With the desire for increasing our audience engagement and cultivating the next generation of visitors and patrons, in 2018 The Farmers’ Museum developed and launched a new program for little ones called Preschool Tuesday. This multi-sensory, interactive program began in June and ran through the end of the season at the Farm in October. The two to two and a half hour program began each day with play time in our new Grow Patch, a children’s play area in the Main Barn. This was followed by a story, then a visit to the farm to see the animals. Next the children visited Bump Tavern and performed songs with the interpretive staff and concluded with a visit to the Children’s Sensory Garden. The stories, songs, and games were based on a weekly theme, such as Planting a Veggie Garden, Lamb Encounter, Scarecrows and Apples, and Putting Your Garden to Bed. Highlights of the season included hatching chicks from an incubator, observing the lifecycle of butterflies and releasing them into the butterfly garden on the farm, and bottle-feeding the baby calf.
This new program was so popular and successful that at the end of The Farmers’ Museum season in October, Preschool Tuesday moved to Fenimore Art Museum for the colder months, and will return to the Farm in June.
Hoppy Trails Tour
This year we celebrated hops and brewing in the historic village and on the farm with a weekly series of “Tavern Talks” and “Hoppy Trails Tours.” This program took place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and began at Bump Tavern where interpreters spoke about the history of the tavern. Next came a discussion of the history of beer, malting, and brewing, as well as a bit about the history of hops and why hops is important to the beer-making process. This interactive, hands-on presentation offered visitors a look at the components of beer, and various stages of barley in the malting process.
After the discussion in the tavern, interpreters took the visitors out to the hop yard, for a first-hand look at the growing and care of this interesting plant. Often one of the farmers would be on hand to answer questions related to the day-to-day care of the hop vines. After a look at the hop patch, visitors moved on to the hop barn, and learned about cultivating, drying, baling, and selling hops. The presentation concluded with an update on the resurgent farm-brewing and craft-brewing industry in Upstate New York, and occasionally guests were treated to a beer tasting by one of our many local breweries.
Under Where? is part of our popular Museum Quest School Program. Located at The Farmers’ Museum in the More House, Under Where? is one of many specialized learning stations throughout both museums. This station encourages students to learn about fashion, culture, and art in 1840s upstate New York. Each student observed and evaluated a copy of a folk-art painting, fine art painting, or daguerreotype to learn about the fashion of the time. The children were then divided into three groups—one holding images of children, one of women, and one of men, and were asked to think critically about the image: What were they wearing in each example? Was it casual or formal? How were the clothes the same or different than what people wear today?
Once the students evaluated their pictures, they put what they learned into action by examining full sets of clothing for men and women, then lining them up in appropriate order to show how those items would be worn starting with undergarments. The museum teacher then went through the clothing, from undergarments to outer garments, explaining the purpose of each garment and making any corrections as needed. This educational program encouraged observation, thought, and analysis, in a light-hearted and entertaining manner.