When I was in college back in the day, I took a Women’s Studies course to fulfill a graduation requirement. By the end of the course, my entire perspective on the world had shifted. I was suddenly aware of a piece of history that I didn’t learn about in my K-12 U.S.public school classes; I was aware that women had a history.
After that course, visiting the town of Seneca Falls, New York was instantly added to my travel bucket list. Seneca Falls is a significant landmark in women’s history, as it was the location of the first Women’s Rights Convention back in 1848.
In Summer of 2009, I got the chance to visit! During a drive from Syracuse, NY to a Bob Dylan concert in Milwaukee, WI with my then-boyfriend, I noticed that Seneca Falls was on the route and knew I just had to see it.
Let me tell you this: it did not disappoint.
Earlier this month on a New England road trip with my partner Dave and our two daughters, I noticed that we were traveling near Seneca Falls and, once again, I knew that I just had to take them to see it.
Once again: did not disappoint.
Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York
1. Wesleyan Chapel
One of the most significant places to see in Women’s Rights National Historical Park is Wesleyan Chapel, where the actual convention took place.
The first time I visited Seneca Falls, the chapel consisted of two walls and a roof. Since then, the National Park Service has rehabilitated the Chapel to preserve it for future generations. It’s now a completed building that you can go inside and sit down in. Admission is free.
Dave also insisted that this picture of the girls as Jr. Rangers just HAD to happen…
And then of course I had to get this picture…
Lots of good times to be had by all inside this historic landmark. Traveling with kids, ammiright? 😉
2. Declaration of Sentiments Park and Waterwall
The words of the Declaration of Sentiments can be seen and read on the Waterwall in Declaration of Sentiments Park, which is located next to Wesleyan Chapel.
This makes a wonderful spot to take pictures in front of Wesleyan Chapel–especially if you are traveling with kids and trying to safely get a great travel photo––as there is a huge grassy area in the middle of the park for them to sit in.
Now that we have two kids, I try to get individual pictures of them in front of landmarks, as well as sibling/family shots. Who knows what’s they’ll prefer when they’re older? 🙂
3. Visitors Center and Museum
The Visitors Center and Museum are right next door to the Wesleyan Chapel and the Waterwall, and are an absolute must if you’re in Seneca Falls!
The downstairs features life-sized statues of Convention members (Elizabeth Caty Stanton and Fredrick Douglass, to name a few) that you can snap some great photos with, along with a gift shop. Upstairs is a small, but rich-in-information museum outlining some key moments of the Women’s Rights Movement throughout history.
Like the rest of the park, admission is completely free.
4. Other Women’s Rights Locations
Just outside of Wesleyan Chapel, you’ll find the official historical marker for the first Women’s Rights Convention, which is a great place to snap a photo.
Nearby, you can also see the home of Elizabeth Caty Stanton and the M’Clintock House, where the Declaration of Sentiments was drafted prior to the Convention. We skipped over these locations on our trip, but definitely will be checking them out the next time we are in town.
Overall, Women’s Rights National Historical Park is a must for anyone who is interested in learning more about the history of women in the United States. If you ever find yourself near Seneca Falls, it’s more than worth the stop.
Visit It Yourself:
136 Fall Street
Seneca Falls, NY 13148