8 Kid-Friendly Museums to Visit in the Hudson Valley | Museums | Hudson Valley


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  • Courtesy of the Hudson River Maritime Museum
  • The Hudson River Maritime Museum’s Solaris solar boat on a tour of the industrial waterfront on Rondout Creek.

Besides the abundance of art museums in the area, from Dia: Beacon to Mass MoCA, the Hudson Valley has a wide range of themed museums. The subject covers the gamut from the maritime history of the Hudson River and its tributaries to the evolution of American motorcycles. Whether you’re taking the family on a weekend outing or going on an adult school trip, these Hudson Valley museums are worthy destinations.

Old Smith Clove Village Museum

Immerse yourself in living history at the Museum Village of Old Smith’s Clove in Monroe, where costumed performers portray a slice of 19th-century village life. This The Open Air Historical Museum – a classic destination for a public school excursion – offers visitors a glimpse into the realities of American rural life in the 1800s, including the transition from a rural culture and economy to a industrial economy. The property includes a log cabin, school, blacksmith, pharmacy, printing house, and more, each filled with historical artifacts. Through educational programs, hands-on exhibits, tours, and special events, Museum Village brings the past to life and documents the evolution of industry and technology in America.

Motorcyclepedia Museum

There are also several quality museums dedicated to aficionados. From choppers to street bikes, crotch rockets to cruisers, motorcycles come in all shapes and sizes and appeal to all types of people, from full-time bad boys to wall Street brokers letting off steam. The Motorcyclepedia Museum is an 85,000 square foot space in Newburgh that features the collection that father-son duo Gerald and Ted Doering have amassed over the past 80 years. The volunteer run museum is a love letter to American motorcycling, featuring the most comprehensive timeline of Indian motorcycles in the world, as well as a handful of historically significant European and Asian models. “Headlights, horns, handlebars, gas tanks – it’s very obvious how these parts have evolved when you have a timeline as complete as our Indian timeline,” says Dale Prusinowski, administrator of Motorcyclepedia. In addition to the exhibit of over 600 bicycles, the museum also has over 3,000 memorabilia, such as posters and advertisements, and special interest exhibits that include the historical background of different bicycles.

Velocipede Museum

If bikes are more your speed, check out Motorcyclepedia’s sister exhibit space, the Velocipede Museum, located in the historic Labor Temple at 109 Liberty Street, Newburgh. Velocipede is the umbrella term for all human powered vehicles with wheels. While only the first floor of the three-story building will be open until the renovations are complete, there are already nearly 50 bikes of all shapes, sizes and eras dating as far back as 1820. Perch at summit of vintage Penny Farthing, browse tri – and quads, and learn about the evolution of cycling. The facade of the building has been kept as a workshop and in the future will be a space for children’s workshops, teaching basic cycling techniques like changing tires and adjusting the chain.

Former Rhinebeck airfield

Aviation enthusiasts, on the other hand, won’t want to miss the Old Rhinebeck Airfield, where vintage aircraft exhibits and air shows abound. After spending his life savings on six World War I planes that were for sale when Roosevelt Field closed in 1951, airfield founder Cole Palen laboriously moved his new treasures upstate . The airfield is America’s first flying museum of antique planes and replicas, with more than 60 planes. The non-profit museum collects, restores and exhibits planes from the pioneers, World War I and the golden age of aviation. Head to the field to watch air shows every Saturday and Sunday from mid-June to mid-October. Each airshow weekend is preceded by a vintage fashion show and vintage car parade. On Saturdays, the show focuses on airplanes from the pioneer days. On Sunday there is a simulated WWI air combat in the sky. Fancy a historical thrill? You can also take a biplane ride.

FASNY firefighters museum

If your kids love fire trucks, dressing up in firefighter gear, and learning about fire safety and emergencies, then they’ll love the FASNY Firefighting Museum, just north of downtown Hudson. Located in a spacious hangar-like building, this is the largest firefighting museum in the world, with 90 impressive fire pumps on display, some dating from the 1700s, pageants and memorabilia. Trace the history of firefighting technology and culture, from the hand-drawn pipe wagons of the colonial era to the 1,000-gallon diesel-powered tankers of the 1970s. Photo ops abound. There are also hands-on interactive exhibits, including the Bucket Brigade. Upstairs you will find the interactive fire safety education section which includes a 911 call simulator, a carpeted area to try out a drop and roll and other visual fire safety aids for children. . And of course stop and meet Molly, the resident Dalmatian.

Hudson River Maritime Museum

Immerse yourself in the influence of the river itself – a long-standing major trade and transportation artery – at the waterfront Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston. Located along the historic Rondout Creek waterfront, the museum was established in 1980 to preserve and interpret the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and related industries, such as brick-making, quarrying stone, cement mining, coal transport and ice harvesting. The physical museum is full of artifacts and archives, including photographs, ice yachts, model ships, lifeboats, and a century-old shad boat. They also have a fleet of boats, including a 100% solar-powered boat, which they use to provide educational tours of local lighthouses, industrial sites, sunset cruises and after dark lanterns. The school of wooden boats preserves the historical traditions of maritime craftsmanship through courses in drawing, carpentry and boat building. HRRM publishes publications and organizes public events, conferences, educational programs and activities throughout the year, covering a range of topics from the history of the local ice harvesting trade to women custodians of Hudson River Lighthouse.

Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum

At the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum in Poughkeepsie, children are encouraged to learn through ‘purposeful play’ via a series of interactive exhibits that teach science, math, art, music, technology, engineering and literacy to encourage critical thinking skills and curiosity. Cleverly designed activities and spaces inspire children to learn while having fun. The yellow buttercup museum has five exhibition galleries and an outdoor garden for children. The Link, Lift, Launch space features exhibits on flight, magnetism, rockets and construction, encouraging children to think critically, problem solve, and collaborate. The museum also sponsors the Poughkeepsie Waterfront Market, an inclusive weekly farmer’s market that takes place Mondays from May through October in their outdoor pavilion on the Hudson River.

Hudson Highlands Museum of Nature

Another particularly kid-friendly place is the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, which emphasizes environmental and wildlife education, as well as nature-based play. The museum, which was founded in 1959, is made up of two locations: a Wildlife Education Center in Cornwall-on-Hudson and an Outdoor Discovery Center near Cornwall, both of which include grasslands, woods, etc. Every Saturday and Sunday, kids can meet the animals, which include native and non-native species of turtles, frogs, birds and fish.
Both properties include hiking trails open to the public. Week-long themed summer camps teach children ages 4 to 12 about the environment, science and the natural world through outdoor exploration, experimentation and crafts.


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