Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Creating The Farmers' Museum: Get Moving!

By: Erin Crissman, Curator
American outdoor living history museums, like The Farmers’ Museum, are 20th century creations. Skansen in Sweden is the world’s oldest, started in 1891. Some open-air museums, like Williamsburg (1927), are entire restored towns. Others, like The Farmers’ Museum (1942) are village settings created by moving relatively local historic buildings to a central location. Some, like The Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village (1929), have buildings and artifacts from across the country! When beginning to re-create a historic village in the 1940s, the Museum’s founding director, Louis C. Jones, didn’t have very far to go. Across the street, the New York State Historical Association and Fenimore House (today the Fenimore Art Museum) had a growing collection of primary source material – paintings, drawings, lithographs that illustrated what New York’s villages had looked like in 100 years ago. You can see one of the project’s most influential works here. Jones and early museum staff set out to collect all of the buildings important to a New York village. The first buildings were Todd’s Store, Filers Corners Schoolhouse, and Bump Tavern. Below are photographs of some of the museum's buildings in transition.
Louis C. Jones oversees moving Dr. Jackson's Office from Westford, NY
Re-constructing Fields' Blacksmith Shop -1950s

A crane positions the rear wing of the Westcott Shop -1997

Moving Cornwallville Church for the second time. It was originally placed behind Lippitt farmhouse, in the background of this photo. - 1990s

1 comment:

Joshua Muse said...

The construction process that went into all of these large scale living history museums is fascinating.

We have thousands of great photos from the restoration here at Colonial Williamsburg, but it's relatively rare that there is an opportunity to show them to the public.

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