Laura Days at GCVM

Although it’s been on my Life Goals list for a long time to visit the Genesee Country Village and Museum, even before they started their Laura Ingalls Wilder event, but I’ve never made it yet. It been going for awhile though and this year there was enough of a report that I wanted to pass it along. Also note it is CountRy not County, that confuses some people when they are searching for it online.

The Host Site for the Event

First off, the museum focuses on living history and depicts time periods from 1795 to 1920. It has a relatively good reputation as a living history site, and as I said before I think it’s well worth visiting even if the event isn’t going on. I originally had thought it was closer to Malone than it was and hoped to incorporate it on a stop there, but it’s really quite a distance away from Malone. It’s in lower jut out section of the New York western boundary and Malone is near the top of the point near the northern boundary. So I didn’t get there on my Malone trip, although I think you could plan for it if you were willing to add another day to your trip.
https://www.gcv.org

Reports of the Day

Schedule of Events:
https://www.gcv.org/Portals/0/pdf/Laura%20Ingalls%20Wilder%20Days%20Program%20Schedule.pdf

There’s also a report on the food demonstration:
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20130805/LIVING/308050027/1032

Reports from Twitter

Some people who got to go shared comments and photos on Twitter. Find the text and links to them below.

Jolene@GGJolene 18h
Sing a long at the Laura Ingalls Wilder days! @ Genesee Country Museum http://instagram.com/p/cmzPmhPVOT/

Steam Patriots@SteamPatriots 18h
A beautiful Laura Ingalls Wilder day at @GCVMuseum. 19th century living museum. #History pic.twitter.com/tvM8qSiCNK

Brittany Bassett@brittanynoell 18h
An absolutely WONDERFUL day with my family at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Days at the GCV!! Plus, I made this doll. pic.twitter.com/eVsfd9GurB

Tiffical@tiffanybaskett 18h
A beautiful day for a Laura Ingalls Wilder festival! I met the lovely and hilarious Alison Arngrim and… http://instagram.com/p/cmwZFUTaST/

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trundlebedtales

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

One thought on “Laura Days at GCVM”

  1. GCV&M is always a great place to visit, and their Laura Days are particularly popular every year. Alison Arngrim made her second visit to the event (first in 2008) and was once a gain am uproarious hit with the crowd. Unfortunately, the published daily schedule does not do justice to the wide variety of activities which were offered all day both days. My first-person history presentation at 11 am was the first formal program of the day. The village square was the scene, and it was well-attended (Sunday there were over 200 guests seated just for me!). Once the audience was comfortable with using a microphone to ask their questions, it brought out a lot of intriguing inquiries from the audience, including a few moments wherein some visitors were visibly shocked to learn differences between characters on television and the real people and events in Laura and Almanzo’s life. As is often the case, some were quite surprised that Mary never wed nor had any children, and that the Ingalls family did not adopt any orphans.
    At noon, the place got really crowded for Alison Arngrim’s hilarious and informative presentation/Q&A. Always the generous guest, she did not hesitate to answer anything asked, and kept everyone in stitches.
    Alison always does a nice job of explaining the origins of her character in the books, and is clearly well-versed on many of the political and social implications of the Homestead Act!

    In the afternoon, crowds lined up to meet Alison, get her autograph (the village SOLD OUT their inventory of her book) and pose for pictures with her. My program from 1-3:30 was a more informal meet/q&a at the 1870 Hamilton House in the village, where visitors who were too shy to use the microphone in front of a large crowd earlier in the day could participate in discussion about LIW, her family and friends, the Books, the TV show, the clothing, or anything else on their minds. We explored some artifacts, discussed clothing specifics, and Laura’s writing career as well as any number of relevant topics. Visitors were welcome to take photos and stay for a visit.

    Meanwhile, throughout the village, there were all sorts of LIW-related activities. Visitors could make a tin ornament, a cloth Charlotte or Farmer Boy doll (I was told they nearly ran out of boy doll clothes in the project room by the end of Sunday), or churn butter. There was a game where people wore a blindfold and had to identify and count coins just as a blind person would. The Rochester Book Club explored the food of Farmer Boy, including apples ‘n onions, and there were oxen demonstrations, stage coach rides, vintage base ball and of course, the ever-popular Laura, Almanzo, and Friends lookalike contest for children! Many of GCV&M’s interpretive staff were dressed in period fashions ranging over most of the 19th Century, and the village was bustling during the entirety of the weekend.
    Of interest to many would be the museum’s Susan Greene collection. A permanent exhibit, this collection features hundreds of beautifully-preserved clothing items and accessories from the late 18th Century through the end of the 19th Century. Although there is a concentration upon Civil War-era clothing, the number of earlier and later pieces, and unusual items such as an extensive number and variety of women’s stockings and children’s shoes, is particularly noteworthy. The collection is well-documented and most items have true provenance. All are stored in archival cases which feature huge slide-out drawers so the visitor can see small items in great detail. The multimillion-dollar long-term investment in this gallery was well worth it; the museum has made a spectacular presentation.

    One last thing: although Malone is several hours away, albeit through some gorgeous country, any LIW fan who doesn’t have time to get to Malone and back would be delighted to know that Genesee Country Village & Museum is only about an hour and a half distant from Charles Ingalls’ birthplace in Cuba, NY!

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