MICHAEL JOHNSON/Livingston County News
The new county museum exhibit examines the effect of human settlement on the local landscape.
Livingston County Museum
County museum launches ‘Always About the Land’
A new exhibit entitled ‘Always about the Land’ opens May 1 at the Livingston County Museum, 30 Center Street in Geneseo.
Anna Kowalchuk, Livingston County Historical Society Museum Administrator, said the exhibit portrays the importance of the land, from pre-European times to the present day, and how the inhabitants of Livingston County have changed with the land.
Nine artifacts were selected to symbolize different eras in time. The earliest and most visible, suspended over the entire exhibit, is a replica bark canoe of a kind used by the Iroquois.
Pioneer culture is represented by a ‘grain cradle,’ a tool used to manually harvest wheat. Early transportation takes the form of a posted timetable for packet boats on the Genesee Valley Canal, showing the stops from Rochester to Woodville including the Canaseraga Valley branch of the canal circa 1844.
The canal to Nunda and south to Portville was apparently not yet in operation. Stage coach connections from Mount Morris to Nunda and Angelica are indicated.
Pioneer transportation is also represented by a quarried Grimsby sandstone highway mile post showing “Geneseo, 3 miles.” The stone marker is contrasted by a contemporary I-390 mile marker with an explanation of what the mysterious collection of numbers mean.
(Top row is the route 360I; middle row is 4 for DOT region number, 2 code number for Livingston County, 02 denoting the second county which I-390 passes through; bottom row is tenths of mile from the southern county line starting from 1,000, so 1,300 means 30 miles from the county line.)
Three other displays show uses of the land: a circa 1940 salt miner’s cap with carbide lamp and a chunk of rock salt; W.P. Wadsworth’s riding cap representing the Genesee Valley Hunt; and a map indicating Genesee Valley Conservancy lands in the county.
The large mural covering the room’s northwest corner is a collage of Valley scenes from different times: the Five Arch Bridge, waterfalls, salt mine, balloon rally, an Iroquois paddling a canoe, a flock of sheep, the Big Tree, a dairy farm, the Genesee Valley Hunt, a vineyard, historic aircraft, and horse with buggy.
Visitors of all ages are expected, but the exhibit is particularly assembled with fourth grade school classes in mind.
The land exhibit is meant to be long term and accompany the early schoolroom exhibit in the opposite corner of the room, representing the schoolhouse legacy of the museum building. Rotating exhibits will inform other parts of the room.