Farm Museum Turns 25 Saturday

Free Admission To Anniversary Celebration, Opening Of General Store

May 01, 1991|By Staff report

WESTMINSTER — The Carroll County Farm Museum will mark its 25th anniversary with agala celebration when it opens at noon Saturday for the 1991 season.

In honor of the occasion, Saturday will be a free admission day for the public to enjoy and learn a little bit of Carroll County history.

"We'll have a ribbon-cutting around 12:30 p.m. to introduce the new General Store, which is reminiscent of a late 1800s country store," said Dottie Freeman, museum administrative assistant and opening day coordinator.

The store will feature hand-crafted items from museum volunteer artisans, farm animal coloring books, toys to old-fashioned candy.

It also will include a "hands-on" room for children where youngsters can pick up and handle objects from the past, Freeman added.

County Commissioner Julia W. Gouge and Farm Museum Board of Governors chairman Dominic Dattalio are expected to be present for the opening ceremonies.

Live entertainment throughout the day will be provided by the Westminster Municipal Band and the Carroll County Choral Society.

"There will be a Civil War encampment on the grounds, reminiscent of when the museum was an almshouse," Freeman said.

"We'll have chronicles of the history of the Farm Museum and pictures and sharing of the transition of the Farm Museum from an almshouse."

George Grier, one of the first members of the museum's Board of Governors, and Frank Bushey, currently a board member, will share their recollections of the history of the farm museum.

Slides and photographs of the farm will help tell its history, and anyone who has played a part in the museum's 25-year history is invited to share their stories.

The museum's artisans will provide demonstrations of how people 100 years ago lived. A special activity will be Susan Donahue-Rick cooking a complete meal over an open hearth in the Living History Center.

"We'll have a 'Name the Baby Lamb' contest for our baby lamb born April 19," Freeman said. "The contest is for everybody and the judges will pick the winner, who will receive a season pass to the Farm Museum."

There will be plenty of food for sale, as well as tours of the museum mansion and wagon rides. Door prizes that have been donated by local businesses also will be given away throughout the day.

"It's a way we can introduce people to what we have to offer on the weekend," Freeman said.

Festivities continue until 5 p.m.

The Farm Museum first opened its doors in August 1966. That

first three-month season saw 14,000 people visit the museum, which offered only one special event: its Fall Harvest Festival.

When Carroll County was created by an act of the Maryland General Assembly in 1837, legislation also provided for a poorhouse.

The building was constructed in 1852-1853 and public notice given that paupers would bereceived May 23, 1853. The farm remained active until 1965, by whichtime government assistance programs had taken over for almshouses.

Landon Burns, a county extension agent for 37 years who had a strong interest in rural life, convinced the county to create a museum honoring Carroll's agricultural heritage.

Thus, the Carroll County Farm Museum was created to promote the prestige and general welfare of the county by fostering the preservation and appreciation of the rural culture of Carroll County and the spirit and values that that culture typifies.

Today, the museum is visited by more than 90,000 people a year with 14 special events a season. Since opening day in 1966,more than 1 million visitors have come to the Farm Museum.

The museum is at 500 S. Center St.

Parking is ample.

No alcohol or pets allowed.

Information: 848-7775 or 876-2667.

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