Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What's Coming This Summer: The Kid's on the Farm Barn

Kids on the Farm Barn (Janette’s Barn)

This year, you may have noticed some cement work along the lane next to the Antique Farm Equipment Barn.  This is the location of the future Kids on the Farm Barn, or as many call it, Janette’s Barn.  We are hoping that this new and exciting addition to our museum complex will be completed in this summer and open for Rust 'N Dust in August.

One of the reasons that it is nicknamed, Janette’s Barn, is because Janette Weimer, our Acquisitions Committee Chair, came up with the idea for a place where children (and adults) can experience some of the things that kids and adults experienced on a farm; Things like milking a cow, weighing and grading eggs, using a hand water pump, and doing laundry with a washboard. 

It all began when Janette was put in charge of children’s activities at Heritage Park, in Hanover, Michigan.  She started out with carnival type games.  When she brought in rubber-band rifles for the kids to use, she began to get more ideas for hands on activities that related to farm experiences.  The old water pump was the first thing she found and added. Next came the laundry equipment.  She continued to add things as she found them or when people brought them to her.

One of the most popular items, is Moo Moo the cow. Her prototype originally came on loan from the Greenstone Credit Union.  She was a wooden cow with a bucket inside of her.  When you filled this with liquid, she was able to be milked just like a real cow.  Over time, Janette knew that if we had our own cow, we could use it for more events.  So Lomar and TSC donated the materials and built it.  Ann Stevens painted it.  We now had our very own Moo Moo the cow. 

Because the activities were outside in the sun,the local Lion’s club loaned her a tent to use every year. 

One day, while visiting Sauder Village in Ohio, she realized that she needed a real farm style building for her activities.  Janette put together a plan.  In it, she told the men that if they built her a barn, she would allow them to store their lawn mower inside it in the winter.   Whether or not this was the selling point, or the fact that her area was very popular with Heritage Park visitors,  Janette got her wish.  They would build her a Kid’s on the Farm Barn.

During the planning stages, Don White suggested that the barn be constructed as a timber frame post and beam barn.  Janette also had requests such as a stanchion for a cow, a hay mow in the loft, pulleys on the end of the barn to pull bales of straw up into thetop of barn, a chute for chicken feed to come down, and a small workbench.  She would also like to have non-electric and non-fire lanterns for light and d├ęcor.  One of her dreams is to have a petting zoo with real farm animals during Rust ‘N Dust days in August.  

In the fall of 2017, a 16’ x 24’cement slab was poured.  The barn walls were built and are currently stacked on pallets in the Antique Farm Barn.  Soon, the volunteers will begin to assemble the barn.  Work on the roof will begin as soon as the walls are in place.Their goal is for it to be fully functional by Rust ‘N Dust in August. 

So, when you visit the Museum and Heritage Park this summer, you will see the start of this new exhibit near our Sugar Shack.  If you have some carpentry experience, we would love to have you join our volunteers in constructing this new barn.  Give us a call!  517-563-8927.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Bells Are Ringing...

The Bells Are Ringing...

"Hello, Rose.  They (the bells) won't be ringing for you ever again."  So goes the final moments of Marilyn Monroe's character in the 1953  thriller movie, Niagara.  In this film noir, the bell tower at Niagara Falls played a star part.  In fact if you travel to Niagara Falls today, the same bell tower is there, still playing their bells, just not for her.

Bells have played an important part in everyone's lives for centuries.  The first bell reportedly was created around 2000 BC.  They are everywhere, from church steeples, to teacher desks, to Big Ben in London, to the Conklin  Museum's latest exhibit.

We will be celebrating our museum Spring Opening Sunday, May 6, with refreshments, Spring and Mother's Day crafts for children, our new bell exhibit and a book signing event by Ward Rearick.

Last year Phyllis LaChance, a past local resident, donated her personal collection of 84 bells.  From small to large, familiar to unique, these bells have their own individual sound.    You can visit this new and interesting exhibit from 1 until 5pm. It will be available during our regular museum Sunday hours throughout the summer and fall.  Private tours are also available by calling our office at (517)5638927.

In addition to this exhibit, we will also be hosting local author, Ward Rearick.  He has written several books about our area's history: The History of the Village of Mosherville, The History of Stoney Point, and his newest book, The History of the Village of Scipio (East Mosherville).   Mr. Rearick will be available for book signings at our opening event.

The Heritage Park and the Conklin Museum have many exciting events coming this season.  Watch for information on our 4th of July Celebration, Rust 'N Dust in August, Harvest Home and Garden Luncheon in September, Corn Maze in October, and our Christmas Open House with a visit from Santa and his Elves.  In addition, the museum is working on a large exhibit called, Memories of Service.  This new exhibit coming in October, will spotlight local veterans and their families' memories of the Civil War up through the current conflict.  We are looking for artifacts and memories/stories to include.  If you would like to participate please call Linda at the Hanover Horton Area Historical Society (517) 563 8927.  Or use our email:

We are looking forward to a wonderful museum season!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Maple Syrup Time is Coming!

I don’t care what that groundhog saw in Pennsylvania earlier this month, as a resident of the Hanover-Horton Area, I know that there are three things that tell me spring is really, truly on the way; The Frosty King Ice Cream Shop opens, (Feb 11), the Hanover Market starts selling their world-famous Potato and Macaroni salads, and there are buckets hanging from the maple trees.

In fact, just before this last onslaught of cold weather and snow, someone in the area already had their milk jugs fastened to their maple trees. 

Gathering the maple sap has been a tradition in America since before the European explorers come to our shores.  The best tree for tapping is the Sugar Maple Don’t get too excited about tapping that one maple tree in your yard though, as it takes hours of cooking to change 40 parts of maple sap into 1-part maple syrup!

Luckily, the Hanover Horton Area Historical Society does all that work for you and you can watch them doing it!  We make our Maple Syrup the old-fashioned way, in an old fashion style Sugar Shack on our property. 

Starting sometime around the middle of February, when daytime temperatures are above 40’, and nighttime temperatures are in the 20’s, the sap starts to “run”.  It is during this time, that we place “taps” into the trees and hang our buckets.

We spend the next month gathering the buckets of sap, cooking it down in our Maple Syrup Shack, and bottling it in our Event Center kitchen.

Our annual Maple Syrup Festival is on March 17th this year.  We have a pancake breakfast in the morning and lots of activities all day long.  There will be demonstrations, hands-on-activities, displays, and storytellers.  Love cooking with maple syrup?  We have a maple syrup cooking contest where you can showcase your favorite recipe.  We are also holding a bake sale featuring several products made from maple syrup.  For a special treat, pick up some of our delicious maple cotton candy and maple popcorn.  If you have never tried those two things before, you will not want to miss this opportunity to sample them!

Our pancake breakfast starts at 7 am.  All the events start at 10 am.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Interview With Santa

Santa's Chair
Welcome!  Last night, we had an unexpected visitor at the museum!  Santa Clause saw our lights on and stopped in for a chat and to try out his chair. While he was there, I took the opportunity to ask him some questions.

ME:  So Santa, what's happening up at the North Pole?
SANTA:  Oh, so many things!  Mrs. Clause is busy baking and touching up my suit.  She is also crocheting some new slippers for me.  I keep forgetting to take them off when I walk to the barn to visit with my reindeer, so they wear out very fast.
ME:  How about your Elves?
SANTA:  Oh, they are working so hard.  As fast as I send in the orders I get from all the children, they get right to work and complete them.  They are the best Elves in the whole world!  My right hand Elf, Sandy, keeps them all busy, but still makes sure they have time to relax, eat cookies, and play in the snow.
ME:  They play in the snow?
SANTA:  They sure do.  They make the best snow angels, and forts.  Why last week we even had a snowball throwing contest.  At least until, someone's snowball went through the cafeteria window.  But we got it fixed and all is well.
ME:  So Santa, you are coming to Hanover on December 3rd?
SANTA:  Why yes I am!  I love coming to Hanover to visit with all the area children. Don't you know that the Hanover Horton Area children are the best kids ever.  They have a very low percentage of naughty kids here.  And I love visiting all the rooms in the museum, and even, after everyone has left, I sometimes sit down and play one of the organs!  But the most exciting thing that you people here do is to let me ride on your firetruck!  I love firetrucks!
ME:  Don't forget Santa, that we will have cookies and punch at Christmas Open House for everyone.
SANTA:  Oh, I won't forget that!  I also hear that there will be a bake sale, Christmas story book reading, crafts, and people can tour the museum and see all of these wonderful decorations.  It looks like all of the Hanover Horton Elves have been very busy decorating!
Me:  It was sure nice of you to visit us tonight, Santa.  I know my kids are very excited to see you and tell you what they want for Christmas.
SANTA:  I can't wait to talk to them.  And parents, remember that you can take pictures, too!  Well, I must be on my way.  But I will be back on Sunday, December 3rd.  I plan on being at the fire barn down the street at 1:30 pm and arriving at the museum on that firetruck around 2.  So see you then!

And with that Santa shook my hand and left.  I never did see any reindeer out there when I looked, but I am pretty sure I heard the sound of sleigh bells!  Merry Christmas everyone and see you at the museum!