New `market' displays old harvest traditions

Farm museum: The attraction kicks off its season with a renovated exhibit and an arts week.

April 24, 2005|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

When the Carroll County Farm Museum opened April 1 for its 39th season, it was with a bit more fanfare than usual. After three years of being closed for renovation, the exhibit "To Market We Go" reopened in the original 1853-era Almshouse Barn.

"We've had a lot of big equipment donated, and we moved it all around," said Dottie Freeman, executive director of the museum. "Everything has been cleaned, rearranged and preserved. The exhibits are in chronological order of the farm year."

"To Market We Go" features artifacts and equipment that would have been used 150 years ago as the farmer prepared to take crops and other products to market at harvest time. Displays include a flour bagger, potato grader, box maker, various types of wagons, ice vehicles and saddlery needed for the horses.

Other exhibits also feature new items. The transportation exhibit includes a renovated doctor's buggy and pony cart, as well as a replica of the county's first postal wagon. Being built in Lancaster, Pa., by the Amish as a gift to the museum, the wagon is "a post office on wheels that was used in the free rural postal delivery days," Freeman said.

New in the farmhouse is a Victorian sofa, Eastlake settee and side chair that were previously in storage, and a display of miniature handmade steam engines.

"You have to reinvent the old and make it new to entice visitors," Freeman said. "We want to keep people coming back to learn about life in the 1800s."

One way to do that is through education. Freeman holds traditional arts classes each year, culminating in a Traditional Arts Week in April.

Starting this week, registered participants will learn blacksmithing, stenciling, silhouette drawing, open hearth and woodstove cooking, spinning, painting on tin and more.

For children, there is the annual weeklong Living History Encampment, where elementary school-age youngsters learn about what it was like to live in the late 1800s.

Several years ago, Victorian-style teas were started. Teas are held in a Victorian parlor, on the porch and in the garden and feature various teas, sweets and a program.

Teas are scheduled for May 7-8, June 22-23, July 24, Oct. 27-28, and Dec. 7-8 and 14-15, and require registration.

This summer, Freeman will introduce another new program - monthly lectures about different aspects of farming and early American life.

Lectures will be held at noon May 2, June 6, July 11, Aug. 1, Sept. 12 and Oct. 3 on antique dolls, barn styles, comic books, the museum's collection, vintage hats and antique furniture, respectively.

The museum also holds many major events that are open to the public for a nominal fee.

They include a Civil War Living History Encampment, Blacksmith Days, Spring Muster and Antique Fire Equipment, Fiddlers' Convention, Old-Fashioned July 4 Celebration, Steam Show Days, the Maryland Wine Festival, Fall Harvest Days and Christmas Holiday Open House.

The Farm Museum is at 500 S. Center St., Westminster.

Information: 410-848-7775 or 800-654-4645.

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