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Programs

Programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

 

Educational programs, permanent and changing exhibitions, workshops, and guided and self-guided tours interpret the Oneida Community story for children and adults.  The curriculum-based field trip Children of the Mansion House serves fourth, fifth and sixth-grade classes as well as youth community groups, camp, and scout troops. Students participate in hands-on learning centers, make comparisons and draw conclusions, listen to children’s stories from the past, hunt for curiosities, use historic reproductions, as well as examine architecture, primary documents, photos and museum displays (Teacher's Handbook). 
For high school Advanced Placement U.S. History students, a customized tour of the Mansion House covers many subjects important in the state U.S. History curriculum -- gender, reform, religion, and utopian experiments (Teacher's Handbook).  For college, the tour is adapted to the instructor's subject in architecture, anthropology, history, sociology, women's studies, religion, art, or economics. The Mansion House also offers special group tours for specific audiences and provides speakers upon request.

Concerts, recitals, plays, and other presentations provide additional opportunities for revealing Community life.                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Oneida Community Mansion publishes the Oneida Community Journal to inform the public of the cultural and educational activities at the Mansion House and to present articles about social and historical topics of interest within the context of its mission. The New Circular showcases historic writing and photographs of the Oneida Community and its legacy.

 

What's to discover in Madison County?  Visit www.madisontourism.com/cultural/ to see!

 

 

           

 
Collections
 

Family portraits, historical photographs in the thousands, a Victorian curio cabinet, period furniture, paintings crafted from silk braidings, books, Community-designed costumes, and ephemera - more than 30,000 objects in all - illustrate the intellectual, cultural, and business life of the Community.         The Mansion House is the queen of the collection; its interior key to Community activities.  Included in self-guided and guided tours are the Big Hall, described as “an embodiment of our life and faith” by founder John Humphrey Noyes, with its exquisite trompe l’oeil ceiling; the Upper Sitting Room that most defined their idea of home; the Community Library where life-long education was encouraged and more than 100 newspapers, magazines, and journals subscribed; and the Vestibule with its cabinet of curiosities.
In the History Room visitors can explore objects from Community life: silk thread and animal traps produced for sale, charming small wooden bureaus made for women to store their keepsakes, original Community china, and early Oneida silverware.

       

The Syracuse University Library has an extensive collection of Oneida Community

archival material. 

 
Exhibits
 

 

 

Mothers and Children of the Oneida Community.  An exploration of ideas about childhood and motherhood that were very different from those found elsewhere in the 1800s. Oneida Community members believed a woman was made for God, for the Community, and for herself, and therefore should be more than a mother.  To make that possible, they lightened household drudgery by centralizing and sharing all work. Then, they collectivized childcare. Oneida children were not raised by their biological parents, but rather kept together in a children’s department under the guidance of a few care-providers.

The exhibit evokes the fascinating lives of Community mothers and children in numerous photographs and many items of their clothing. The children’s department is remembered in its clock and an instructional lithograph that once graced its walls. On view is a range of material used in teaching the youngsters:  books, maps, a globe. Other artifacts illustrating an Oneida Community childhood include awards, drawings, stereoview cards, a child’s wagon, and, of course, toys.

 

 

Orientation Exhibit. This exhibition features photographs, text, artifacts, a timeline and more to provide visitors with a thorough introduction to the Oneida Community prior to touring the Mansion House.  (May be enjoyed without paying admission.)

 

 

 

                

Oneida Game Traps, 1852-1925: The Edward J. Knobloch Collection. A permanent exhibit featuring a representative selection of traps sold by the Oneida company under the names Newhouse and Victor and still considered the world's best. The exhibit contains more than fifty types of traps and illustrates how local trap-making began with the Oneida Community (1848-1880), a famous experiment in utopian living.


The Braidings of Jessie Catherine Kinsley. This permanent exhibit traces the roots of Kinsley’s art to childhood experience with textile work in the Oneida Community and to formal art training from Kenneth Hayes Miller, an influential figure in twentieth-century American art. The presentation featuring exquisite silk braidings and paintings explores Kinsley's themes and the significance of her achievement. What began as rug decoration evolved, during the 1910s, into a new painterly art form and her fusion of tapestry and illustrated manuscript exemplified the American Craftsman aesthetic (ca 1910-1925). (Suggested donation $2)

        

South Seas to Botticelli: Frank Perry Flatware Designs for Oneida, 1950s-1970s. This installation pays tribute to Frank Perry, the creator of more than 100 silverware patterns ranging from the archetypal Colonial design, Paul Revere, to the classic Baroque offerings such as Michelangelo and Botticelli.

 

Highlighted is the importance of Paul Revere (1958),an elegant simple style which powered Oneida's successful changeover to stainless steel.  The display also stresses the impact of South Seas (1954), a pattern so popular it rejuvenated the company's taditional line of silver-plated ware.  Visitors can examine several original design drawings and left examples of Perry-designed flatware in plate, sterling, and stainless.  The exhibit includes magazine advertising that promoted Perry's South Seas in the mid-1950s and First Frost in the mid-1960s. 

                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

For more information about the historic Mansion House and the Oneida Community, visitors can purchase books and memorabilia at the newly relocated and expanded Museum Store.

       
The Store features many titles about the utopian, religious community as well as souvenirs and gifts including cards, pottery, jewelry, candles, soaps and lotions, OL advertising prints, glassware, and children's books and games.. For more information about titles or for mail order, please call (315) 363-0745 or write to:

Museum Store
Oneida Community Mansion House
170 Kenwood Avenue
Oneida, New York 13421

 
Museum Hours
 

Open year-round except major holidays.
Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday:  12 to 4 p.m.   

 
Tours and Admission
 

Regularly scheduled guided tours are conducted Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. Groups of eight or more are welcome by reservation, 315-363-0745.  Self guided tours with audio narration may be taken at any time.  Admissions prices are as follows:

Adults, $5
Children Under 12, Free
Family Unit (one set of parents and their children), $15
Students, $3
Museum is wheelchair accessible ~

Elementary School/Camp/Scout Program, by reservation

Please contact the Curator, ext. 4228, to apply for school field trip funds. Click here for an application form.

 

     

 

Oneida Community Mansion House
170 Kenwood Avenue
Oneida, New York 13421

Click here for Directions

Telephone: 315-363-0745 Fax: 315-361-4580ocmh@oneidacommunity.org

 
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