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NY Living Museums

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Geography is not an indoor sport! Get out and explore New York State!


Physical Geography

Human Geography

Economic Geography

Regions of NYS

Bronx Zoo

3. Jungle World is one of the prize sections of the Bronx Zoo. The artificial rainforest seems almost real.

Tenement Museum

4. The Lower Eastside Tenement Museum recreates life for several immigrant families in early-20th century New York City.

Farmers Museum
6. The Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown recreates life in New York's Homespun Era.


Fort Ontario

8. Fort Ontario in Oswego chronicles history from the 1600s to modern times.


9. The Longhouse at Ganondagan State Historic Park. In the 1660s, this was the of a Seneca village of 3000 people.

Glass Blower

11. Glass Blower at the Corning Glass Center. Skilled craftspeople in Corning keep the craft of glass-blowing alive.

Drum Corps

12. Drummers demonstrate very intricate skills at Fort Ticonderoga. They also do cannon-firings and flag ceremonies.
Lake Champlain is in the background.


It's a GREAT Time to Visit


New York State:

You can't make a mistake in the Empire State!

Besides having some great historic sites where important events took place, New York also has museums and institutes that have the mission to get history live. Visitors are encouraged to actively participate in demonstrations and workshops. Many of these places have great programs for children as well as for adults.
Below are our nominees for the best Living Museums in New York State:

Living Museums Map

Here is a short description of each of the twelve best musems of living history
 in New York State:

1. Old Bethpage Village Restoration: One genre of living museums is the recreated village of centuries past. Old Bethpage is a reconstructed village that recreates life in the 19th century from a Long Island perspective. Some of the buildings, however, date to the 1700s. There are costumed guides that provide you with information about the challenge of work in rural America. It's not all work in the Village; old time baseball is a very popular event there, too. (Visit the village online at

2. Philipsburg Manor: This Dutch estate in Sleepy Hollow was the home of the Philpse family. Not only do they interpret Dutch colonial life, but they also emphasize the lives of enslaved Africans who lived and toiled on that manor for over a century. A special time to visit Philipsburg is at Pinkster (Pentacost) in mid-May. This holiday was especially popular with the African-Americans, and they demonstrate the traditions and entertainment found on Dutch manors of that period.

3. The New York Zoological Park: More popularly known at the “Bronx Zoo,” it is much more than a collection of exotic animals. The society is in the forefront of conserving wildlife around the world. There are many opportunities to see special demonstrations of endangered species, and workshops for educational groups.

4. Lower East Side Tenement Museum: In a restored tenement on Orchard Street, not far from the Williamsburg Bridge stands a living museum for immigrant families of several different cultures who actually lived there in the early-20th century. When you tour the building, you will a sense of how they lived in these very crowded conditions. It is a great complement to Ellis Island. (Their official website is ).

5. Hugenot Street: This New Paltz neighborhood features the oldest continuously inhabited street in the country. This gives the visitor the opportunity to learn how these French Protestant families made their livings through many different generations. The tour includes four different homes, and the guides are very knowledgeable.

6. Farmers’ Museum: This is one of the nation’s oldest museums devoted to early life in America. It is located just north of Cooperstown. Here you will find exhibits on the Homespun Era of New York. The Village Green houses many authentic buildings with craftspeople demonstrating their skills. (See the Mohawk Valley Trail for more information about Cooperstown).

7. Erie Canal Museum: This little village outside Rome stands at the site where the Erie Canal was born in 1817. The original Clinton’s Ditch runs through the museum grounds. You can visit many homes and shops in the village, and you can take a packet boat ride pulled by horses on the old canal. (See the Mohawk Valley Trail for more information).

8. Fort Ontario: This old fortress overlooks the mouth of the Oswego River on the shores of Lake Ontario. In the summer season there are activities going on in the fort, including the firing of cannons. It is a great place to learn about frontier life during the French and Indian and the Revolutionary Wars. (Photo below).
9. Ganondagan State Historic Park: This is the only park in the state devoted primarily to the history of Native Americans. It stands on the site of a 17th century Seneca village just south of Victor in Ontario County. You can visit an authentic longhouse, where native guides will explain daily life of the Seneca people. The best time to visit is during special events, such as the Green Corn Festival and Pow-Wows. (Ganondagan is a stop on the Genesee Valley Trail).

10. Genesee Country Village and Museum: This is another outstanding 19th century village recreated from homes and buildings moved in from all over the Genesee Valley. There are always demonstrations going on in village, and visitors can participate in many activities. They even have a summer program for school children.

11. Corning Glass Center: This is primarily a museum devoted to the history of glass since early times. However, the highlight of the visit is the demonstrations on making glass sculptures by very talented craftspeople. It is located just outside the city of Corning in the Southern Tier.

12. Fort Ticonderoga: Located on the shores of Lake Champlain, this venerable fortress guarded New York State from invasions from Canada for about a century. You must likely will see French, British, Patriot, and Native American reenactors doing demonstrations, such as marching drills, cannon-firings, and flag-lowering ceremonies. 

Great places to go to see New York Geography up close and personal. 

Click on the links below!

Best of NY
Road Trips
Scenic Views
History Logo
Short Walks
Best of NY
Road Trips
Scenic Views
Historic NY
Cultural Gems
Short Walks

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