Collections and Archives

Historic Geneva collects objects that illustrate the community’s stories. This includes  letters, clothing, photos, paintings, journals and other items that were made in Geneva, used by its residents, or have a connection to a person, place, or event in the community.  Our time period extends from the 1700s to yesterday.  Although we have to be selective due to space limitations, our collecting never ends.

Our object collection consists of approximately 7,000 three-dimensional objects and 2,000 costumes and textiles. They tell the stories of industry, transportation, retail stores, education, religion, recreation and leisure, and artistic pursuits.

The Archives consists of the two-dimensional paper portion of our collection. We have 1,300 cubic feet of archives material, which includes 50,000 images. Geneva’s stories are captured in letters, diaries, ledgers and minute books, and photographs.

As with most museums, the bulk of our collections are in storage. We use them for exhibits at the Geneva History Museum, and to furnish Rose Hill Mansion and Johnston House. Archival materials are available to the public through the Research Room.  Most importantly, we protect and preserve them for viewing by future generations.

The artifacts in our archival and three-dimensional collections are the core of Geneva’s history.  We, however, only have enough space to display roughly 3% of our collections at any given time.  The rest of our artifacts are kept in storage, but even there they need protection and care to preserve them for the future.  To help us care for our collections, consider participating in our adopt an artifact program.   The adoption fee will contribute to the purchase of archival supplies and materials like folders, document boxes, and protector sleeves.