Winter Newsletter

Seasonal Newsletter January | Winter 2021 Issue
Since our Fall Newsletter, the incidence of COVID-19 has been increasing rapidly in the Finger Lakes Region. Sadly, we felt that for the health of all concerned, we had to postpone our December 4, 2020 First Friday event featuring the popular Lipker Sisters until the region’s COVID-19 incidence has turned around. Stay tuned for the rescheduled event once our area’s positivity rate has sufficiently declined. All of us are excited that the vaccines are becoming available, but for now we continue to clean all areas touched by visitors, continue to have a mask mandate and continue to implement social distancing procedures. Meanwhile, staff and volunteers decorated the Museum beautifully so that we could feel some holiday spirit despite the restrictions. We were able to hold the Bedford Falls 11th annual gingerbread house contest with socially distanced small workshops and several families doing their own decorating at home. Our executive director, Rhonda Destino, delivered a beautiful baby girl in December. Our wish is that 2021 will be a year of positive change. Since Executive Director Rhonda Destino is on maternity leave, her assistant Marsha VanDusen, who is capably holding the fort in Rhonda’s absence, is reporting on Museum happenings this quarter.   

Please see our complete Winter Newsletter here:


For the 11th year, the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry is holding the Bedford Falls Gingerbread House contest and it will look a little bit different this year to ensure that we are COVID complaint and keeping everyone safe.
Small gingerbread houses are made by Museum volunteers for children to decorate at workshops Sunday, November 29th at 2pm; Saturday December 5th at 10am and 2pm; and Sunday December 6th at 2pm at 89 Fall Street. All decorations are provided and admission is free. This year due to COVID, we will have to make a plan for each workshop for all attending to space everyone out appropriately to social distance. Please call the Seneca Museum at 315-568-1510 to make an appointment for one of the workshops with those details of age and how many total participants there will be. We can accommodate a limited number of children, so don’t delay!
We encourage the community to make their own unique gingerbread houses, of any size. Possible themes include: any of the famous buildings in the It’s a Wonderful Life movie – e.g. a replica of the bridge; the taxi – or any historic building; or any historical item you can imagine (e.g. a package boat, a lock, or even a mill). 

Recipes for gingerbread houses and our pattern for small houses are available here or feel free to email and we can send that information directly to you via email.

There has been a new category to this contest added this year – a “gingerbread person” classification has been added for 2020! If you do not want to create and decorate a whole house, you can submit your best decorated gingerbread people for judging for this contest. It is up to you to create and decorate your own person or people and submit those entries as there are no classes for this category.  

All entries must be received by Sunday, December 6th at 4pm and visitors from Friday, December 11th-Sunday, December 13th will vote for their favorites in the various age categories for children and for adults. Prizes are supplied to all of the children by local vendors and volunteers. Winners are announced the following week!

The Gingerbread Contest event has been such a sought-after event during the It’s A Wonderful Life Festival and we are so excited to still be able to celebrate the 11th year of this tradition even in a year where the festival is only happening virtually-we hope to have a record number of entries in 2020! 
Check for updates on our Facebook page: “Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry.”

We Are Hiring!

Program Assistant/Docent

Job Summary: A part-time, dynamic, self-starter in our fast-paced organization is critical to our organization as the assistant to the director for 30-35 hours/week. In this role, the program assistant works with the Executive Director and Executive Assistant on all programs, events and tours for The Center. This role also performs all customer service tasks for daily visitors.

Program Assistant/Docent Job Duties and Responsibilities:

  • The “face and voice” for the organization
  • Provides the front desk customer service
  • Schedules and organizes tours, including the Ticket to Ride program
  • Maintains all details on our shared electronic calendar and visitor data information
  • Assistants and manages program logistics and details with the guidance of the Director
  • Acts as the representative for the programs and events to internal and external partners, and respond to inquiries
  • Coordinates with upper management to define program goals and fiscal objectives
  • Maintains all brochure and tourism information inventory
  • Cleans to COVID-19 standards daily
  • Point person for the sales desk and our gift shop

Program Assistant/Docent Requirements and Qualifications for this role:

  • High school diploma/GED required
  • Minimum 1 year of clerical experience (Associate degree acceptable alternative)
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Polished written and verbal communication and customer service skills

Must be available to work weekends.

Hours: 30-35 hours per week

Pay: $14/hour

Location: 89 Fall Street Seneca Falls, NY 13148

To apply: email cover letter and resume to

Position open immediately.

Celebrate 100 Years! Susan B. Anthony

Click here for the most recent email about our upcoming Susan B. Anthony events:—Susan-B–Anthony.html?soid=1123827028339&aid=F569QAkKBcY

This November -Come Celebrate a Historical Icon with Us!
First Friday Event:
An Educational Reception

An “Educational Reception” featuring Cassandra Peltier, Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum (pictured here). Her conversation is titled “Women’s Work: Textiles and the (Her)Stories They Tell.

Friday, November 6th
Our socially distant reception starts at 5pm at the Seneca Museum located at 89 Fall Street in Seneca Falls. Refreshments will be served.
Click the below link for more information:
Link to Additional Information
Children’s Event:
Come learn about Susan B. Anthony as a Child!
Saturday, November 7th
The program starts at 10:30am at the Seneca Museum located at 89 Fall Street in Seneca Falls.
There will be lots of fun for all ages including a book reading, craft kit, and snack with Cassandra, the Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum!
Click the below link for more information:
Link to Additional Information
Susan B. Anthony Black Dress Exhibit

Cassandra created a replica of Susan B. Anthony’s black dress and that can be seen on our street level, top floor (89 Fall Street) from now until after our event on November 7th.

For more information on the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum:

Fall Newsletter

Seasonal Newsletter October | Fall 2020 Issue
The Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry (SMWI) is now officially part of the Seneca Falls Heritage and Tourism Center! The Seneca County Chamber of Commerce hosted the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for our reopening as one part of the Center on Friday September 6, and many citizens came to enjoy the festivities and to tour the re-curated, COVID 19 compliant, three floors of the Museum. It was also the inaugural “First Friday” event at the Museum, featuring music by Madison Yearsley, Billsboro fine wines and Fall Street Brewing’s unique beverages. Because of this special event, the Fall Newsletter will feature many photographs from the Reopening for readers to enjoy rather than news stories, in addition to the messages from the Executive Director and the Board Chair, a report from Board member Cheryl Terryberry on a planned 2021 fundraisers for the Museum, and a report from Board member Judy Pipher on early plans for the 2020 Bedford Falls Gingerbread House Contest.   

Please see our Fall Newsletter here:

Educational Reception – November 6th 5pm

Women are not present in many written narratives, and until recently in the US women’s valuable belongings could not pass reliably to daughters. This means students and scholars of Women’s History must innovate and compromise, learning through the material traces of women’s lives as much as through written word. Often textiles were the only way to pass on personal narratives, family traditions, advice, and identity through female lineage. When women could not speak loudly, publicly, openly, they could still communicate through fabric. Evidence of habits, travels, and financial standing can be discerned from the textiles left to us by previous generations: Structural seams in patches on quilts; Whether and where there are sweat stains; How carefully a tear was repaired; Mud on a hem; A cluster of scorch marks on the skirt; Tobacco in the pocket.

This talk describes the role of sewing in a woman’s life through the early 20th century and revisits the importance of recycling by passing clothing to younger family members, modifying dresses from decades earlier to fit current style, using old clothing that is too worn to create quilts or to stuff other household items, and using scraps for toys.

Cassandra Peltier is the Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in Adams, Massachusetts. Cassandra graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in 2018 where she completed two internships and an assistantship at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and affiliated Joseph Allen Skinner Museum learning about museum education, collection care, NAGPRA coordination, curation, and exhibit installation. Her historical research focuses on the politics and history of women’s fashion in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to coordinating Suffrage Centennial programming and online resources for the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, Cassandra serves on the Adams Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee, the Northern Berkshire Suffrage Centennial Coalition, and the speaker’s bureau for the Vermont Suffrage Centennial Alliance, helping to commemorate women’s and local history in 2020 and beyond.

Volunteers Needed

We are looking for more “people” people who would like to volunteer at the Seneca Fall Heritage and Tourism Center.

We are located at 89 Fall Street and are the home of the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry and the Seneca Falls Boaters Amenities.  

Can you donate two hours of your time a week? A month? We would really appreciate your help! We will provide training, so don’t be nervous about not being an expert!

You can choose how to use your gifts and talents to help our organization! There is an opportunity for anyone and everyone to volunteer!

Examples of Volunteering Options: Greet visitors, help with events, help build/move exhibits, running our gift shop on busy days, cleaning/disinfecting protocols, and so much more!

Feel free to reach out to our Executive Director with more questions or simply stop in the Center and ask more about it.

Rhonda – or 315-568-1510

FIRST FRIDAY- October 2nd Event

Seneca Falls Heritage and Tourism Center’s FIRST FRIDAY EVENT returns on Friday, October 2nd!

Come join us for our monthly “First Friday” event, held on October 2nd from 5PM – 8PM, at 89 Fall Street, where we will showcase our new space, new exhibits, music by Diana Leigh’s duo, and hear from the “community tables” – Seneca Falls Rotary and the local Women’s Leadership Council.

This evening will be the second “First Friday” event where “The Center” is open late with entertainment, new exhibits and special guests every first Friday of the month! Thank you to all who came to our event in September and we heard from several visitors that this was a great experience for guests to come together in our space afterhours.

We will be selling our “2020” merchandise celebrating the 100th anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote.

Guests can also take a selfie at the 2020 selfie station located on the street-level floor.

Please remember to wear your masks and social distancing is required.

The Center continues to be the home of the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry, as well as, the Town of Seneca Falls’ Boater’s Amenities.

A sneak peak of some details of our event:

Unveiling A New Exhibit for the Month of October

There will be a replica of Susan B. Anthony famous black dress exhibited in our space for the month of October. This exhibit is on loan to us from the The Susan B Anthony Birthplace Museum in Massachusetts. The dress was created by their Executive Director Cassandra Peltier and Cassandra will be our special guest at our November First Friday event-save the date now, you don’t want to miss meeting her and listening to her program. See a photo of the dress below.

Diana Leigh Returns

You may remember our “incidental” musician, Diana Leigh from our very popular Music in the Park series this summer! Her duo will be playing on our top floor from 5pm-8pm.

Children’s SuperHERo Kits Pick Up

If you have taken part in our children’s remote program, you can turn in those projects and pick up your kits at our front desk. There is still plenty of time to join the fun-check out all of the details on our website here.

Bring the SuperHERo Experience Home!


When we think of Superheroes…what do we think of?
They do something incredibly helpful for our community and society, right? We wanted to take this concept and introduce and explore some of the women that could have been named superHERoes of their time! These women fought hard for the women’s right to vote and changed our history! We recently had an in-person program with author, Nancy B. Kennedy and wanted to expand our reach of our audience with some at-home and online options for our community’s children.

Here is a great way to participate in our children’s literacy program and get an awesome prize for taking part in our SuperHERoes at-home program. 

Choose one (or more) of these at-home activities to turn in to receive a FREE SuperHERo kit: 
Coloring Sheet – download here or pick up a coloring sheet of the Women Win the Vote cover and turn that in. 
Lego Creation – Let your creativity flow with LEGOS! Build a creation that represents the anniversary of the women’s right to vote! You could build a specific suffragist, a symbol that portrays this amazing achievement, or a scene that tells a story. Please include a short description of your lego creation. If you do not want to bring in your creations, you can show us a picture of it!
Create your own response to how women are viewed in society today. You may choose a poem, create a piece of art, and advertisement or a proposal for a video game, write a speech, or film a news report. Write a thank you letter to a suffragist or women’s rights activist. How has their accomplishment influenced your life today?Conduct an image search to see some buttons created during this time. Then, design you own “Votes for Women” button inspired by Carrie Chapman Catt’s campaign to win the vote for women in this country. 
Determine in what year you will be 18 years old and eligible to vote! Write a short story about what the world might be like in that year. Will a woman have been elected president of the US by then? 

What can be found in your prize kit: 
One hardcover, signed book: Women Win the Vote!: 19 for the 19th Amendment By Nancy B Kennedy. Superhero cape and mask making-kitSuperhero SnacksWomen’s National Historical Park Junior Ranger magazine Votes for Women pin And some other cool stuff will be in your superhero bag too! 

Where to bring these projects and pick up your kits:Any of the above activities can be turned in at the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry’s front desk at 89 Fall Street Seneca Falls. These kits are first-come, first-served.

Thank YOUs:
Thank you to the partners who have worked on this children’s program: Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry, Seneca Falls Library, Seneca Falls Historical Society, and the National Women’s Rights Historical Park. 

Thank you to the author, Nancy B. Kennedy, for making the trip to Seneca Falls and assisting our program and our literacy goals for our young people in our community and providing ways for more children to get involved from home. 

Thank you to our sponsors and support from Waterloo Container and BonaDent for our 2020 children and youth programming.  

Any questions, please contact Rhonda at

This year marks the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. To commemorate this milestone year, the Seneca Falls Visitor Center/Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry, Women’s Rights National Historical Park, Seneca Falls Historical Society, and the Seneca Falls Library are joining forces for a family event for all ages that connects history, literacy, and fun!
This program, titled SuperHeroes of History, will explore how some of our favorite women’s rights activists were the “SuperHERoes” of their time! Information on Nancy B. Kennedy’s book:

A NEW First Friday Event: Seneca Falls Heritage and Tourism Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Seneca Falls Heritage and Tourism Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The Seneca County Chamber of Commerce will host a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the Grand Reopening of the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry/The Seneca Falls Visitor Center on Friday, September 4th at 5 PM at 89 Fall Street in Seneca Falls.

This space has gone through several changes over the last six months, including a new HVAC system, newly restored floors, and a new COVID compliant layout and curation.

This celebration will take place during our organization’s “First Friday” event, held from 5PM – 8PM, at 89 Fall Street, where we will showcase our new space and rebranding as the Seneca Falls Heritage and Tourism Center.
This evening will be the first of several “First Friday” events where “The Center” will be open late with entertainment every first Friday of the month. For our September 4th event, local soloist, Madison, will be singing for musical entertainment. There will be tastings from Billsboro Winery and Fall Street Brewing Co. The Seneca Falls Historical Society and the United Way of Seneca County will also be there as our “community tables.”
Volunteers will be available to greet people and staff members will show guests the newly remodeled space. We will be selling our “2020” merchandise celebrating the 100th anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote. Guests can also take a selfie at the 2020 selfie station located on the street-level floor.

Please remember to wear your masks and social distancing is required.

Our Executive Director, Rhonda Destino, has collaborated with state officials, architects, and marketing experts throughout the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) application process and it was clear that a rebrand was needed. We are proud to announce the result of our new branding initiative. We will be known as the Seneca Falls Heritage and Tourism Center! The Center will continue to be the home of the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry, as well as, the Town of Seneca Falls’ Boater’s Amenities.

Please, join us as we venture forward to make Seneca Falls a destination for all!
Any questions, feel free to contact Rhonda Destino at