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Kiln Firing Day


Something very special is happening in the Potter’s Shop located in our 19th-century Historic Village – you can experience a traditional kiln firing! Genesee Country Village & Museum is the only living history museum in the northeast that fires salt-glazed stoneware in a wood-fired kiln as it was done in the 19th century. Join us on this exciting day to experience this unique historical happening! Starting early in the morning, the kiln will be filled with newly-crafted ceramic pieces, bricked up, and lit. The flames will be stoked continuously throughout the day. The end temperature will reach nearly 2300°, which will mature the clay, turn the cobalt decoration into the traditional blue, and create a glazed surface by introducing salt into the firebox during the last hour of firing. After cooling for quite some time, these brand-new pieces will make their way to the Flint Hill Store and Village Mercantile, where they will be available for purchase! On the special occasion of a kiln firing, our potters are hard at work all day – so the rest of the Village steps up to help! The cooks in Jones Farmhouse and the Livingston Backus House will be preparing historical dishes that they’ll deliver to the potters during the kiln firing to keep them fueled for a day of hard work. Stop by to hang out by the kiln, bring your own lunch over, and learn from our potters during this communal activity! Explore the history of stoneware production in NY State When you visit on Kiln Firing Day, make sure to head upstairs in our Town Hall building to explore an exhibit on 19th-century stoneware in the Genesee Valley and Greater Rochester Area! Then, as you make your way around our historic homes and functional kitchens, keep your eye out for repeated shapes, motifs, and uses of stoneware, red ware, Bristol, and Albany slip. Take home a piece of history Village Potters Kate Hevers and Mark Presher work on-site during the Museum’s regular season (May – October) crafting unique ceramic pieces and educating visitors about their materials and methods. Salt glazing has its origins in Germany around 1520, and the technology was brought to this region by German potters. Stoneware vessels were a kitchen essential used primarily for long-term storage of food as well as everyday use. Each piece of GCV&M pottery is unique, and the potters produce a variety of styles including Salt Glazed Stoneware, Albany Slip, Bristol, and Redware. The materials used to create the pottery are locally sourced, and each design featured on pottery references historical markings on ceramic pieces from the New York State region in the 19th century.

Genesee Country Village & Museum
  • 1410 Flint Hill Road
  • Mumford, NY 14511-0310