LIVING HISTORY MUSEUMS: New Jersey to Wisconsin
Reprinted by permission from "Country Living", c. 1993 by the
Hearst Corporation. This list of notable Living-History museums across the U.S.A. appeared as a series of articles in Country Living (April, May, and July 1993). This list is organized by state and then by city name. Enjoy and happy travels!
Historic Batsto Village
Wharton State Forest, RD #9 Batsto, Hammonton 08037; (609) 561-3262.
Batsto, once a 19th-century ironworks and glassmaking industrial center, is now a museum village consisting of 33 historic buildings and structures. The Batsto Furnace furnished munitions for the American Revolution and the War of 1812, and the Batsto post Office, which was founded 140 years ago, is the longest-running post office in the country not to have changed either its name or location.
The Village of Waterloo
525 Village of Waterloo, Stanhope 07874; (201) 347-0900.
Waterloo features art objects, furniture, and antiques from the Colonial era to the Victorian period. Throughout the Village, costumed guides demonstrate Colonial and Victorian needle arts, pottery making, and flower drying. Walk though a Victorian garden or experience the 17th-century Native American culture of Lenape Village. Longhouses, women's quarters, and burial grounds are on exhibit.
El Rancho de Las Golondrinas
Route 14, Box 214, Sante Fe 87505; (505) 471-2261.
Founded in 1710, Las Golondrinas served as an overnight stop on the Royal Road to Mexico City during the 18th and 19th centuries. At this living-history museum, 18th-century Spanish culture and activities are portrayed through historic structures and crafts demonstrations. The spring, summer, and harvest festivals feature costumed villagers performing music, dances, and plays native to Spanish settlers in New Mexico.
Museum Village Road, Monroe 10950; (914) 782-8247.
This living history museum's summertime apprentice program pairs children ages 9 to 12 with village craftspeople, such as the blacksmith and the weaver, so they can experience the trade and chores of an 1880s agrarian community. With 25 restored exhibition buildings, the village houses collections of 19th-century industrial and decorative arts objects and sponsors an old-fashioned traveling circus and birthday parties for children.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration
Nassau County Department of Recreation and Parks, Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage 11804; (516) 572-8400.
On this 200-acre site, costumed guides reenact domestic, agricultural, and trade activities from pre-Civil War Long Island. Victorian lawn games, mock 19th-century political campaigning, and other special events take place in and around the village's 55 restored buildings.
Oconaluftee Indian Village
P. O. Box 398, Cherokee 28719; (704) 497-2111.
On a 30-acre forested Cherokee reservation, Oconaluftee re-creates the history and traditions of the Cherokee, a tribe native to the southern Appalachians. Because the eastern Cherokees were a non-migratory people, they lived on this site in permanent houses, not portable tepees or wigwams. At Oconaluftee you'll find a 16th-century stuccolike dwelling; a c. 1750 log house; a "square ground," or small outdoor amphitheater; and a wooden council house. Cherokee guides, wearing traditional dress, demonstrate beadwork, pottery, and basket weaving. A Cherokee botanical garden and nature trail feature plants native to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Old Salem Inc.
Box F, Salem Station, Winston-Salem 27108; (919) 721-7300.
Familiarize yourself with the daily life of the Moravian people, a Protestant group that first came to the United States from Germany in 1735. At Old Salem, home activities and crafts are re-created, and historic plants are grown exclusively in the more than 30 gardens. The spring and summer are chock-full of activities for all age groups. Highlights include lantern making and learning about old-fashioned flowers suitable for period gardens.
Hale Farm & Village
P.O. Box 296, Bath 44210-0296; (330) 666-3711.
Best known for its historic re-enactments of mid-1800s rural life, the Hale Farm & village showcases a wide range of architectural styles, including Eclectic, Greek Revival, and Federal. Also of note: craftspeople demonstrating glassblowing, blacksmithing, and maple sugaring.
1982 Velma Avenue, Columbus 43211-2497; (614) 297-2300.
Pastureland, a duck pond, and gardens punctuate this re-created 1860s rural community. Costumed interpreters provide insight on 19th-century life, including the circumstances of minority groups, such as free African-Americans, during the Civil War era. During the summer, root for the Ohio Village Muffins, a 19th-century-style "baseball" team.
4 Yardley Avenue, Fallsington 19054; (215) 295-6567.
Founded in 1682, Fallsington once provided a haven from religious persecution for English Quakers. Today, the 300-year-old inhabited village contains six historic buildings. Three of them--including a restored log home, tavern, and an 18th-century residence--are open to the public. Lectures and workshops are scheduled regularly. In the past, topics have included historic landscapes.
Ashley River Road, Charleston 29414-7206; (843) 556-6020.
Facing the banks of the Ashley River, this preserved 18th-century plantation features volunteers in period dress tending to such tasks as woodworking and blacksmithing. The garden, modeled after 17th-century European examples, is purportedly the oldest landscaped garden in the United States-rare camellias, azaleas, kalmia, magnolias, and crepe myrtle abound.
Museum of Appalachia
Box 0318, Highway 61, Norris 37828; (865) 494-7680.
The Museum of Appalachia gathers Appalachian artifacts from Tennessee and neighboring states and records the history of each object as well as the stories and personal history of its owners. At this 75-acre living history museum, you'll find restored log cabins (some with dirt floors), a 19th-century schoolhouse, and special events like the annual Fall Homecoming. This event, which takes place in October, features molasses making, goat milking, papermaking (from milkweed!), the spinning of dog hair into thread, storytelling, fiddling, and bluegrass music.
Old City Park
1717 Gano Street, Dallas 72515; (214) 421-5141.
From rustic log cabins to grand Antebellum mansions, Old City Park contains 35 restored buildings manned by costumed guides who recount the history of Dallas' founding from the pioneering 1840s to the late Victorian era.
Ronald V. Jensen Living Historical Farm
4025 South Highway 89-91, Wellsville 84339; (801) 245-4064.
Nestled between two mountain ranges, this authentic 1917 site depicts a typical Mormon family farm. Interpreters in period clothing demonstrate family life on the farm, including wheat threshing with a period steam engine.
Route 7, P.O. Box 10, Shelburne 05482; (802) 985-3344.
A covered bridge leads visitors into the Shelburne Museum, a 100-acre museum village containing 25 restored and relocated New England buildings dating to the 18th century. An extensive collection of original folk art and Americana is also on view.
Appomattox Court House
P.O. Box 218, Appomattox 24522-0218; (804) 352-8987.
Appomattox Court House, where General Lee surrendered to General Grant, is now an educational site consisting of restored buildings. Interpreters in period costume explain family life and the events leading up to the end of the Civil War in 1865. In summer months, period characters express their views and answer visitors' questions.
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
P.O. Box 1776, Williamsburg 23187; (804) 229-1000.
The 220-acre Colonial Williamsburg includes 88 restored original buildings, 50 major reconstructions, and 40 exhibition halls encompassing the original city, founded in 1699 on the eve of the Revolutionary War. Colonial Williamsburg today offers an extensive assortment of educational programs and events. Past programs have depicted aspects of 18th-century African culture, including "night-walking," the evening social meeting of slaves; a Revolutionary War military inquire; a witchcraft trial; the restaging of 18th-century comedies; and the re-enactment of the 1719 piracy trial of an alleged member of Blackbeard's crew.
P.O. Drawer JF, Williamsburg 23187; (804) 229-1607.
Centuries before 1607--the year British entrepreneurs established North America's first permanent English settlement at Jamestown--Native Americans were thriving in the area that is re-created at this settlement. At the Powhatan Indian Village, a simulation of the Indian settlement at Jamestown, you'll see bark-covered longhouses, a native garden, and a ceremonial dance circle. In demonstrations of Powhatan life, visitors watch docents growing and preparing native foods, crafting pottery, tanning deerskin, and making tools from bone. During the annual Virginia Indian Heritage Festival, Native Americans celebrate their culture with ceremonial dances, games, storytelling, and demonstrations of traditional native crafts and foods. The Indian Village leads to a pier where reproductions of the three vessels that transported the Jamestown Colonists to Virginia are docked. Inside re-created James Fort stand thatched-roof buildings where interpreters engage in activities typically performed by early 17th-century Jamestown Colonists.
Old World Wisconsin
South 103 West 37890, Highway 67, Eagle 53119; (262) 594-6300.
Located on 576 acres in a state forest, Old World Wisconsin is an outdoor museum dedicated to preserving the culture and architecture of rural Wisconsin's ethnic immigrants. Nineteenth- and early-20th-century farmsteads, representing Wisconsin's German, Finnish, Norwegian, and Danish roots, have been painstakingly re-created and restored.
Ozaukee County Pioneer Village
P.O. Box 206, Cedarburg 53012; (414) 377-4510.
Consisting of 22 authentic buildings and furnishings, Pioneer Village represents the period spanning 1840 to 1900, when the Ozaukee pioneers inhabited the area. Costumed guides highlight points of interest in the village, and pioneer skills are demonstrated for visitors every Sunday. Other highlights include a beehive oven and an operational blacksmith's shop.
Reprinted by permission from "Country Living", c. 1993 by the
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