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Farm Museums for Families to Visit

by Barbara Rogers

Jun 17, 2022

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Celebrating America’s rich agricultural heritage, farm museums are all about interaction and experiences, making them perfect destinations for family travel. Kids have fun meeting baby animals up close, trying their hands at farm chores and learning crafts children their age practiced a century ago.


While having fun, kids also step back into history, glimpsing rural life and the self-sufficiency of our ancestors. Visiting a farm or farm museum is also a good way for the kids to learn about where their food comes from and appreciate the work that goes into producing it.


At the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York, exhibits and activities center around life on a farm with a replica 19th-century rural village. Craftspeople are at work, demonstrating old time skills necessary for a self-sustaining rural life. Weekly Family Fun events are designed for children, offering a changing variety of games, craft activities and learning experiences.


Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum of South Carolina in Pendleton focuses on getting kids involved with hands-in-the-dirt activities to help them understand how food is grown and produced. They can milk a pretend cow, pull cotton from a boll and operate a cotton gin, plant corn, watch bees at work, and interact with farm animals and chickens.


Steppingstone Farm Museum in Havre de Grace, Maryland, is a former working farm in the fertile land alongside the Susquehanna River. Visitors can watch demonstrations of the rural arts that farmers and their families practiced from 1880 to 1920. Blacksmiths and wood wrights are at work, and in the kitchen, visitors can watch demonstrations on preserving food. The museum features friendly farm animals and special events to include even more hands-on experiences for kids.


Also on a former working farm in Maryland, Evergreen Heritage Center in Frostburg focuses on education, conservation and preservation. The century-old family farm offers educational hands-on programs for both children and adults, with special events on some weekends.


New Hampshire Farm Museum in Milton is set in two neighboring family farms, dating to the 18th century. Each is a long series of attached buildings connecting the house to the barn, a common arrangement in New England that allowed the farmer to access the livestock barn even in severe winter storms. Visitors can see heritage breed farm animals and exhibits illustrating rural life in New England. Frequent special events offer kids a chance to press apples for cider, shell beans, string apples to dry and ride in a horse-drawn wagon.


In Woodstock, Vermont, Billings Farm & Museum is a working farm created in 1871 to demonstrate the value of sound environmental practices in raising livestock — a revolutionary idea at the time. Still carrying on that mission, the farm also illustrates what pre-industrial farming was like, with demonstrations of cattle milking and hands-on activities such as butter-making. A modern museum displays lively exhibits of rural practices including maple sugaring. The newest addition is an outdoor “room” of giant sunflowers.


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