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9 Living History Farms In The USA To Visit

Living history farms preserve the old farming practices of the 16th to 19th centuries. They are still operating farms but also function as museums, teaching visitors about the history of agricultural practices in different regions. 

Living history farms are always immersive. The staff and management wear period pieces and use traditional tools from the past. The plants in these farms are always native to the region and period. In some historical farms, visitors are encouraged to participate by making hay, tilling the ground, or milking cows.

This article explores nine living history farms in North America, the United States of America. We will explore the history of the Georgia Museum of Agriculture, Barrington Living History Farm, Kline Creek Farm, and many more.  

Living History Farms In The United States Of America 

1. Ardenwood Historic Farm

Ardenwood Historic Farm
Photo by Mactographer on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The Ardenwood Historic Farm was once the estate of George and Clara Patterson. Their family has used the land for over 100 years, since the 1850s. The Ardenwood Historic Farm shows the roles of farms in providing resources, innovation, and creating communities. The East Bay Regional Park District revived the farm machinery and staff. It operated the property as it was functioning in the 1850s. 

The farm invites volunteers and visitors to join the harvest and processing of crops native to the area. These crops include hay, corn, and wheat. There is also an animal farm housing animals, a hay barn, a blacksmith shop, and an outdoor kitchen for the staff. The farm is open to visitors from January to March and April through the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through December.

The Ardenwood Farm is also home to 99+ species of birds. In the Victorian Garden, you will find nuthatches, kinglets, owls, flycatchers, and egret bird species. There are also falcons, hummingbirds, gulls, finches, and sparrows.  

The entry fees to the historic farm are cheap. The regular entry fees for adults are $4, children pay $2, and seniors pay $3. Entry tickets are more expensive during special events. Children are to pay $5-$25, $8-$30 for adults, and $6-$30 for seniors. 

See The Ardenwood Historic Farm.

2. The Farmers' Museum

The Farmers' Museum
Photo by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The Farmers’ Museum is a private, non-governmental educational organization that reflects the past rural life in New York. James Fenimore Cooper originally owned the farm in 1813, but Judge Samuel Nelson bought it in 1829. His office is one of the attractions. Judge Samuel raised sheep on the farm until he sold it to the Clark family in the 1870s.  

Edward Everin Clark constructed a showcase for his prized herd of cattle in 1918. Frank Whiting constructed the barn, creamery, and herdsman cottage with local stone in the Colonial Revival Style. These buildings are still a vital part of the museum. They opened the museum to the general public in 1944.

The Farmers’ Museum has over 23,000 artifacts showcasing 19th-century farm life in New York. It also works with the Fenimore Art Museum to preserve its history. The museum also includes Cooperstown, a beautiful Lake Otsego village with many historic structures and fascinating stories. It is one of the primary attractions of the Farmers’ Museum. 

Check their website, The Farmers’ Museum.

3. Barrington Living History Farm

The Barrington Plantation was the original home of Dr. Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas. For over a decade, the Jones family home has been one of the major attractions of the Living History Farm. 

A visit to the farm will show you the Cooking Quarter, where enslaved people like Jake, Mary, and Willis cooked after a day's work. You will also experience what it was like for women in the 1850s. The farm is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Individual or group tickets are available. 

See the Barrington Living History Farm.

4. Georgia Museum of Agriculture

Georgia Museum of Agriculture
Photo by Jud McCranie on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Georgia Museum of Agriculture showcases the farm life of the American South in the 19th century. It has attractions like the Historic Village, a realistic representation of 19th-century workshops, homes, and businesses. 

The Traditional Farmstead has six historic buildings that teach the importance of subsistence agriculture. These buildings include Simon's Cabin and James’ Kitchen, built by Simon Royal in 1845. The Traditional Farmstead also has the Clark Cabin, a reconstructed farmstead showing a Wiregrass Georgia subsistence farm. 

Other historic buildings are the Wesley Chapel, constructed in 1882, and the Sand Hil School House, built in 1895 by Johnny Gibbs. Other major attractions are the Industrial Complex, Progressive Farmstead, Main Street, and the early 20th century. 

The Industrial Complex showcases the businesses that played crucial roles in people's lives within the Wiregrass region. It includes a train depot, sawmill, cooper shed, knight cabin, blacksmith shop, and knight cabin. Main Street shows the independent stores in the 19th century. In contrast, Progressive Farmstead shows the beginning of middle-class family farms like Gibbs Farm, Cravey House, and Davis Grist Mill.

Check the website for more information: Georgia Museum of Agriculture.   

5. Coggeshall Farm Museum

Coggeshall Farm Museum
Photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Coggeshall Farm Museum is on 48 acres of coastal farmland in Bristol, Rhode Island. The farm recreates the experience of tenant farmers on a salt marsh in the late 18th century. The State of Rhode Island purchased the former Samuel P. Colt estate, which included the Coggeshell farm, in 1965. 

The Island purchased the estate to use as a state park by demolishing the 48-acre farm. However, several members of the British Historical Society petitioned Governor John Chaffe to turn it into a museum. The Bristol Historical Society signed a lease from the State in 1968 and started the construction of new outbuildings.

In 1973, Coggeshall Farm became a quiet and authentic place to experience the lifestyles of 1750 Rhode Island. The farm houses the Tyska Animla Barn, Wood Shop, Hay Barn, Gorge, Cheese House, and the Tenant Farmhouse. The farm also features free-range dunghill fowl, black pigs, chickens, sheep, and cats. Horticulture is the backbone of the Coggeshall Farm Museum. They have varieties of cabbages, melons, beans, beets, onions, peas, and more.

See the website for more information on the Coggeshall Farm Museum.

6. Kona Coffee Living History Farm

Kona Coffee Living History Farm
Photo by Frank Schulenburg on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

Kona Coffee Farm depicts the history of Kona’s coffee pioneers in the early 20th century. It allows visitors to experience traditional crafts, agricultural practices, and daily activities of the past. 

Kona Coffee Living History Farm is the only living history farm in Hawaii. Its attractions include the Uchida Farmhouse, a homestead by Japanese immigrants from Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan. Kona Nightingale Program gives an insight into the role of donkeys in coffee production. 

The general entry price for adults is $20, and students between the ages of 7 and 17 pay $10. Hawaiian residents get a $5 discount. 

See the website for more information on Kona Coffee Living History Farm.

7. Billings Farm and Museum

Billings Farm and Museum
Photo by Harvey Barrison on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Billings Farm and Museum is in Vermont. Laurance and Mary Rockefeller founded The Woodstock Foundation, Inc., which owns the Billings Farm and Museum, in 1968. They established the farm in 1983 to preserve the historic Billings Farm and the heritage of rural Vermont. 

The farm has interactive programs to immerse visitors in the rural life and work values of farm families of the 19th century. There are over 70 Jersey cows, two draft horses, Berkshire pigs, goats, a flock of Southdown sheep, and heritage breed chickens on the farm. 

Billings Farm also has the largest sunflower house in the U.S. It has over 50 varieties of sunflowers curated by the Woodstock Inn & Resort’s Master Gardener, Ben Pauly, and Kelly Way Gardens Manager, Taylor Hiers. 

Visit Billings Farm and Museum.

8. Kline Creek Farm

Kline Creek Farm
Photo by Wendy Piersall on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Kline Creek Farm recreates 1890s farm life in West Chicago. Various farmstead structures contain original artifacts from previous centuries. The farm offers house tours, during which baking, canning, quilting, and spring cleaning are discussed. 

There is a vegetable and crop farm. The farm manages a livestock conservation breeding program, maintaining a flock of Cotswold sheep and Heritage Milking Shorthorn cattle. It also has beekeeping programs. 

Visit Kline Creek Farm.

9. Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm

Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm
Photo by Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm showcases the agricultural and livestock practices, cuisine, community celebrations, technology, and social customs of the Pennsylvania family in the 19th century. The Depper descendants settled on a farm in 1770 and lived there for almost 150 years. 

In 1913, the farm became the property of Thomas and Anna Hess. After the Hess family died in 1958, they sold to Alice and Wendell Wicks. The Wicks realized the farm's historical importance and reconditioned the farmhouse and the 1850s barn. 

They opened the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm to the public on July 13, 1963. The farm's management hosts many events and tours to educate the public on the history of 19th-century farms and their connection to present-day farming techniques.

See the website for more information on Quiet Valley.

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by Mactographer on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).
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