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Current Exhibits

South Gallery

Fibers of Our Lives: From Practical Craft to Decorative Art

For thousands of years, humans have used natural fibers, such as flax, wool, cotton, and silk, to produce everyday practical items and to create stunning decorative art. The earliest Anglo-European settlers of Ontario County in 1789, grew and processed flax for linen, and raised sheep for wool. From these, they spun yarn and thread, and wove fabric. Mills for carding, fulling, spinning, weaving, and dyeing quickly sprang up, shifting production away from the home. By as early as 1810, dry goods stores in both the villages of Canandaigua and Geneva offered a wide variety of imported fabrics and goods for clothing and household needs.

While hand sewing and fine needlework continued into the 20th century, the introduction of the sewing machine in about 1860 dramatically changed the speed and quantity of clothing and other items produced in the home and in retail settings. By the beginning of the 20th century, manufactured clothing and household items were available for purchase in local Ontario County stores and through catalogs.

On exhibit are early spinning wheels and wool winders, handmade linens and clothing, 19th century sewing machines, lace, embroidery, knit and crocheted items, and quilts and coverlets. Please stop by the OCHS museum to enjoy and marvel at the stunning items made and/or used by past residents of our county! You can also try your hand at weaving or creating a quilt square!

This exhibit will be open until April 2023.

North Gallery

Wearables and Accessories

The Ontario County Arts Council is ending the year with a colorful exhibit of unique wearables and accessories that are handmade and many upcycled. Upcycling is a process of reusing items, such as table cloths, jeans, shirts, and comin up with something entirely new. Stop in, get inspired, and create!

Ontario County Arts Council

The Ontario Arts Council presents “Colors of Our World” in the front North Gallery.

Thank you to our exhibit sponsors:

North-West Gallery

The Little Beaded Purse

Purse, bag, pocketbook, this fashion accessory has been in use by both men and women since the Middle Ages. Like today, purses were used to carry the essentials such as money, keys, handkerchiefs, make-up, writing materials, and other personal items. Why not add a bit of bling to your purse with colorful beads and designs?
Beaded purses, with their bright colors and intricate patterns, have long been cherished by their makers and owners. With the look and feel of a jeweled surface and the flexibility of fabric, they are works of art, statements of personal taste, and status symbols.

This exhibit will be up through the winter months.



Lower Level

Pioneer Kitchen Exhibit

When the Ontario County Historical Museum was built in 1914, a “Pioneer Kitchen” period room was installed. Although education programs are held in this space, its appearance has changed very little in 100 years.

NewW - Exhibits PioneerKitchen1