This was my first experience with a living history museum. Back in the early 80s we took a trip to Cooperstown, New York for the express purpose of visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame and stumbled over this place.
While the highlight of the trip for my husband and son was the Hall of Fame, I was enthralled with the entire experience of stepping back in time and living history.
I was hooked and planned future trips around the same type of museums in general.
The site of The Farmers’ Museum has deep roots in New York State’s rural past. The land has been part of a working farm since 1813, when it was owned by James Fenimore Cooper. Judge Samuel Nelson, whose office is part of The Farmers’ Museum Village, bought the farm in 1829 and raised sheep. Fenimore Farm, as it came to be known, changed hands again in the 1870s, when it was acquired by the Clark family.
In 1918, Edward Severin Clark built a showcase complex at Fenimore Farm for his prize herd of cattle. The barn, creamery, and herdsman’s cottage designed by architect Frank Whiting in the Colonial Revival style and constructed of local stone still stand today and are an integral part of the museum. Today, they house museum offices, exhibition spaces, and public areas. The structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Farmers’ Museum opened its doors to the public in 1944. At that time, the museum had 5,000 tools and objects, including important collections amassed by the Otsego County Historical Society; William B. Sprague, founder of the Early American Industries Association; and the Wyckoff family, one of Brooklyn’s oldest farming families. Today the museum’s collections number more than 23,000 artifacts.
The Farmers’ Museum is a private, non-governmental educational organization. It is closely affiliated with its sister organization, Fenimore Art Museum.
The Homeplace 1850’s Working farm and living History Museum
Immerse yourself in a history in this pre Civil War farm where interpreters in period dress go about their daily seasonal chores. You’ll find many authentic artifacts, structures, endangered breeds of livestock and even heirloom plants and field crops.
We visited a few years ago and that visit formed the basis for the multi family farm in A Twist of Tobacco. The feel; the smell; the very atmosphere would wash over me as I wrote about the everyday lives of my ancestors.
If you are ever in the north Tennessee area take time to spend the day experiencing this hidden gem. And while in the area be sure to visit Dover and Ft. Donelson.
First of all, know your subject and understand the era you are writing about.
You ask, “How do I do that?” Of course the obvious answer is, Read, Read, Read.
But reading is only a start, it doesn’t really give you enough of the sensory stimuli necessary to faithfully write historical fiction. So to really learn about the times you are interested in, you need to actually see artifacts from that era. It’s difficult to write about grinding coffee if you’ve never seen a coffee grinder.
Visit museums. There is a wealth of information and historic (and mundane) items in museums.
But indoor museums with artifacts in cases behind glass is still the tip of the research iceberg. To really immerse yourself in the feel of the times visit living museums. There are hundreds of them and there’s nothing like walking into a colonial homestead and smelling the bread baking and hearing the chickens clucking.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be blogging some of the most famous and a few obscure villages in the wonderful United States of America.
For starters let’s begin at the beginning. Jamestown Settlement the first permanent settlement in colonial America.
I love this story of Tice McCoy as he comes to a crossroads in his marriage, realizing the woman he loves no longer shares the same feelings for him. Follow Tice as he searches for a lasting love. He thinks he finds her, but soon realizes that not all people share his values and love for family. He meets the beautiful Cat, an independent woman of means. He is stricken by her honesty. Will Tice finally find love or is Cat just another empty promise?
Justice Unbalanced A story of lust, love loss and vengeance
Good news to know there is a sequel coming. “Innocence Lost” has something for every reader. It is bold in it’s portrayal of life in pre and post Civil War history. The author has managed to tackle vital moral issues that are still with us to this day. It is not a fluff romance novel. It is so much more than that in so many ways, as the reader follows an innocent young girl from Arkansas who is faced with having to face many moral dilemmas with strength and grace as she navigates through being thrust into big city life in St Louis, Missouri without the family she cherished back home. She manages to embrace a very different kind of family life with compassion and strength. She proves that love of God and love of humanity prevails. Thank you, Rita for your courage and please don’t stop writing.We readers need you now more than ever.
📚📕The Legend of Henrietta Clay is a New series by Rita Ownby Holcomb📕📚
See all the selections from Author Rita Ownby Holcomb
The boys climbed over the rail fence and Jim threw a rope in his best cowboy fashion and lassoed the hog. They tightened the rope around his neck and led him to the trees. Thinking he was to be fed, the hog stood patiently.
Eli walked up and, bowing his head, quietly said, “Thank you, Lord, for this bounty we are about to receive.”