover something I didn't see the last time. Your collections are mind boggling and who could forget Harry the Masterdon!

I am especially looking forward to the Civil War battle re-enactment
again this year...hopefully the Union will win again.

You folks are to be congratulated for your hard work and dedication
keeping this gem alive. I hope it will be there when my grand-
children bring thier children. Keep up the good work!

Sincerely, Ted Buonocore, Haverstraw, NY

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I enjoy going back to Museum Village every year because it reminds me of the hardship that was faced by people in that time. The winter without heat, Chopping wood not to have in a pretty fire but for survival. Cooking foods over inside fires and the hours it would take to prepare a meal. Not 3 meals a day but One hot meal a day if you were lucky. How storage of every item had to be thought out. Growing your own garden and sharing the surplu with friends and neighbors.
The simpole life as it is sometimes called was never that simple, but time was taken off to celebrate and the meaning of celebration was not to see who got the best or most expensive toy. But something from the heart,

Go through the Village and set your mind to a person from that era. Now take your self through a day of activities that you would do today and see how they were done then. Is it difficult easy or how were they even capable to do things like that. OH yes No car, No IPOD, No eletricity, No A/c or heat, No cell and no telephone.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love to take my children to the Civil War re-enactment held every summer at Museum Village. It also houses great examples of local farming and industrial history for Orange County, New York.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an area resident all my life, and have never taken the time to visit the Museum Village of Old Smith's Clove.

Last year I attended a fund raising dinner held at the Museum, which included lectures by two SUNY New Paltz professors on mastodons and mammoths.

We, as guests, toured the Natural History building housing Orange County's in tact mastodon. In addition, we visited the other buildings at he site. I was impressed with the Museum's varied collection of 19th century artifacts of textiles, porcelain, horse-drawn carriages, craft tools, mechanical devices, and the creative adaptation of these tools and devices to fulfill any unique requirement for the farm or home.

It was only, when asked by a committee member to volunteer time to help catalog the artifacts, that the Museum could apply for grants and funding for maintenance and restoration, that I became aware of the inordinate number of items, which are not on display to the public. It saddened me that some of these artifacts are stored in buildings' attics, basements, and in buildings no longer opened to viewing by the public and were exposed to adverse conditions of hot attics damp basements, the elements and damage by rodents, resulting in dry rot, corrosion. and some incidences, total deterioration of the artifact.

I my opinion, it would be a great historical loss to the residents of Orange County, if these artifacts, succumb to deterioration and disappear, due to the lack of funding for maintenance and restoration.

Representations of the area rural history, would be lost to the community forever, making a mockery of Roscoe William Smith's legacy and his philanthropic gift of the Museum Village of Smith's Clove, to the community.

Jane A. Cook

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

Museum Village is a great place for learning about an earlier time in our local history in Orange County New York. As a youg boy, I first visted Museum Village on a school trip from with our class from Mahwah New Jersey. Even then I was facinated by the idea that life was so different in our area during the years the exhits portray.

Now as a middle aged person living in Orange County, I am lucky enough to be able to attend plays at the theater of Museum Village and still have the same outs standing grounds and learning that thrilled me as a child.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Museum Village is wonderful for a family day trip or a school field trip. The "hands on" exhibits are perfect for young children.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I visited with my family, not knowing what to expect. Imagine my surprise to learn that wooly mammoths cruised the territory. And in the same museum we found recreated an early american village and witnessed a civil war reenactment.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I must say as a child I didn't have much interest in History. Maybe it was because I was raised in a town "Rich in History " Tappan, New York. Maybe I took it for granted because I was surrounded by it and to me it was just a bunch of property and old buildings.
It was only when I went on a class trip to Museum Village that I actually seen it come to life! I was engrossed by the schoolhouse, the in character blacksmith, candle maker, broom maker, printer and livery. The old Pharmacy showed actual items and remedies that were used over one hundred years before. It not only made me thankful for the times we are in, but also to understand how progress works.
Creativity, ingenuity and prosperity in moving from the manual to the mechanical to satisfy mans declared promise of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," to make his life less burdensome for himself and his children, (and wife of course!).
"Promoting the well being of fellow humans is essential to the pursuit of our own happiness" someone once wrote.
Museum Village is a perfect example of that pursuit and continues to inspire me today as I go and experience some of their seasonal events.
Civil War re-enactments, their community playhouse, their educational tours as well as evenings of music and entertainment.
I wish I can donate more to support their non-profit educational mission, and am always grateful for the very reasonable fees as well as free services they sometimes provide.
The inventory of antiques should have the funds to keep them well preserved as well as available for viewing and education. I pray you look kindly on this institution and grant them some support.

Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts on such an awesome place.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Museum Village offers a chance to step back in time and get a glimpse of the past. While only minutes from a major highway the placement of the village green with many buildings, each devoted to a unique part of the collection, creates a quite relaxing space to talk with guides and interpreters or to just enjoy the grounds.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 4

I went to Museum Village as a student and (many years later) am now proud to be a Board Member. The Museum is in the middle of a complete revitalization and promises to be an amazing experience for children as well as their parents. Visitors over the next few years will be very pleased with the direction the Museum is taking.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

There is a saying "to know where you are headed, one must know where they have been"!

My first visit to Museum Village was while I was in Grammar school in the late sixties. My day on this particular field trip had more impact on my life than what I had realized at that time. As a child I had learned about what life had been in an earlier time in American Culture. In the sixties we had many television shows to watch depicting frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone and Davey Crocket, the western dramas such as Bonanza and Gun smoke. All being pre-electricity these shows reinforced the Museum Village experience or vice/versa.

To actually see a corn broom being manufactured, the cooper shop barrels and rings, a one room school house, the General store, horse watering trough's with tying posts around the grounds by the buildings, the blacksmith shop, what the Barbers pole was and what it represented, mechanical water driven ceiling fans in the dinning area with an explanation at each exhibit by an authentic old person of course they must have been from that time!

The richness of my experience had stayed with me through the rest of my school days and into my working life. Working with and for manufacturing companies I had a much better perspective as to where and how a product was once made and the progression to the current process. It also helped with the marketing end of the business thinking about the psychology of the particular demographic that our product was to be sold into. On a trip to Germany I was looking for a Drug Store, not finding anything entitled Drug store, or Pharmacy I noticed stores bearing the title "Apothecary" I remembered that while in Museum Village the drug store was called an Apothecary. I went in to find that I was indeed correct and purchased what I needed. When I returned from my trip, I had asked my high school aged Daughter what an Apothecary was. She didn't know!

In this day of instant gratification it seems that much knowledge has been lost because of what is just taken for granted. Can one truly understand a thought process and the logic of being; individually, collectively or culturally without knowing where we have been! Why would we change verbiage in songs or apologize for what was done in an earlier era when we have no responsibility as to the social mores or the cultural aspects of that era?

I maintain that people are responsible for their own actions in their own time. In our own era we are as responsible with our “enlightenment” for ourselves and for posterity. Responsibility to the truth of each era is the burden of each and every generation. It is omnipotent to use the past to gauge moreover understand the balance in the cultural aspects of mankind by using the past experiences to discern where we have been and consequently navigate with wisdom for the present time and into the future.

Damien Rispoli

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Monroe’s Museum Village, now for several generations, has provided people of all ages a unique window onto our past, and into how our ancestors lived. For example, walk into the weave shop and there we can see how our grandparents’ grandparents spun the yarns and wove the cloth that made their clothing and linens, rugs and coverlets. Or, in the candle shop, we see how the world was illuminated, not so very long ago, before the use of electricity. From blacksmithing to making brooms, technologies are preserved at Museum Village that could easily be forgotten and even disappear completely without these wonderful displays where visitors can enter a bygone era.

And for an even more dramatic perspective, people can glimpse the land we now inhabit in its prehistory. The fossils and minerals extracted from this region tell us about the geological history of the ground we walk on. And we can be reminded that, where we live today, magnificent giants roamed eons ago, like the extraordinary Monroe Mastodon (affectionately known as Harry).

Museum Village offers these and many other invaluable treasures to the thousands of visitors who come year after year to explore the past. In so doing, Museum Village is a treasure in itself that must be preserved.

Tina Kane
Textile Conservator in private practice
Conservator, Textile Conservation, Metropolitan Museum (ret.)
Instructor, Vassar College

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have visited this little museum many times as a child in the 1970s and as a parent over the last decade with my children. I bring my children for the holiday festivals and events. It has great exhibits and wonderful staff.

You will not be dissappointed.

Review from Guidestar