The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York is not just a great horse racing museum, it is one of the most interesting and innovative museums I’ve ever visited. Exhibits on two floors of this modern facility tell the story of the sport of standardbred harness racing. It’s easy to see the love the trainers, owners, jockeys, and fans have for these magnificent animals. Incredibly, admission is free!
Opened in 1951, the museum and hall of fame sits behind the Goshen Historic Track, the oldest continuously operated horse racing track in North America. The museum has a balcony on the second floor overlooking the half-mile dirt track. This corner of New York was also the birthplace of Hambletonian 10, the ancestor of all American Standardbred horses.
Part of the museum is located in a former stable used by horses at the race track. Today, the stable space is devoted to exhibits telling the history of the sport from its beginnings in carriage races to the present day using artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays. The museum has more than 40,000 harness racing artifacts in its collection.
A fun addition to the museum is a 3D theater, or “Harness Racing Simulator,” that allows you to imagine you are a jockey in a race. The back rows of seats actually move and jostle back and forth! Also on the second floor is a theater exploring how harness racing has been portrayed in Hollywood films, and of course, the hall of fame.
The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is located at 240 Main Street in Goshen, New York. Phone: 845-294-6330. It is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter, and Thanksgiving.