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.