May 18, 2015

A Week of Time Travels

May 9th, two Saturdays ago, marked the opening weekend of the 2015 season at the Genesee Country Village & Museum!  And since then, it's been busy, busy, busy for us interpreters with school groups, getting acquainted with new buildings, and the first two Hosmer dinners of the season.

One of the best perks of the job, and by far my favorite, is getting dressed up in the period appropriate clothing.  Not only does it add to the overall historical illusion and museum's authentic experience for the visitors, but for the employees as well.  In fact, donning my "costume" for the day truly allows me to place myself into the living history as a participant, and I feel an alive, living connection with those of the past.  And, let's face it, who doesn't like to play dress up?

So, where in time and fashion has the past week taken me?  For sure, since opening it has been quite the journey from the empire waists of the 1810s and 20s, to the gigot sleeves of the 30s, to the bell of starched petticoats in the pre-hoop 1850s, and then, back to the 1830s again.  And, lucky for me, the time travels will continue every week for the rest of the season!

Sunday, May 10th:  Mother's day & the second day of the opening weekend celebration.  I spent most of the day playing outdoor 19th century games (stilts, graces, hoop &stick, etc.) with children at Thomson's Tavern & was super excited to be the 1820s model for the annual mother's day fashion show!

I am obsessed & in love with this dress!!  It is just the most beautiful shade of green and the entire outfit screams spring!  Bevin, who makes most of the fashion show pretties, did a phenomenal job, as usual, on the dress!!

You may recognized the original dress inspiration as below: 

Dress c.1818
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Parading on the carriage barn walkway: 

Look at all of those ruffles!

The entire timeline of fashions from 1770 to 1910:

Accessories included a red silk belt, yellow gloves, a purple silk reticule & best of all, a fabulous 20s poke bonnet made by Anna Worden Bauersmith!  (You can read more about the bonnet here on her blog:

Tuesday, May 12th:  My first day in the little red school house with three focus field groups of 25 kindergartners each!  We had a whole lot of fun with comparing and contrasting & a dramatic retelling of "The Lion and the Mouse," as a way to demonstrate how stories were an effective way of teaching students literary and morals.

A borrowed dress with a small train, worn over a mid-century chemise and strapped petticoat that are both in need of replacing.  

Accessories include a borrowed cap, re-fashioned half apron and large silk neckerchief featuring my first attempt at teeny-tiny rolled hems!   

Wednesday, May 13th:  For the time being, I am not assigned to a building and spending Wednesdays in the costume shop - still plugging away at the fairy queen's costume...I scheduled a fitting with the fairy queen, herself, and the corset & stomacher that I was concerned about, fit perfectly!  

Later in June, I will be adding the 1830s Foster-Tufts House & 1850s George Eastman's Boyhood Home (quilting demonstration) to my list of Wednesday travels.  

Thursday, May 14th:  I returned to the 1855 Romulus Female Seminary for the first time this season!  (Unfortunately, no pictures in my 1850s "seminary" dress, same as last year's.  However, I did have the pleasure of meeting the new seminarian this weekend who said that she found my article on the seminary helpful.  Totally made the day to hear that my ramblings are actually useful! ;)

Friday, May 15th:  There were 900 students in the village today!  I spent the day helping a friend with school groups and playing games at the Thomson Activity Barn for focused field studies.

Modeling the height of the gigot sleeve.

For any 1830s building or activity thus far, I have worn a borrowed 1830s dress with very poofy sleeve puffs and belt with a mother of pearl buckle.  At some point, I would really like to make my own 1830s day dress and corded petticoat.  

Best of all are the 1830s poke bonnets we get to wear in the village!  My favorite are the "Parthenia" style stove pipe poke bonnets from Timely Tresses!  For games this week, I have borrowed both the silk and the straw bonnets below: 

Foster-Tufts' Bonnet.
(Image via:

Thomson Tavern's Bonnet.
(Image via:

Saturday, May 16th:  Served at my first Hosmer dinner, a four-course meal and first-person experience at the Inn!  This year, we are featuring a tribute to Jane Austen with a menu taken from Martha Lloyd's cookbook (relative of Jane and lived with the Austens) and described in the novels themselves.  I played Mrs. Hosmer's sister, Mrs. MacKay, for the night and gave the hour long, candlelit tour of the village.  Our very special guests for the night were part of the Janeites, Rochester chapter of The Jane Austen Society of North America, and even entertained us with a dance demonstration in the upstairs ballroom.  Clean up lasted until 11:30 p.m., but, the dinner was so much fun and I am looking forward to playing the Hostess at the next few!

We can do it!

Sunday, May 17th:  Round-robin and back at Thomson Tavern for indoor and outdoor 19th century games!  (For the season, I am scheduled for games Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays & holiday Mondays.)  I had children and adults alike competing in hoop and stick races, graces circles and challenging brain puzzles - 'twas much fun!

I will end today by saying again that I am so excited to have the chance to work another season at the Genesee Country Museum!  Hope to see you all there sometime this summer & make sure to stop by and say "hi" when you visit!


  1. you look lovely in every time period! but i especially love the green dress :D how fun!!

  2. Wow! these dresses are amazing!! What a wonderful time you must have working and wearing these gorgeous outfits! I agree with Samantha, every single period seems to suit you so well!

    1. Thank you, Jill!! Dressing up is always so much fun! :)

  3. Oh my gasp!!!! I am in LOVE with your green dress! It is so magnificent! I am literally drooling....the 1830s dress also makes me pretty happy...You have done such a fabulous job on all three of these outfits!

    1. Many, many thanks, Gina! You always write the kindest comments :)