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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

Donor

Rating: 4

Museum Village provides a unique experience to both adults and children. I've enjoyed seeing sugaring, blacksmithing, and weaving demonstrations as well as being fascinated with the amazing collection of antiques displayed in a way that brings you back 100+ years. They have a complete pharmacy, a one room school house, and a building devoted to horse drawn carriages as well as many other amazing exhibits, including one of the best Mastodon specimens in the U.S.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I love the re-enactments of the Civil War! It makes you feel as if you are actually back in that time.

Review from Guidestar

Joan R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Museum Village has been around for many years and has helped to educate thousands of children about how life was in the past. This education is done not only with displays, but also with hands on experiences and live people acting out roles. Schools and many organizations such as the Cub Scouts etc. make annual field trips to the museum. When I was a Assistant Cub Master of Pack 440 we took the Pack to the museum and received very positive feedback from the children. The Civil War enactments are wonderful to experience.The museum is a true treasure to the entire community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love museum village and can't wait to visit this year

Review from Guidestar

Lois P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a teacher who brought my classes to Museum Village for an age appropriate and managable field trip. The students had much to see and also much to do. Their hands were busy as well as their minds. This is a great place to bring kids for an exposure to history that is not overwhelming, but rather is an absorbable presentation. The children loved the hands-on learning and the day built lasting memories.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Museum Village is a particularly nostalgic place to me as to many. I recall going as a kid and being amazed! Going back is like taking a step back through time, I love it when they have the interpreters and I wish they were there more frequently (I believe it is a matter of funding). Overall great place, I love it and do not want to see it go.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Going to Museum Village is like stepping back in time! I love the grounds and buildings and especially LOVE the playhouse!

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Museum Village is a place for young and old. Its setting is that of the late 1800's into the early 1900's. It is an instrument of learning the ways of life that were present during these centuries. Museum Village has a candle shop,drug store,dress emporium,log cabin,one room school house,broom shop,carriage storage,blacksmith,print shop,general store
and much more. It has thousands of artifacts. The children that visit the Museum take their memories with them for a lifetime. Adults are amazed of all the Museum has to offer,and truly enjoy their visit too! We have many events that many especially enjoy. One example Civil War Re-Enactment held each year on Labor Day Weekend. The visitors are able to watch and participate in seeing the North and South in combat,Their costumed in original clothes from that time period they represent. They have settler's who sell to the Re-Enactors
plus visitors attending this two day event. I enjoy this Event as many thousands have through the years.
with

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Museum Village is one of those living history organizations that any community lucky enough to have one, treasures it. It is a place for locals and out-of-towners alike can learn about the history and culture of this area. The educational services to our school children are invaluable.

I am glad to have the Museum Village in my area.

Sincerely,
Neely McCormick

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've lived in the neighborhood of Museum Village for 28 years. They provide a wonderful service to the surrounding elementary schools, providing them with real life experiences of 19th century America.
The playhouse puts on very good theater productions, and I enjoy the annual Labor Day wekend Civil War re-enactments.
Joe Vitanza

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Such a great place. I've been on many trips there and have always felt like the people working cared so much! Definitely recommend it

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love coming to the Civil War reenactment in the summer! It's usually a lovely day out on their lawn, and a very educational experience for children of all ages!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Like stepping back into the past. The exhibits are authentic replications of how people lived in the 1800s. Love the museum too.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

THIS MUSEUM HAS BEEN A CLASS TRIP DESTINATION FROM MY AREA AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. ALWAYS A FUN AND INFORMATIVE TIME.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I enjoy the property of museum village the the support they offer the community. the theater is intimate and welcoming and offers s sense of Community. highly reccomentded.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my young nieces and nephews visited the museum for the first time they spent the afternoon running across the open tree-lined green from building to building. In each display area they were drawn to the unusual objects and historical accounts of what life was like more than one hundred years ago. They were engaged by the crafts they made and saw demonstrated. At the end of the day my 8 year old nephew hugged me and said 'thank you for bringing me to this wonderful place'.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 4

I stopped by on a whim in early summer 2009 and was immediately enchanted by the place. Walked around the green, stopped at the buildings that were opened and just relaxed. There was an even slower pace here than the surrounding rural county and an order of magnitude different from Manhattan where I spent most of my time. Nostalgia played a part, the drug store was just like Doc Brown's place in Port Jefferson when I went to elementary school there. My Grandfather had been a blacksmith in Brooklyn back in the late 1800s, and while I never saw his place, the Blacksmith shop in the village just resonated for some reason. As I wandered around I saw the extent of the collection, somewhat eclectic and not well exhibited but a treasure trove of rural blue collar life in the post civil war 19th Century in the Hudson River Valley. This was not about the people and mansions of the period, rather it presented the everyday tools and life events of just plain folks.

After these initial impressions passed, I began to see the real state of maintenance. The place needed work and obviously, funding to support it. My immediate thought was that it would be a shame to lose something like this and I wished that someone would do something about it. A few weeks later the Village came up while speaking to a friend from the local Chamber of Commerce and he suggested that maybe I should consider joining the board and become one of the people who were trying to do something about it. He felt my background would be an asset.

I did offer my service to the board and became part of a group that is making real progress to move Museum Village back to being a mainstream historical museum and venue. There is an old saying to the effect that when the Gods want to punish us, they grant our wishes. The problems faced by the Village were bigger than I thought but definitely solvable. As a board member I learned how much effort was already going on to identify and preserve the collection. In fact the scope of the collection turned out to be huge and as the ongoing inventory is moving along, they are still discovering things that had been inadvertently hidden away.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a child I went on field trips to Museum Village, learning about and taking part in activities that were held their once upon a time. I remember it to be fun and very kid friendly as well as entertaining to all the chaperons. Not only did we view demonstrations, but we took part in them. Schools are still taking trips there yearly and the opportunity to experience Museum Village should be experienced by every child and adult even. Not only did I enjoy it when I was a child, but I enjoyed it attending a beautiful wedding there in September 2010. The historical feel of the surrounding made the wedding oh so memorable. I would recommend anyone to have family events there.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a great place! There is so much to see and experience. It is very interesting to see the real things (clothing, tools, products) from the past and they are quite well maintained. The setting is beautiful. The animals are nice, too. I am definately looking forward to going here again.

Review from Guidestar

Alex T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This past September 2010, I had the wonderful opportunity to host my Wedding Reception at Museum Village. Not only was the museum and grounds the talk of my family and friends for months thereafter but, it was a great chance to give my guests a bit of history as we created our own that day.
My husband and I enjoy the museum as our own special little grandma's closet with old goodies and special stories. And as a creative gesture we decided to pass the gift of Museum Village to our dearest on our Wedding Day. Needless to say the Museum brought a distinguished atmosphere to our reception as well as interesting conversation among guests as they were allowed to tour a few buildings before our reception began. The children who also attended the reception were glowing and enamored by the farm animals, old cottage and school house.
For a wedding reception, I believe we hit a home run having it at the Museum. The staff, the atmosphere, the history not only touched my husband and I on an emotional level, but it was a unique and equally touching experience for our guests.
I am honored to say I've grown up in the town of Monroe where I was always around the corner from amazing pieces of American History. I am glad I've found Museum Village, it will be a treasure to share with our family and children for years to come.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first visited Museum Village when I was 8 - that was a long time ago. I was fascinated then by the log cabin and the school house, items that I could relate to in my day to day life. And today, as an adult ,I find items that fascinate me in the Pharmacy and the Carraige House. Not to mention the Mastodon, which is older than me! This museum is a gem located in Orange County, NY not far from the Woodbury Commons Shopping Plaza. Perfect for a day away from the hustle of the shopping crowds or for a day in the country. The historic buildings and displays at Museum Village of Monroe create a sense of pride in our country's history. Recommended for children and adults.

Review from Guidestar

Jeffrey A.

Board Member

Rating: 5

For more than sixty years, this Museum has served to educate hundreds of thousands of young people about the history of the Lower Hudson Valley from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century.
There is now substantial progress being made at the Museum as a new Board, General Manger and Museum Director along with a dedicated staff and volunteers seek to improve the Museum and its message. With the recent addition of a prestigious grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Science, the Museum has begun to inventory and record it artifacts for the use of future generations.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

The reaction to visiting Museum Village is typically one of either nostalgia or surprise - and often both. Many are among the hundreds of thousands of people who visited the museum on an elementary school field trip - some dating back forty or fifty years ago - or more. Others express complete surprise that such an extraordinary museum exists so nearby - and wonder why they have never been to visit before. Those who visit the area for the first time and find their way to Museum Village are treated to a And even those who return are struck by the strides taken by staff, volunteers and trustees to make Museum Village an authentic educational experience and wondrous place to explore the many buildings and exhibits that take us back to rural life in the late 19th century - or simply take in the beauty of the Village Green and the surrounds.

There are many surprises to uncover, from steam machines and transitional technologies that led life in the lower Hudson Valley into the modern era, to live interpreters in costume bringing life to the extraordinary collection of artifacts, to watching volunteers do collection work thanks to the national grant awarded by the prestigious Institute for Museum and Library Sciences, to the Harriman Mastodon, one the very few complete skeletal specimens in the world. For kids visiting the Museum, the experience tends to be jaw-dropping!

A great place for young, old, young at heart and everything in between.

Review from Guidestar