Past Exhibits

Missed one of our recent exhibits? View pdfs of some of our exhibits below.

  • All Things Geneva: Items from the Clothing Collection

    For our 2020 exhibits, we are highlighting items from our collection of clothing. All Things Geneva: Items from the Clothing Collection examines Geneva clothing. Pieces in the exhibit are connected to Geneva events, made in Geneva, or sold in Geneva. From dresses made by local seamstresses in the late 1800s and early 1900s to a large collection of t-shirts from non-profits, sports teams and special More »
  • Statesmen, Herons & Lakers: College Sports in Geneva

    Statesmen, Herons and Lakers: College Sports in Geneva looks at the development of sports teams at Geneva’s three colleges: Hobart, William Smith, and Finger Lakes Community College. The exhibit examines how athletics became a part of the college experience in the 1800s. It includes sections on the sports programs at each of the institutions, on the sports each school is best known for, and the More »
  • Come Out and Play: Sports and Recreation in Geneva

    Come Out and Play: Sports and Recreation in Geneva looks at how sports and athletic participation have changed and developed over time in the city. From early spectator sports to semi-pro teams, athletic pursuits have been part of the Geneva community since its early days. In the 1800s, Genevans turned out to watch baseball, harness racing and walking competitions. Sailing, swimming, and fishing were natural More »
  • 2019 Geneva City School District Art Show

    The 2019 Geneva City School District Student Art Show will be on display at the Geneva History Museum from Saturday, May 4 to May 25. The show includes works by students at West and North Street Elementary Schools, Geneva Middle School, and Geneva High School.
  • Panthers & Saints: High School Sports in Geneva

    Panthers & Saints: High School Sports in Geneva traces the evolution of school sports from recess games to team sports. Organized sports teams began in Geneva schools in the 1890s. Over the years, Geneva High School and DeSales High School (1912-2012) have offered various athletic programs for boys and girls. The exhibit reviews the early history of organized competition, the emergence of girls teams, and More »
  • Growing Up in Geneva

    Growing Up in Geneva is our second crowd-sourced exhibit. Respondents to a survey distributed on our Facebook page and our email list chose the topic. The topic choices were: Growing up in Geneva, Crafts and Hobbies, Coming Home (military personnel returning home), Drinking in Geneva (locally-made beverages), and Celebrities in Geneva. The clear winner was Growing Up in Geneva. The Growing Up in Geneva exhibit More »
  • Dove’s Geneva

    The exhibit Dove’s Geneva focuses on artist Arthur Dove’s connection to Geneva. Dove (1880-1846) was America’s first modernist painter. He grew up in Geneva in a family of stonemasons. Dove moved to New York City and became an illustrator after attending Hobart College and Cornell University. He is known for the abstract paintings he began creating in the 1910s. Dove also lived in Geneva from More »
  • A Changing World: Geneva and World War I

    This November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  To mark this anniversary and look back at Geneva’s participation in the war to end all wars, the Historical Society has opened the exhibit, A Changing World: Geneva and World War I.  The exhibit examines the war’s outbreak, Geneva before the war, the mustering of Company B, life on the homefront, More »
  • 2018 Geneva City School District Art Show

    The 2018 Geneva City School District Student Art Show will be on display at the Geneva History Museum from Saturday, April 28 to May 26. The show includes works by students at West and North Street Elementary Schools, Geneva Middle School, and Geneva High School. Artwork by Sonayah Figueroa.
  • Medicine and Illness: Health Care in Geneva

    Medicine and Illness examines how health care in Geneva has changed from the 1790s to the present. It looks at how Geneva’s medical professionals and institutions have shaped the community, and how chronic and epidemic disease impacted its residents in the past. The exhibit features items from the Geneva Historical Society collection including early reports on Geneva General Hospital, medical paraphernalia, and a Japanese manga book More »
  • Tell Me a Story

    Come view our latest crowdsourced exhibit! Fans of our Facebook Page have provided the creative (and fictional) captions for photos from our collection. Enjoy their wit, humor, and imagination as they reinterpret some historic images of our community (October – December 2017).
  • Stuff: A Material History of Geneva

    Stuff: A Material History of Geneva features twenty-five objects chosen from a group of fifty shared on our Geneva Historical Society Facebook page this past spring. The artifacts (or groups of artifacts) that made it into the exhibit were those with the most Likes from visitors to the social media platform, and the exhibit captions are drawn from our Facebook fans’ comments. If you didn’t More »
  • Every Building Tells a Story: Architecture in Geneva

    Every Building Tells a Story: Architecture in Geneva looks at how Geneva’s buildings tell stories about neighborhood development, historic preservation, and architectural style. Who were the well-known architects working in the community? How have older buildings been preserved and reused? What architectural styles can be found in the city’s streets and neighborhoods? Who built and lived in the different buildings throughout the community? Discover Geneva’s More »
  • “Good Results Have Followed”: the Women’s Rights Movement in Geneva 1848-2017

    The long journey to universal suffrage traveled through towns across the United States but Geneva was more than an average town. Well-connected social reformers made the city a center of woman suffrage activity for Ontario County and the region. “Good Results Have Followed”: the Women’s Rights Movement in Geneva 1848-2017 examines the work of local activists like Elizabeth Smith Miller and Anne Fitzhugh Miller and More »
  • Two Genevas: Town and City

    How is it that there are two Genevas? A town and a city? Why is such a small community a city? This exhibit explores these questions and the history of Geneva government. It examines how the “Two Genevas” came to be, how they have grown and evolved, and what the future may hold for these two intertwined communities (June 2016 to April 2017). Two Genevas More »
  • Music in the Key of Geneva

    The Geneva Historical Society’s latest exhibit project, Music in the Key of Geneva, will be found in various public venues and events over the course of 2016 and 2017. This project is both an exhibit and an effort to document and share the musical heritage of the community. From international stars who have performed at Club 86 and the Smith Opera House to locals who More »
  • Support Your Candidate: Political Memorabilia

    For most of the United States’ 240-year history, candidates for local and national office have used all sorts of objects, images, and symbols to promote their ideas and plans for governing. To mark the 2016 election year, the Geneva Historical Society has on display this exhibit of political memorabilia and ephemera. Included in the exhibit are buttons, fliers, signs and photographs marking the campaigns of More »
  • Imagemakers Photography Exhibit

    This is one of two exhibits featuring works by members of the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva (BGCG). The works were created for the 2016 National Fine Arts Exhibit and ImageMakers Photography Contest, two member competitions from the Boys & Girls Club of America’s arts initiative. An opening reception for the two exhibits will take place in conjunction with Geneva Night Out on Friday, More »
  • “Now is the Time of Our Country’s Need”: Geneva and the Civil War

    On the 150th anniversary of the war’s end, the exhibit Geneva and the Civil War examines how the civil war affected Geneva in the 1860s, and how it impacted the community long after the battles were over. The exhibit sets the stage with the state and local politics at the war’s start in 1861 and an exploration of what Geneva was like at that time. More »
  • 2015 Geneva City School District Art Show

    Come see the work of Geneva’s youngest artists! This exhibit features the best work of students in kindergarten through grade 12 at North Street School, West Street School, Geneva Middle School and Geneva High School. The exhibit will be on display on the lower level from April 18 through May 16, 2015.
  • Geneva A – Z

    From architecture to Zotos, a variety of people, events, objects, and places have been part of Geneva’s rich and diverse history. For 18 months we’ve been exploring an alphabetical catalog of what makes Geneva…Geneva. We’ve taken your feedback and now we’ve got our conclusions on display in Geneva A – Z. B is for Boathouses and F is for Finks. Find out what else we More »
  • The Second War of Independence: Geneva and the War of 1812

    The War of 1812 was fought primarily along the United States coastline and the Canadian border. Major battles were fought within a hundred miles of Geneva, and local militia soldiers served along the Niagara frontier and Lake Ontario. During the 200th anniversary of the war, discover how the Geneva area experienced the conflict through this exhibit (June 2014 – April 2015). The Second War of More »
  • History of Newspapers in Geneva

    The history of newspapers in Geneva began in 1796. Through the 19th century, the village often had at least two newspapers of opposite political views. The Geneva Daily Times began in 1895 and was the forerunner of today’s Finger Lakes Times. Created for Geneva Night Out October 2013 History of Newspapers Exhibit
  • Torrey Park & Club 86

    Beginning in the 1890s, Torrey Park was the Italian neighborhood of Geneva. It had everything people needed: the Lehigh Valley passenger depot, jobs at nearby factories, and a variety of stores and restaurants. Club 86 grew from the Legott family restaurant and hosted musicians from Wilmer and the Dukes to Louis Armstrong and Nat “King” Cole. Created for 2013 Club 86 event Club 86 2013
  • The Armory on Main Street

    Geneva’s armory was built in 1892 and went through several expansions and changes. As technology made weaponry and vehicles larger, many New York State armories were moved out of downtown to suburban locations. Geneva’s armory still serves as the recruitment, training, and deployment center for its National Guard unit. It also served as a center for community concerts and sporting events until 21st-century security concerns More »
  • Brotherhood: Freemasonry in Geneva

    Freemasonry has a long local history. Masonic groups have been in Geneva since 1807 when Ark Lodge was formed. Even though membership peaked in the late 1920s, lodges remain active and accept new members. The exhibit answers common questions about freemasonry (including “the Morgan affair”) and highlights Geneva’s Masonic temples through the years as well as prominent local Masons (January -June 2013). Brotherhood
  • Molding & Machining: Metalwork in Geneva

    In the mid-1800s, Geneva claimed more foundries and machine shops than any other community between Auburn and Buffalo. By the 1950s, the metal industry accounted for almost 70% of the city’s jobs. Today, there is only one major metal fabrication company in town. Molding & Machining focuses on what drew these businesses to Geneva in the 19th century and why they were gone by the late 20th More »
  • How Railroads Shaped Geneva

    This exhibit highlights the importance of railroads to the city from the 1840s to the 1960s. Geneva sat at the intersection of two major lines, the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the New York Central Railroad, and was connected to other railroads by regional “short lines.” The exhibit examines the many ways the railroads affected the average resident, from bringing new people and things to town, More »
  • Scientific Investigation: A History of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station

    Established in 1880, the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station’s purpose was to promote “agriculture in its various branches by scientific investigation and experimentation.” Though the nature of investigation has changed over the past 130 years scientists still address the same questions of increased production, food safety, and developing healthy food that people want to eat (June 2013 -April 2014). Scientific Investigation