Farm History Day celebrates milestone

SOUTH HAVEN – For the past two decades, the members of the Michigan Flywheelers Museum have donned bib overalls, long prairie dresses and straw hats every May to show kids that there was once more to do than take selfies and play video games.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Farm History Day – a day packed full of hands-on activities that teach students about washing clothes in galvanized tubs full of suds, grinding corn into meal, and twisting twine into rope – just like rural farming families had to do in the past.

The event will take place Friday, May 10 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Open to schools, home-schoolers and the public, Farm History Day will feature close to 40 exhibits and demonstrations.

“We began holding Farm History Day as part of our educational goal for the museum,” explained Patrick Ingalls, museum president. “There is no charge to attend because we wanted to give something back to the community for all the support they have given us.”

Besides the hands-on activities, students can stroll through Olde Town filled with places like Old Tyme Jail, Farm Machinery Repair Shop, a migrant farm camp, Peaceful Knoll Church and a log cabin. The shingle mill, blacksmith shop and sawmill will all be open and running as well.

“It gets pretty busy as we usually have between 1,300 to 1,500 students during that five hour period,” Ingalls admits. “We’re pretty beat by the end of the day, but it’s worth it to see all the smiles.”

He also noted that the event is held rain or shine.

“Some years, it has rained but Farm History Day still goes on,” Ingalls said. “We move as many exhibits under cover as possible because we know a lot of planning goes into a field trip and we don’t want schools to cancel and students to be disappointed.”

If you are interested in attending Farm History Day with a large group, the museum asks that you call 269-637-5077 or email michiganflywheelers@yahoo.com.

The Michigan Flywheelers Museum is located at 06285 68th Street. It is open on Wednesdays and weekends from Memorial Day through the end of August as well as for special events. Tours are given by appointment. For more information, 269-639-2010, michiganflywheelers@yahoo.com, www.michiganflywheelers.org

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