About Us

History

Founded in 1883,  the  Geneva Historical Society received a provisional charter in 1905 and a permanent charter from the New York State Department of Education fifty-two years later.  The Historical Society  first established a museum in 1942 and moved its location several times.  A permanent location was acquired in 1960 when Beverly and Edith Chew deeded their home at 543 South Main Street to the Historical Society. Since then, the Prouty-Chew House has served as our offices and as the Geneva History Museum .  The expansion of our exhibits and public programs called for the addition of a wing to the rear of the house in 1965. This addition, known as the Hucker Gallery, provides exhibit  and program space, collections storage, and an archival vault.

Considered one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the United States, Rose Hill Mansion was once a working farm.  In 1965, Rose Hill Mansion was purchased for the Historical Society by Waldo Hutchins, Jr. in honor of his mother, Agnes Swan who was born and raised at Rose Hill. Through the generosity of Mr. Hutchins, the mansion was restored, and opened to the public in 1968. In 1987 Rose Hill Mansion was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The John Johnston House (c. 1820s) was purchased in 1990 as part of the Rose Hill complex.  Johnston was a Scottish immigrant who revolutionized American agriculture by being the first farmer in the United States to use drain tiles, and by being a vocal advocate for improved farming methods.  In 1993 the restored farm house opened as an historic house museum.  The property also includes the Mike Weaver Drain Tile Museum.   Built and opened in 1999 the Drain Tile Museum displays a collection of drain tiles donated to Historic Geneva by Mike Weaver, a civil engineer who researched and wrote about the history of tile drainage and Johnston’s connection to it. The collection represents 2,000 years of drainage history.

In 2021 the Historical Society created a new public identity for itself as Historic Geneva, which operates as the institutional public presence under the auspices and legal oversight of the Historical Society.

Mission

The Historic Geneva  is dedicated to engaging diverse audiences in an on-going dialogue about the shared heritage of Geneva, New York and its environs.

To achieve its mission, Historic Geneva:

  • Collects, catalogs, preserves, and studies artifacts which provide a visual and tangible connection to Geneva’s past
  • Uses traditional and digital media such as exhibits, programs, publications, blogs and online platforms to stimulate an interest in history and Geneva’s people, places, and things.
  • Develops collaborative relationships with community organizations and businesses to expand the community’s access to its past and assist in shaping its future
  • Administers its historic properties to meet the educational and interpretive goals of the Society, offer leisure time activities for community members and visitors, and support Geneva as a destination city
  • Provides resources to promote preservation of structures and landscapes in order to advance economic development and to instill pride in Geneva’s diverse architecture

Vision

By actively connecting Geneva’s past and present, Historic Geneva is an integral part of the community.

Values

  • Excellence
  • Service
  • Collaboration
  • Inclusion
  • Stewardship
  • Discovery
  • Accountability

2020 Annual Report

2019 Annual Report