“Saving the Past”: Volunteering and the Repurposing Projects at Hale Farm & Village

“Saving the Past”: Volunteering and the Repurposing Projects at Hale Farm & VillageWhile DIY, or “do it yourself”, projects have become a trendy way of life in recent years, recycling and repurposing has always been a part of farm living – especially at Hale Farm & Village. Preserving the story of the Western Reserve is the backbone to the InHale initiative, and we could not do it without the help of community members who volunteer their versatile skills and talents.

When making new developments and improvements, we encourage repurposing materials recovered on our 90+ acres of land. But, what exactly is repurposing? Repurposing can be done by modifying material to fit a new use, or by using the material in a new way. Ultimately, instead of throwing away used or worn material, that material can be reworked to create something that appears brand new.

 

“Saving the Past”: Volunteering and the Repurposing Projects at Hale Farm & VillageSo how does this work at a living history museum? “Back in 2015, all twenty-two sets of shutters on the three-story brick Hale House were restored and repainted,” offers Joe Tokarsky, Preservation Lead at Hale Farm. “Also, our sheep were given new feeders and our crafters were given new looms from repurposed wood.” All of these projects directly support the mission of the museum and our ability to provide quality programs for our visitors and the community.

The latest repurposing project at Hale Farm is a multipurpose, saltbox shaped wood shed, built entirely out of repurposed wood from old fencing in the Hale Farm south pasture. The man behind the scenes of these various projects is Bill Dunick. Dunick has been volunteering at Hale Farm & Village for two and a half years, offering us his expertise in carpentry and repurposing. Dunick resides in Kent, Ohio and is a Kent State graduate in Industrial Arts. He worked in engineering and manufacturing management for forty years and has built three homes in his lifetime. A friend of Dunick’s was a volunteer at Hale Farm and suggested he join the team as well. Although Dunick’s superb and efficient work has been in high demand on the farm, he is free to work at his leisure. Dunick volunteers at Hale Farm not only for his enjoyment of carpentry, but because of the importance of repurposing. “As a society, we need to repurpose. Today we throw things away; I see a pile of what you would think is trash as a new creation that can be repurposed.”

As a volunteer, Dunick chooses his hours and is provided with tools, space, and materials to work with. There are plenty of projects to go around at Hale Farm & Village, so if you are interested in creating and preserving, please click here for more information about volunteer opportunities.

The latest BUZZ at Hale Farm & Village….BEEKEEPING!

Beekeeping at Hale Farm & Village

Every spring, Hale Farm & Village is buzzing with activity, welcoming school field trips and preparing the grounds for more visitors during the busy summer season.

But “buzzing” is taking on a whole new meaning this year as the Hale Farm staff is bringing back to the farm an old form of entrepreneurship the Hales themselves practiced: beekeeping.

In partnership with Urban Honey Bee from Clinton, Ohio, Hale Farm’s staff has been developing educational lessons on beekeeping. Museum educator Joe Skonce worked with Urban Honey bee to write an interpretation for teaching the evolution and innovation of 19th century beekeeping practices. Laura Urban and Mike Conley also developed and provided a new educational hive exhibit. This “bee-free” hive includes a brood chamber and honey supers, minus the bees, of course. The frames do contain full-color photos and accompanying text, showing what bees do. The educational hive was launched to visiting school groups April 13 and is a mobile exhibit that will be featured in different areas of the village and farm throughout the program year. One lesson for school children, part of Youth Entrepreneurship Education, includes teaching the characteristics of entrepreneurship:

  • Assuming the risk in starting a business for the purpose of making a profit
  • Special skill or resources leading to starting a business
  • Productive resources, including natural, human and capital

Beekeeping at Hale Farm & VillageIt’s known from Hale family journals that hives were kept on the farm for pollination and production of honey. Among Hale family collection pieces is a bee box, used for bee lining, the practice of locating a wild hive by tracking a bee back to the bee tree.

Since the historical connection to beekeeping is so strong, Hale Farm’s educators will include beekeeping as a permanent lesson in their youth education programs.

So not only is beekeeping a part of the entrepreneurship lessons, but candle making demonstrations in the Summer Cottage also will connect the wax with hives and bees. Interpreters in the gardens of Hale Farm also will mention the importance of bees as pollinators of plants.

Urban Honey Bee has been a friend to Hale Farm & Village over several seasons, speaking on the business of beekeeping and how to start an apiary at special events, including Sow & Grow and Harvest Festival.

Last fall, Urban Honey Bee principals Laura Urban and Mike Conley asked Hale Farm & Village if they could become more involved in the museum’s vision through teaching about beekeeping on-site and keeping active hives at the farm.

Beekeeping at Hale Farm & VillageThat led to Laura, Mike and Joe working together to develop this year’s beekeeping educational interpretation. And Hale Farm & Village now has two hives – with bees – behind the Goldsmith House in an area that’s not open to the public.

Urban Honey Bee will also be very present at Hale Farm this summer, starting with the Sow & Grow Farm Festival in June, where they will teach a workshop on getting started in beekeeping. They will also hold a honey-tasting event in July and teach a “Is Beekeeping for You?” workshop in August.

Starting in the fall and going through winter, Urban Honey Bee plans to teach beginning, intermediate, and advanced beekeeping classes at Hale Farm to whomever is interested in getting into the business.

So if this latest buzz from Hale Farm has piqued your interest in the honey business, stay tuned to our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages for upcoming information on beekeeping talks and classes.

Dressing a Historic Village; Costuming at Hale Farm

Dressing a Historic Village

One of the best parts of visiting Hale & Farm Village, especially for children, is seeing the museum educators dressed in 19th century clothing. These men and women make the history experience real, whether they’re sweating through a blacksmith demonstration in the summer or trying to keep warm during a Holiday Lantern tour.

If you’re wondering what goes into the costume design and care, well, it’s a lot. A lot of team work, research, and planning. A lot of washing and mending. A lot of critical thinking about even the materials that were available to our 19th century friends in the Western Reserve.

 

Behind the scenes at Hale Farm

Jenna Langa is one of the museum educators tasked with the responsibility of sewing and maintaining the costumes used by the museum educators. While in college, Jenna worked in the theatre costume shop repairing and making costume pieces for shows.

“I understand the inconvenience of uncomfortable costume pieces, whether (it’s) because of a missing button or a piece of hoop from the hoop skirt poking you during the day,” Jenna says.

Behinds the ScenesAnd while Hale Farm & Village has been closed to visitors in January and February, Jenna has been busy researching tailors and dressmakers of the mid-1800s and writing up an interpretation for the educators to use this year.

She’s also been washing and repairing costumes in the museum’s collection that have been ripped or lost hooks or buttons during the past year. Some of the hoop skirts needed new metal wires to make the skirts look correct and be more comfortable to wear.

The museum educators themselves are in charge of the maintenance of their costumes, but Jenna and educator Kirsten Fitzgerald are the point women who help them with repairs to the clothing they don’t know how to do themselves. Their detail work also includes helping the educators choose their costumes for the season so they fit correctly and are accurate for the sites where they’re demonstrating.

One thing that will be different about the costuming this year is that the educators will have period-correct quilted winter hoods to help keep them warm. Amazingly, Jenna was able to teach herself quilting patterns from the historical record and produce 19th century hoods this off-season.

 

 

Fashion or function?

Fashion or FunctionHale Farm & Village staff consider many variables about what types of costumes to wear and when they’re appropriate. Lisa Pettry, Hale Farm’s Education and Public Program Manager, notes that these questions are what the staff considers about costuming:

  • What were the fashions of the day?
  • What did different classes or occupations of people wear?
  • Did a pioneer woman bring to the frontier only the most serviceable clothing?
  • Did our pioneer women develop a style of their own?
  • In the village, what class should be highlighted? And what activity and year?

If you’ve toured Hale Farm & Village recently, you may remember that the museum presents life from two important periods in Northeast Ohio’s history: pre-canal and post-canal.

Lisa says the pre-canal era presentation looks beyond what a particular individual may have worn to what they would have brought with them, created, or acquired to wear that would have matched their circumstances.

Fashion or FunctionIn the pre-canal era of 1810, fashion plates show high-style Regency in a woman’s gown with low-round neckline, high bodice, back closure tight-fitting sleeves, and a narrow skirt with a small train. Lisa says the staff believes frontier women likely found such fashions impractical.

Much of the clothing answers are found in popular publications of the era, personal journals, or collections of surviving pieces. So in the village, for example, Hale Farm’s educators do not fixate on a particular year but share the story of daily life in a period of history.

So the next time you come to Hale Farm & Village for a festival or to take a tour with the kids, keep these things in mind about the 19th century costumes:

  • Hale Farm modifies a formal Regency style for pre-canal women with higher necklines, longer bodices, fuller sleeves skirts, and front closure, all for ease of wear.
  • Accessories are used to improve an overall impression, where perfect historical accuracy is not attainable.
  • Mid-century styles are “averaged” where possible, avoiding fashion extremes while highlighting general aspects of the wardrobe.

The Western Reserve Historical Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017

WRHS Building
WRHS first home, the third floor of the Society for Savings building located in Public Square.

The Western Reserve Historical Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017

Stop and think about that for a moment. For 150 years, WRHS has preserved the rich history of Northeast Ohio by capturing and sharing countless captivating stories of the region and America. And it all started very humbly on Cleveland’s Public Square.

On May 28, 1867 Charles Baldwin and a small group from the Cleveland Library Association established a new historical department with a mission to discover, procure, and preserve whatever relates to the history of Cleveland and the Western Reserve.

It was Baldwin’s vision to create a new cultural society. And in the beginning, WRHS’ first headquarters was on the third floor of the Society for Savings Building on Public Square. For 25 years, WRHS had no charter but was dedicated to collecting historical articles and artifacts, as well as publishing historical papers.

Today, WRHS has become one of the largest and most diversified historical societies in the United States with six sites in four counties and more than 1 million items in its Library and Museum Collection.

Growing focus

The story of WRHS’ expansion dates back to a Cleveland Plain Dealer article in 1889 that noted how the Society was receiving visitors from abroad and teachers with their students. Due to this interest, WRHS quickly expanded its space and changed locations to accommodate its growing collection. Then in 1938, the widow of Price McKinney sold her home—the Hay-McKinney Mansion—to the growing historical society to house museum collections. WRHS soon acquired in 1938 the Bingham-Hanna Mansion in exchange for its property on Euclid and 107th. It didn’t take long for the Society to further grow its museum space.

Rendering of Crawford
Rendering of the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.
  • In 1948 Laurence and Robert Norton and their sister Mrs. Fred R. White donated Shandy Hall, an 1815 farmstead in Geneva, to WRHS.
  • In 1956 Clara Belle Ritchie bequeathed the Hale Family Farm to the historical society upon her passing that year.
  • In 1965 WRHS opened the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum following the donation of Fredrick Crawford’s Thompson Auto Album.
  • In 1978 Josephine Kyle gave WRHS the historic house museum of Loghurst in Canfield.
  • In 1984 a library housing all of the society’s archives, manuscripts, books, and photograph collections was opened, and the former library was converted to display the costume and textile collection in the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing.
  • By 1993, the Research Library was connected to the rest of the museum with the construction of the Reinberger Gallery, home to the upcoming exhibit opening in November of 2017 – Cleveland Starts Here presented by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.
HFV Saltbox
The Saltbox House being transported to its new home at Hale Farm.

Expanding Hale Farm and Village

As many of you know, Hale Farm and Village has been at the forefront of Northeast Ohio and American history education since its public opening in 1958. At that time, Hale Farm had the 1825 Hale House and six original outbuildings.

Early American craft and trade demonstrations were added in the 1960s. With those demonstrations, it didn’t take long for the museum to become so popular that WRHS created a master plan to expand the operation. This master plan included acquiring other pre-Civil War era historical buildings and moving them to Hale Farm to create an early Western Reserve village.

So in the early 1960s, excavation of the Village Green began. The Saltbox House and the Jagger House were among the first buildings relocated and placed in the Village.

Many of these buildings were given to WRHS, which established these criteria for the creation of the Village:

  • The Village was to reflect typical villages and town centers in the Western Reserve.
  • Buildings were to come from within the Western Reserve boundaries.
  • No building was to be moved if it could be saved on its original site.
  • All buildings were either to have been built before 1850 or stylistically fit into that period.
  • The buildings were to represent a variety of architectural styles and lifestyles.noref_image

Today, Hale Farm & Village sits on 100 acres with 34 historic structures and an array of guest facilities. Hale Farm at its core is a living history museum and must-see for school field trips. But it also serves as a scenic venue for weddings and community events throughout the year.

In 2018, Hale Farm & Village will celebrate its 60th anniversary as a living history museum that retells the stories of early Ohioans, as well preserves and teaches crafts, trades, farming, and gardening for the community it serves.

Preserving Hale Farm & Village for the Future

Preserving for the Future

Joe TokarskyHale Farm & Village is like a second home for employee Joe Tokarsky. Like most homeowners, Joe notices and addresses things most guests to the Village probably don’t see, such as windows in need of glazing, old rails, or walls needing fresh paint.

Joe is Hale Farm’s new maintenance and preservation lead, the point guy responsible for keeping all the historical buildings in good condition. He joined Hale Farm & Village in June and already has been making an impact with various maintenance projects.

And believe it or not, much of the maintenance and preservation needed at Hale Farm involves small repairs to some of the hundreds of windows located throughout the museum’s property.

“My most recent project was building a bottom rail and the interior grid for one of the large 4’ x 10’ sash windows in our Meeting House,” Joe said.  “This repair was done without removing the window in order to limit the amount of possible damage to the window and its frame.”

In some buildings, Joe did have to remove window sashes and put up either plywood or Plexiglas as temporary windows. He does the repairs to the windows himself on-site.

Joe’s restoration work isn’t limited to window repair or painting. He recently called in a professional contractor to re-point the mortar joints on the Herrick House’s exterior sandstone block. Prior the Harvest Festival in October, Joe was the one Hale Farm relied on to make quick repairs on the apple cider press.

In preparing for winter, Joe and his team of three have kept busy painting, removing leaves from gutters, and sealing up any holes to prevent critters from moving into the buildings.

The challenging part of the job is not so much the work itself but doing it while guests come to visit Hale Farm & Village without any interruptions to their experience.

“It’s like a puzzle, getting (maintenance and preservation work) done with minimum interference to operations,” Joe said, noting that it can be a fun challenge, too.

Teaching historical preservation

Hale Preserving for the FutureFarm & Village is obviously known for being an educational museum that teaches history by demonstration.

In keeping with that tradition, one of Joe’s goals is to bring in more college students to work on the maintenance and preservation of Hale Farm, either as an internship or a capstone project for graduation. That way, Hale Farm can benefit from fresh ideas, and the students can get experience in restoring history.

Joe himself graduated from Belmont College this past May with a degree in building preservation and restoration. Prior to that, he grew up in a family that ran a furniture repair and refinishing business and developed his woodworking skills by helping out there.

Joe is starting to pitch Hale Farm as an internship opportunity to his Alma mater and other local colleges that offer programs in building preservation. He would like to teach students not only how to repair a historical building but also how to continue to make Hale Farm a great experience for all visitors.

Another one of Joe’s goals for recruiting college students for trades-based projects “is that their work will add to the continuing historical journey and archives of Hale Farm and Village,” he said.

Top 10 Reasons to Come to Hale Farm’s Harvest Festival

Top 10 Reasons to Come to Hale Farm’s Harvest Festival

Autumn is here and for many of us Ohioans, it’s our favorite season because of the spectacular colors, the cooler temperatures, and the aromas and tastes of harvest season.

And once again, Hale Farm & Village will host its annual Harvest Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 1, 2, 8, and 9 to give all of us a Pumpkin Painting at Hale Harvest Festivalreason to get outside and celebrate the season. In fact, here’s at least 10 reasons to come to Hale Farm’s Harvest Festival, rain or shine:

  1. Affordable admission. The cost of the Harvest Festival is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12 and free for WRHS members and youth 2yrs and under. So the Harvest Festival is a very affordable family outing that will be loaded with all kinds of fun activities.
  2. Pumpkin painting. What is autumn without pumpkin decorating? Purchase our pumpkins, and there will be paints and brushes available for the kids to paint whatever faces they choose.
  3. Wagon rides. Once again, Trail Light Farms will bring its draft horses to Hale Farm to provide wagon rides along with tractor hay rides throughout the Harvest Festival weekends, and wagon rides are included in the admission price.
  4. Apple picking, apple butter making, and apple cider! You can come to the orchard and pick apples with a wire basket on a long pole, put the apples in a burlap sack, then come over to the Herrick House to add the apples to a large kettle of apple butter! We invite all guests to help stir the boiling butter and taste Ohio made apple butter in the Herrick House kitchen. At Hale Barn, you can help us press apples into cider the quintessential Ohio fall drink.Johnny Appleseed at Hale Harvest Festival
  5. Johnny Appleseed. Speaking of apples, Johnny Appleseed will stop by to tell comical stories at noon and 2:30 on all days of the Harvest Festival. Played by Ray McNiece, the Johnny Appleseed presentation will feature plenty of audience participation.
  6. Fleas N Tiques sale. The Citizens of Hale will hold its first Fleas N Tiques vintage sale during Harvest Festival hours. This unique sale includes antiques, vintage household items and collectibles ranging from the 1800s to mid-20th century. All proceeds from this sale will support the Citizens of Hale’s projects for Hale Farm, such as garden restoration and maintenance.
  7. Corn maze, straw pile jumping and a pumpkin patch! Need we say more?Hale Harvest Fest 5K Run
  8. The Hale Harvest 5K run on October 1. Avid runners and walkers can traverse a three-mile loop course, starting at 9:15 a.m. The top three finishers overall and the top male and female finishers per category will receive handcrafted pieces from Hale Farm’s craft and trade artisans. Registration is $30 per runner and includes free admission to the festival on that day. Check out halefarm.org for registration details.
  9. Good old-fashioned farm activities. Hale Farm & Village has always been known as a great escape from busy city life. So during the Harvest Festival, we’ll make sure to keep families busy with corn shucking, garden picking, and hand cultivating.
  10. Spinning, weaving, rugs, and lace. The Medina Spinning and Weaving Guild will be having a “spin-in” at the Hale House on October 1-2. What that means is, the group will bring their wheels and spin enough yarn to weave a blanket for the Goldsmith House. The other demonstrations include Western Reserve Rug Hookers (both Sundays of the festival) and Western Reserve Lace Society on October 8 and 9.

Of course, the Harvest Festival at Hale Farm will include other countless activities. We plan to have fall-themed crafts for the kids, and as with all of our festivals, our staff will demonstrate early American crafts and trades throughout the Village.

The Hale Café will feature home baked apple and pumpkin pies and pumpkin roles, harvest chicken salad and brats, as well as our signature apple cider mimosas. Pick up a jar of apple or pumpkin butter, hand-blown glass pumpkins or seasonal candles in the MarketPlace and plan to spend the day on the farm!

So rain or shine we will be having fun, bring the kids and let us entertain them!