The Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington, West Virginia is a living museum dedicated to preserving the history and traditions of farm life in Appalachia from the early 19th century to the present. The Museum and Village spans over 25,000 square feet on a 500-acre property. Seven museum buildings house a range of collections organized into Children’s Activities and the Bowe’s Doll & Carriage museum, a Country Store and Heritage Museum, and the areas of Transportation, Industry, and Progress.
An outdoor Children’s Discovery Zone is themed around ‘Six Simple Machines’ and invites kids to play with the mechanics of pumping water and generating solar power among other activities. A blacksmith shop is host to a resident blacksmith who offers live demonstrations. The restored former Ratcliff School is now a one-room schoolhouse museum.
Historic buildings on the property include over 30 structures, five log cabin inns, a train caboose, and an operating sawmill. The Conway Homestead Site is a fur trapper’s log cabin set into the woods. The dwelling was used as the filming location for the History Channel documentary, ‘America's Greatest Feud: the Hatfield and McCoys.’ Several of the buildings are available for overnight accommodations, including the caboose and a Barn that sleeps up to 40 people. Buildings may be rented for events. An iconic log church moved to the site from Lincoln County hosts weddings and events throughout the year, two reception halls can each seat up to 300 guests.
In addition to the museum exhibits, guests may enjoy hiking on the 5-miles of trails throughout the property. The site includes a petting zoo complete with lamas, piglets, and a tortoise. An Artisan Center is home to the Heritage Farm Artisan Guild. The Center currently houses studio space for eight artists, among them a wool spinner and weaver, potter, broom maker, letterpress printer, and woodworker. Guests may visit the artists at work in their studios, and participate in workshops at the Maker Space. Many of the on-site artisans sell their wares at the Museum’s gift shop.
History: The Heritage Farm Museum and Village began in 1973 when founders Henriella and Mike Perry moved to a farmhouse outside Huntington. In their attempts to learn more about building a log-cabin, and with their love of collecting antiques, they soon had a small collection of tools and artifacts from early 19th century Appalachia that they housed in a nearby barn. The collection grew as they began moving period structures onto the property. In 1996, the couple hosted the first “Spring Festival” on their property. For ten years, it was the only day in which the property was open to the public. Since 2006, the Farm and Museum has been open year-round for guests to explore and enjoy.
Today, the Farm has become the first Smithsonian Affiliate Institution in the state of West Virginia and has received numerous awards, including National Geographic Traveler’s Prime Destination Award and the Medal for Historic Preservation awarded by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Farm is currently under the direction of the non-profit Heritage Farm Foundation. The Foundation’s 20-person Board of Advisors includes leaders of West Virginia industry, education and government. The Foundation is supported through the income generated though farm admissions, overnight stays and site rentals, as well as memberships and donations.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Guests may explore the Farm and Museum on their own, or take a guided tour. Guided tours take visitors through three of the Farm’s museums with a knowledgeable docent. A tour plus petting zoo package includes the three museums, as well as a visit to the artisan village and petting zoo. Kid’s Days offer special tours of the museums, in addition to children’s activities and wagon rides.
The Farm’s busiest season is May through December, although tours may be taken by appointment from January through April. The main season officially kicks off in May with the Farm’s Annual Spring Festival. The month-long event offers live demonstrations, tours and children’s activities. Way Back Weekends take place each Saturday from May through December. The weekend events invite artisans and re-enactors to recreate life as it was on a 19th century farm.
What’s Nearby: Related regional attractions in Huntington include the Huntington Museum of Art, Bush’s Museum of Local History and the Museum of Radio and Technology. Camden Park is a nearby amusement and theme park.
3300 Harvey Road, Huntington, WV 25704, website, Phone: 304-522-1244
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