Museums in Batavia

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Men in heavy aprons hammer iron inside smoky wooden stores, and women in bonnets mingle in front of inns and churches. An octagonal house's shingled roof and windowed cupola soak up the sun as they've done since the 1870s. Genesee Country Village & Museum and its historical interpreters immerse visitors in the daily life of a 19th-century village. Interpreters may discuss the lives of their characters or participate in up to a dozen live demonstrations of old-fashioned trades such as pottery throwing and blacksmithing. They travel among more than 68 historical buildings such as farmsteads, a brewery, a printing office, and a one-room schoolhouse. In the kitchens of many of these buildings, staffers cook historical meals suited to each building's time and its owner's socioeconomic status; visitors can sample the food during tastings and hands-on classes.

The village’s newly renovated Wehle Gallery encompasses four centuries of wildlife and sporting art by American artists. An old carriage and oil paintings share space with early sculpture castings and pieces from the Taos art colony. Other rooms contain interpretive exhibits on 19th-century life, such as a Lincoln Log room filled with craft activities. Inside other buildings, adults and children can take part in indoor classes in textiles, cooking, and foreign languages; outside, a network of nature trails leads visitors through natural fields, woodlands, and wetlands.

1410 Flint Hill Rd
Mumford,
NY
US

The JELL-O Gallery celebrates Jell-O's 100-year history with exhibits on how Jell-O has influenced popular culture and adopted famous personalities, including Bill Cosby and Lucille Ball. After exploring the museum, guests can peruse the gift shop for postcards and T-shirts to express their enthusiasm for Jell-O.

23 E Main St
Le Roy,
NY
US

In 1872, Susan B. Anthony performed a courageous act. She voted, determined to prove that the 14th and 15th Amendments gave women the legal right to vote. The immediate result wasn't encouraging, though—a US marshal arrested her in her parlor, and then a federal judge fined her $100. But despite the resistance, Anthony's volition continued to inspire the suffrage movement, not to mention the abolitionist movement and the fight for equal educational opportunities for women.

More than a century later, the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House educates visitors on her life—from the many relationships that impacted her thinking, such as her friendship with slave-turned-abolitionist Frederick Douglass, to her acts of civil disobedience, such as refusing to pay the $100 fine for voting. The home, where Anthony lived from 1866 to 1906 in what were arguably her most politically active years, has undergone extensive restoration to look as it did when Anthony lived there. This ongoing effort has breathed new life into everything from the third-floor workspace, to the house’s foundation, to Anthony’s basement kickboxing gym. Designated a National Historic Landmark, the home welcomes guests for both self-guided visits and tours with tea and lunch.

17 Madison St
Rochester,
NY
US

The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum gives visitors a view of the inner workings of a company whose products became part of the American amusement landscape throughout much of the twentieth century. A network of seven different interconnected structures, the museum occupies the production facilities of the Allan Herschell Company, the carrousel cartel credited with thawing icy relations between humans and horses. Examine exhibits such as the Lockman Collection, an assemblage of 20 different hand-carved creatures that illustrates the stylistic evolution of carrousel animals, and the Wurlitzer Music Roll Shop, showcasing manufacturing equipment and more than 1,600 hand-punched music rolls designed to coax wooden beasts from their lumber slumber. Admission to the museum includes a complimentary ride on one of two on-site carrousels: a 1940s-era aluminum ride equipped with miniature mounts for kids only, and a carrousel sporting 36 adult-sized steeds that dates to 1916, the year it was discovered that horses aren't poisonous.

180 Thompson St
North Tonawanda,
NY
US

Contra-rotating blades once powered by a Porsche engine sit peacefully on a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter. Nearby, a World War II seafaring destroyer with nine battle stars to its name takes its place among tanks such as the 22.3-ton tank that served in the Korean Conflict. Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park's curators have amassed many such machines designed for––and veterans of––combat. Their numerous exhibits feature relics such as the only guided-missile cruiser on display in America. The role women have played in the military earns its own exhibit, as does memorabilia of former POWs and a collection of favorite cobbler recipes from WWII to present-day generals.

1 Naval Park Cave
Buffalo,
NY
US

What does it feel like to be caught in a tornado? How big were mastodons? How do engineers test automobile designs? All of these questions and more are answered at the Buffalo Museum of Science, where families can explore paleontology, biology, astronomy, and archaeology?and that's before you factor in rotating exhibits on fields such as robotics or entomology.

The discoveries continue beyond the museum walls. Buffalo Museum of Science also operates the Tifft Nature Preserve, a 264-acre wetland preserve in South Buffalo, and sponsors on-location events to expose students of all ages to immersive science education.

1020 Humboldt Pkwy
Buffalo,
NY
US