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First Fridays at the Frontier Culture Museum

May 3, 2009

Frontier Culture Museum

I took my children to Staunton’s Frontier Culture Museum on Friday night because I read on Twitter that baby lambs had recently been born.  It was our first time to visit together.  The last time I had been at the museum I was probably a high school student.  So it had been a very long time for me and I remembered little about it.  At the Visitors Center I got a wagon in case the circuit around the farms was too long for my children to walk.  It was a lot of fun.

We were one of the first families to arrive.  We saw a big grey goose at the English farm and we saw some of the sheep.  Then we went into the farmhouse and saw piles of wool on the floor.  We went up a very narrow staircase to see the bedrooms.  Lots more people arrived and  it started to feel crowded inside the house.  So we went back outside to continue to look for more farm animals.  Across the road we saw a sheep with beautiful curly long wool that hadn’t been sheared yet.  It was so gentle and sat right by the fence so that anyone could pet its head.  My children enjoyed petting it and seemed to be very excited that we were able to get so close to the animals.

They got into the wagon and I pulled them around the curved road between two ponds.  The pond on the right was covered in green algae.  We saw moss growing on the rock walls and the trees all in bloom.  I said that I liked the way it smelled and my daughter quipped, “It smells like healthy nature here.”

When we arrived at the Irish Forge we saw that a man was making nails.  It was fun to watch his demonstration and see how he could pump air into the fire to make it hotter.  We passed the nail around so that everyone in the room could see it.  The clinking and whooshing sounds in the forge and the smell of coal made me think of the boiler room in Spirited Away.

Next we visited the Irish farm where we saw two small pigs fenced in by a thick rock wall. One was pink and the other one was black with a few white hairs.  My children fed the pigs some kernels of corn they found near the iron gate.  The black pig let them touch him, but the pink pig stayed out of arms reach.  Inside the farmhouse we saw a spinning wheel and a weaving loom.  At the side of the house there were more sheep with two very young playful lambs.

I pulled the wagon over to a field beside the German barn where there was a cow with her calf.  The calf was head-butting the cow’s udders to make the milk come down.  My children thought that was funny.  The farmer there said he could show us the chickens so we followed him over to the German barn.  They were already resting for the night because they go inside around 4:30 in the afternoon.  He went in and brought out a beautiful butterscotch-colored chicken with lots of feathers on her head.  We also saw a grey cat at the German farm.

Then we went back to the music tent between the German and Irish farms and we listened to a group of three men play a violin, a banjo, a dulcimer and a mandolin.  Some of the children enjoyed dancing and we all clapped for the musicians.  A man in a mask of ivy led everyone in a procession to a bonfire at the Irish farm.  They lit the fire with a candle and the masked man announced that since it was May Day we would choose a May Queen and a May King from among all the children in the crowd.  Both of my children participated by telling their names and answering an interview question.  They were disappointed that they weren’t the winners, but my daughter eventually comforted herself by saying that all the children could be queens and kings in their own minds.

We went up the hill towards the Visitors Center and saw another large gentle sheep and a cow grazing together.  The cow didn’t come to the fence, but the sheep was happy to lie down and be touched.  It had been sheared.  That last part of the road was a challenge for me because I was pulling my children uphill in the wagon and feeling tired.  Two hours was just enough time to enjoy being there.  I returned the wagon and we all went to the restroom to wash our hands.  My children still had lots of energy, but I was beginning to lose my patience as I herded them to the van.

First Fridays continue in June, July, August and September.  The Frontier Culture Museum offers free admission from 6-8 on the first Friday night of each of the summer months.

Follow @FrontierCulture on Twitter if you are interested.

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Frontier Culture Museum

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Frontier Culture Museum

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  1. May 4, 2009 11:11 am

    I wish they offered something like that here. It sounds like you had a wonderful time!

    • May 8, 2009 4:27 pm

      We did have a wonderful time, Kemi. I always enjoy reading about the nice places you take your family too!

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