Historical Attractions in the Finger Lakes
What do you get when you combine molten hot glass, stories about the American Experience told through art, trout boats and steamships, and the fastest man on earth?
Only some of the most exhilarating, breathtaking, educational experiences to be found. Oh, and some of the coolest museums around!
CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS
You might wonder, what's the big deal about glass? But once you see for yourself, you'll get it. Whether it's watching professional artists shape glowing hot globs of glass into something remarkable or it's traveling back 35 centuries and exploring glass artifacts of different cultures or it's becoming an artist yourself and making your own one-of-kind work of art, the Corning Museum of Glass is the best place on earth to celebrate the wonders of glass.
Sometimes visiting a historical museum can get a little old. But places like the Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes bring history to life. A collection of historic buildings, including the oldest in Steuben County, the museum complex allows you to not just see what it was like to live a hundred years ago, but to actually do some of the things that were done back then with hearth cooking, blacksmithing, weaving and other demonstrations and occasional workshops.
ART ABOUT THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Everything about the Rockwell Museum is cool, from Artemus the Buffalo crashing out the side of the building to the old jail cell inside, from the Remington and Russell Lodge where you can sit back and relax among the artwork to the enormous paintings and contemporary sculptures on the third floor. There’s interactive fun for kids and even a separate building (Kids Rockwell Art Lab) with interactive art projects inspired by pieces from the museum’s collection. Upstate New York’s only Smithsonian Affiliate museum is intimate, accessible (tour in under an hour), and extremely popular with families and art-lovers alike.
MOTORCYCLES, CARS & PLANES! OH MY!
Sometimes you scratch your head and wonder, “Why didn't I know about this before?” The Glenn H Curtiss Museum is the sort of place people tend to visit without knowing what to expect and leave shaking their heads over their discovery. In addition to learning about the "fastest man on earth" who also happened to be a brilliant inventor and daredevil of sorts known as the “Father of Naval Aviation,” you'll find a wonderful assortment vintage motorcycles, automobiles planes, and more.
PRESERVING THE ESSENCE OF LAKE LIFE
With all these lakes, boating has been huge in the region since the mid-1800s. Located on the campus of buildings that used to be part of the historic Taylor Wine Company, The Finger Lakes Boating Museum is dedicated to preserving the rich history of boating activities and boat building in the region, offering a wonderful glimpse into the past with its array of historic vessels, endearing and extensive restoration projects, and various classes. Learn about the sundry steamboats that used to transport locals (and grapes) from Hammondsport to Penn Yan, as well as travelers to lakeside resorts. View handcrafted wooden trout boats that are works of art.
Volunteers at the museum have spent the past few years (over 16,000 volunteer hours) renovating an historic mailboat (built in 1924) called the Pat II which they will have on Keuka Lake in 2020 offering guided tours.
TRAVELING THROUGH HISTORY
In addition to planes and automobiles, trains were also an integral part in our history. Even though the railroad might not play the role it once did, you can still find places where it's revered. The Erie Depot Museum in Hornell contains over 700 artifacts that focus on the Erie Railroad's history and on the people who made it what it was.
Visit small-town churches that still house historic Tiffany glass. Spend the night in the oldest building in Hammondsport which has been an inn since the 1830s. Explore the many historic and art-related galleries, studios, and museums spread throughout in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes.