Interactive Living History
Interactive Living History
Howell Living History Farm is a time machine that takes you back to the year 1900 – a time when horses and buggies traveled the lanes of Pleasant Valley, and when farms were bordered by snake fences and Osage orange trees.
You were a farmer, then…the kind that could drive a team of horses and plow a furrow with a walking plow. You could build a barn, or deliver a lamb, or bake a loaf of bread from wheat that you grew yourself. And you may have been remembered for the time you canned 200 quarts of tomatoes in a day, or the May Day you went to town in a one-horse sleigh.
Today, if it is time to harvest corn, you can ride up into a field in a horse drawn wagon, help us shock and pick corn, and return to the barnyard to help shell it, grind it, and bake it into cornbread. We invite you to help us plant, cultivate and harvest our crops, to care for our animals, to sweep our barn, to make soap, butter and ice cream, and of course to sit under the maple tree and talk about the future. (The future looks good, by the way. There are rumors of “combines”, horseless buggies and automatic ice cream makers.)
[showhide type="typeA" more_text="Family Trips & Programs" less_text="Less Information" hidden="yes"]
Howell Farm’s “Living History” enriches the present through reenactment of the past. But the past holds more than cultural riches. It holds tangible wealth for present and future generations. As you, the visitor, explore history by walking back in time, you will discover that millions of farmers in Asia, Africa and India are using similar animal-powered technology to feed growing populations and to eliminate the drudgery of hand labor. Howell Farm’s Internship Program provides training for small-farm extension agents who will work overseas teaching others how to introduce or upgrade animal-powered farming systems. It will offer you new insights into the relativity – and utility – of history.
Howell Farm is a place where generations meet and share that gift we call heritage. Join us. It is heritage with a future.
Farm Fun: joining in farm crafts, games and play; snack time. Each week, FarmHands will participate in the Farm’s scheduled craft program, and in a special activity such as a wagon ride, nature walk, game or storytelling.
This year session in the program meet for 7 Saturdays with the exception of the 2nd Fall session, which is only 6 Saturdays.
Application: Parents wishing to enroll in the FarmHands program must attend an organizational meeting held prior to the program starting date unless they have previous been in the program. At this meeting, program content and logistics are explained by our staff and application forms are completed and submitted by parents. Meetings are intended for parents only. Meeting and Session Dates.
Applications cannot be made by mail.
|FarmHands is a program for children 6-9 years old or 10-12 years old. It introduces older children to farm chores, crafts, and games and to seasonal activities which are part of the Farm’s actual operation.
The program is staffed by a FarmHands teacher, who is assisted by one or two FarmHands parents. Class size is limited to ensure program quality.
During the 3-hour long program from 10:00-1:00 for 10-12 year olds and 1:30-4:30pm for 6-9 year olds, FarmHands spend their time on three different types of activities:
|Daily Chores: feeding and watering animals, mixing animal feeds, collecting eggs, etc.|
|Seasonal Work: helping with actual operations, such as:|
|Spring — planting potatoes, bottle feeding lambs, digging the garden|
|Summer — gathering honey, watering the orchard, weighing the pigs|
|Fall — digging potatoes, husking corn, picking pumpkins, making cider|
|Winter — collecting sap for maple syrup, gathering firewood, setting
up lambing pens
|The Hatchery is a weekday morning program for children 3-5 years old. It is designed as a “first-time” farm experience for children, introducing them to animals, crops and farm living through hands-on activities that are safe, fun and educational.
The program is staffed by a Hatchery teacher, who is assisted by one or two Hatchery parents. Class size is limited to ensure program quality.
During the 3 hour program, Hatchery children spend their time on several types of activities:
|Chores: Through daily chore routines, children learn about the needs and products of farm animals. Routines involve some or all of the following: collecting eggs, pumping water for work horses, shelling corn for geese, putting hay in sheep manger, putting straw in calf pen.|
|Seasonal Activities: In the spring, children visit baby animals, plant a garden, and see a sheep being shorn. In the fall, children pick and decorate pumpkins, dig potatoes, husk Indian corn and make a wallow for the pigs.|
|Crafts: Children make crafts using materials from the farm: corncobs, egg shells, wool, feathers, etc. Sometimes a cooking or baking project is done instead of a craft.|
|Storytelling and Singing: Farm related themes are used to reinforce what children have learned about animals, crops and nature.|
|Outdoor Fun: Children explore the farm and its seasons through walks, games and play. Towards the end of the 12 week session, each child will have a chance to ride a horse or pony, and to take a hayride.
Parents wishing to enroll in The Hatchery program must attend an organizational meeting held prior to the program starting date. At this meeting, program content and logistics are explained by our staff and application forms are completed and submitted by parents. Meetings are intended for parents only. Call the farm at 609-737-3299 for meeting dates and fees.
The New Hampshire Farm Museum is a non-profit 501 c3 educational organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and carrying forward New Hampshire’s rural and agricultural heritage. The New Hampshire Farm Museum consists of two adjoining farmsteads situated on 50 acres located on Plummer’s Ridge in Milton, New Hampshire. The historic Jones Farm and the Plummer Homestead are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and were passed down in the same families for two centuries. The Museum operates a working farm growing heirloom varieties of vegetables for our Community Supported Agriculture Program and for sale in our Country store. We raise hens for eggs and keep a small selection of heritage breed farm animals to support our educational efforts. We have displays of agricultural implements and educational exhibits on rural life and agriculture for the visiting public and our many visiting school children. We offer guided tours of the historic Jones farmhouse as well as farm animal tours. Special events and programs, workshops, and day camps are offered throughout the year.
[showhide type=”typeA” more_text=”Family Trips and Programs” less_text=”Hide Information” hidden=”yes”]
Enjoy a visit to our historic working farm and museum. There is plenty to see from agricultural exhibits to heritage breed farm animals and fields of heirloom vegetables and gardens as well as displays of carriages and tractors and guided tours of the historic Jones Farmhouse. We have trails through the woods and fields and picnic tables. You can spend two hours or bring a picnic and spend the day. Or just visit our Country Store for our own farm grown vegetables, eggs from our free range chickens and New Hampshire made products.
Just a few things to keep in mind:
- Photography is welcome but not allowed on the Farmhouse tour except by special arrangement.
- We’re sorry but dogs are not allowed on museum grounds.
- Smoking is not allowed on museum grounds.
- Most buildings are handicapped accessible including the Country Store, the historic farmhouse and the barn.
What To See
The Jones Farmhouse: available by guided tour only, tours hourly.
The Jones Farm and connected farm buildings extend 275 feet and range in date from the 1770s to the early 1900s. Each part of the connected farm structure tells a different story about rural life and work in the past. A tour of the Jones farmhouse allows the visitor to walk through time from Joseph Plumer’s Revolutionary War Era cape, to Levi Jones’ early 19th-century tavern, into the Victorian parlor and dining room, and ending in the early 20th-century farm kitchen. In the Jones farmhouse you will find a vast collection of artifacts utilized in domestic production of textiles and preservation of food, furnishings and myriad household articles highlighting “Yankee ingenuity”.
The Great Barn: explore on your own
Housed within the three-story, 104-foot Great Barn at the Jones Farm is one of New Hampshire’s greatest treasures: a collection of farm tools, implements, and machinery that was used to clear land, plant fields, harvest crops, construct buildings, and maintain community roads. You’ll also see perhaps the most extensive collection of milk bottles from the dairies the once proliferated the New Hampshire countryside. Try the big yellow barn hunt or just look at the exhibits.
The Plummer Homestead: Farmer’s residence, not open to the public
The adjoining farmhouse was acquired by the NH Farm Museum in 1993. The Plummer homestead was owned by the Plummer family (originally spelled Plumer) for two centuries. The Plummer Farm houses our farmer and interns and is only open to the public for scheduled workshops and programs, lectures, guided tours, and special events such as our summer annual meeting and our holiday Wine & Cheese Tasting. The Plummer homestead is the base for our farm operation and houses the main collection of farm animals.
The John York Cider Mill: explore on your own
Between the Jones and the Plummer farms sits a hexagonal-shaped timber frame building. The building was constructed by volunteers in 2001 and houses an apple exhibit and a massive horse-powered knob mill that dates to the early 19th century. Cider was the most common table drink of early New England and most towns had at least one or two cider mills. Our cider mill is dedicated to John York, one of the founders of the Farm Museum.
The Pole Barn Tractor & Carriage Display: explore on your own
Our collection of historic tractors and carriages is on display in the pole barn which was constructed by volunteers in 2000.
The Blacksmith Shop: Open for demonstrations most Saturdays
Although the blacksmith shop is not original to the Jones Farm (it was moved here from Winnisquam), it is representative of farm structures common to rural New Hampshire. Farmers often adopted a skill such as blacksmithing which allowed them to repair their own equipment, make their tools, and shoe their horses as well as diversify their income doing these tasks for others. This shop was built by Charles Cate in Winnisquam and was later moved to Belmont where it stood on the farm of the late Arthur Hill. Many of the tools in the shop came from these two owners and date to the mid- 19th century.
The Shoe Shop
The shoe shop was relocated to the Farm Museum from Newton Junction, NH, where it was built around 1870. Small structures like our shoe shop were common rural structures known as “ten footers” as they are about ten foot square. This shop was used for piecework and the assembly of shoes; this kind of skill allowed farm families to earn cash during the long winter.
The Forest Trails: ask for a map in our Country Store
The Farm Museum’s 50 acres of fields and forest include a beautiful network of woodland trails. Bring your hiking boots and explore the trails as well as the adjacent 300-acre Jones Forest owned by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. You may also want to include a visit to the family cemetery on your hike.
Serene country estate landscaped by Thomas Meehan & Sons to highlight the Colonial Revival mansion and surrounding farmland of 170 acres. Originally constructed about 1720, the mansion was redesigned and enlarged by architect Arthur Brockie in 1901 to enhance a country gentleman’s lifestyle. Fully furnished with antiques collected by former Pennsylvania Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker reflecting his interests in early Pennsylvania history, German and Dutch settlers, native Americans, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. The collection also includes Governor Pennypacker’s political (1903 – 1907), genealogical and personal papers. Research by appointment. Scope of Collections
Activities throughout the year include exhibits, nature walks, workshops, and special events. Picnic facilities available. Large group and school tours are requested to call in advance to schedule visits. First floor of mansion and restrooms are handicap accessible.
[showhide type=”typeA” more_text=”Family Trips – Click Here” less_text=”Hide Information” hidden=”yes”]
2014 Civil War Reunion
Saturday, May 31, 2014 ~ 10 am to 5 pm
& Sunday, June 1, 2014 ~ 10 am to 4 pm
With cannons blasting and soldiers marching, the Civil War arrives in Montgomery County!
Don’t miss this outstanding two-day event with hundreds of infantry, artillery, and living historians. The event is great for all ages. Especially for kids, come to the Be a Soldier program.
The event and parking are free. Refreshments will be able for purchase.
Please call 610-287-9349 or email
PennypackerMills@MontcoPA.org for more information.
Ongoing Demonstrations, Activities and Shopping Opportunites
Experience bread baking, hair fashion, children’s dolls, phrenology, children’s clothing, & cooking. Also, visit the
military engineers and learn about map making & surveying.
Visitors are welcome to visit both Confederate & Union camps where they can inspect the camps, food preparation, meet soldiers & learn about life in the Infantry.
Saturday, see Matthew Dodd throughout the day on the Mansion Porch. Later in the day, stay after the battle for a early evening concert with the Irish Band of the PA 69th!
Stop by both Artillery camps to learn about the cannons, roles of the crew, and ammunition. It’s a blast!
Our merchants sell a wide variety of Civil War Era merchandise from fabric & sewing needs, military & civilian clothing, and wooden toys & furniture.
Throughout the weekend tour the decorated mansion of Samuel Pennypacker and his family & visit the new exhibit
in the Galleries.
Purchase old fashioned toys, period inspired gifts, and books. Buy your copy of Six Weeks in Uniform, Governor Pennypacker’s account of his experience in the Pennsylvania militia .
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat’s 2½-hour journey begins at the historic 1892 Essex Station for a 12-mile, narrated round-trip into the heart of the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley – designated “one of the last great places on earth” by the Nature Conservancy.
The steam locomotive pulls vintage coaches at 20 mph through the quintessential New England towns of Deep River and Chester. The picturesque countryside includes pristine meadows, a quaint farm, a millpond with waterfall, and trestles and bridges over rivers and creeks. A natural highlight is the undeveloped Selden Neck State Park, accessible only by boat.
Essex Steam Train offers unique access to several coves and preserves, immersing passengers in an on-board eco-excursion. The train travels near the tidal wetlands of Pratt Cove and Chester Creek – – bountiful, natural habitats for birds. Among those typically spotted are Cormorants, Ducks, Swans, Greenland Geese, Blue Heron, Egrets, and Red-winged Blackbirds. In February and March, the majestic Bald Eagle is the star of the show, when it migrates south to the Connecticut River Valley from Canada and Maine.
At Deep River Landing, passengers are escorted onto the Becky Thatcher riverboat for a 1¼- hour cruise along the Connecticut River. The visual serenity of the river valley is on full display from Becky’s multiple decks. The deep water, coves, inlets, marshes, wildlife, and rocky shoreline are all at once, simply breathtaking! Just as impressive are the historic sights including Gillette Castle, Goodspeed Opera House, and the Haddam Swing Bridge. Upon Becky’s return to Deep River Landing, the steam train welcomes passengers for the return trip back to Essex Station.
[showhide type="pressrelease" more_text="Family Trips" less_text="Hide Information" hidden="yes"]
|2014 Seasonal Trains and Special Events|
President’s Day weekend (Feb 15-16)
Eagle Watch special!
|Essex Clipper Dinner Train
May 10 through October 26
|North Pole Express
A magical evening train ride to the North Pole!
Weekends and Weekdays
Nov 14 through Dec 28
|Your Hand on the Throttle
Learn to drive a steam locomotive!
April 4-6 and April 11-13
Oct 31-Nov 2 and November 7-9
|Hot Steamed Jazz Festival
Hosted at Essex Station!
A weekend afternoon train ride with Santa!
Weekends from Nov 28 through Dec 23
|Day Out with Thomas
Two very special weekends!
April 26-27 & May 3-4
Ride the train to the Big Top!
July 19-20 and 26-27
An extended ride south to Old Saybrook
May 10-11, June 7-8, July 4-6,
Aug 2-3, Sept 6-7, Oct 4-5 – 10:00 am
A party on a Little Red Caboose? What a good idea! What fun!
Kids of all ages will enjoy this unique setting for a party that will be long remembered.
The caboose can accommodate up to 18 people (16 children & 2 adults) on an eleven-mile trip behind a coal burning steam locomotive in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley.
A host will be on board to point out interesting places along the line and tell about life aboard the caboose.
Our caboose is owned by the non-profit Friends of the Valley Railroad, and a portion of the fare is donated to them.