Blacksmithing is one of the great hands-on workshops we offer.


Grade Level: 4th to 12th
Duration: 3 hours

The 19th Century Life Workshops give students a rare chance to roll up their sleeves and get their hands on history, art, math and science in a fun way! Through interactive activities, such as blacksmithing, sewing, farming and letterpress printing, students understand community life in the 1840s. It includes a 90 minute hands-on workshop, followed by a 90 minute contextual tour of the historic village.

Download the 19th Century Life Workshops Educator's Guides! Our guides detail the tour experience, and also provide valuable pre-and post-visit lesson plan ideas and worksheets to help tie your visit even more closely into your classroom curriculum. 

19th Century Life Workshops Educator Guide (Grades 4th-8th)
19th Century Life Workshops Educator Guide (Grades 9th-12th)

New York State Learning Standards:
Social Studies Standard 1
Mathematics, Science, and Technology Standards 1, 5
The Arts Standards 1, 4
ELA Common Core SL.1, L.4

Students are placed in small groups for the hands-on workshop.The workshop offerings are:

Blacksmith’s Apprentice
Roll up your sleeves and find your favorite hammer! In this workshop, students will explore the duties and responsibilities of a blacksmith’s apprentice, and learn the skills to make an iron hook. (Min. 4, Max. 5)

The Printer’s Devil
Become the “Printer’s Devil” to the Master Printer and learn the art and mystery of the trade. Students create a piece of printed material. (Min. 4, Max. 5)

Pharmacy: Medicines and Remedies
Learn about the varied life of the village pharmacist, and then step up to the counter to try your hand at making medicines. Participants will learn to steep tea and make their own lip salve. (Min. 4, Max. 7)

Life on the Farm
Head down to the Farm to learn about what life was like for children on an 1845 farmstead! The group will learn about everyday life and will prepare a meal on the open hearth for all to share. *Please note that this workshop has been adjusted to focus on cooking and home life. (Min. 5, Max. 6)

Explore the path from sheared wool to dyed yarn. Students will learn the basics of carding, spinning, dying and felting. (Min. 8, Max. 12)

Schoolhouse Daze
New this year! What was it like to go to a school where every student from first grade to high school met in a one-room schoolhouse? You’ll find out, while making a copy book and learning to write with a quill pen. (Min. 10, Max. 10)

Join in on another popular paper craft: quilling! Quilling is the art of curling thin strips of paper into intricate designs, and was found on all sorts of everyday items during the 19th century. Participating students will design and decorate their own quilled item. (Min. 8, Max. 15)

Reverse Painting on Glass
Learn how to paint backwards in this folk art workshop! Students will learn the technique of reverse painting and create their own unique, framed piece to bring home. (Min. 10, Max. 15)

A Stitch in Time
Can you sew? How about put buttons on a shirt? Mend a tear in your pants? Boys and girls during the 19th century could, and did! You will learn the basics of sewing in this workshop, and demonstrate your skill by sewing a drawstring bag to take home. (Min. 10, Max. 12)

Walk on the Wild Side (This is a program best suited for PreK-1st Grade)
Come take a ride through New York State history using the various murals, relief carvings, and animals of the Empire State Carousel as your guide. Although this workshop is not focused on 19th century life, it has been a popular option for large groups. Students will have the opportunity to create their own animal to take home. (Min. 10, Max. 15)

New this year! Learn about how skilled marblers would embellish paper to decorate books in the nineteenth century. Make a ‘comb’, practice techniques to make your own marbled paper, and then mount that paper on either a book or a box. (Min. 7, Max.15)

Between 1840 and 1860, several mechanical processes were developed that produced wood pulp suitable for making rough-grained paper. In this workshop students will learn how to make paper from recycled paper pulp and press through a mesh screens to make their own paper samples. (Min. 7, Max. 15)