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Explore the Ward O’Hara Agricultural and Country Living Museum in Auburn

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2022-07-25 20:34:00

In the Finger Lakes town of Auburn, on the shores of Owasco Lake, lies the Ward O’Hara Agricultural and Country Living Museum, a fascinating look at life in this area throughout the ages and the historic origins of the industry that makes this area one of the agricultural centers of Upstate New York.

The museum was established in 1975 by author and storyteller Ward W. O’Hara, who, along with his with Ruth, developed a passion for collecting antique farm equipment that soon grew beyond the space they had to store it. It remains a popular place to visit to this day, continued on lovingly in memory of Ward, who passed away in 1997.

The museum and outbuildings house a collection of farm and home tools, equipment and antiques reaching back to the 1800s, where you can explore and learn about the machinery and items that made the work of old-time country life possible, with displays on woodshops and blacksmith shops and exhibits on nearly every farm-related task you can imagine. Learn about the nuances of poultry, dairy, vegetable and grain farming, including corn threshing, tilling, fertilizing and planting in fields, harvesting food, feeding and caring for livestock, powering equipment (whether through the use of oxen and plows, waterwheels, or tractors), and even ice harvesting—all of which have history in the Finger Lakes region.

There are also exhibits related to indoor life during the time period, with replicas of a period kitchen, parlor, bedroom and general store; plus exhibits on items used create textiles, pottery and brooms, and a collection of antique toys, dollhouses, train sets, circus items and more. There is a display dedicated to the carriages people used to travel before the automobiles became widely available, and a variety of wagons and tractors to learn about. There is even a functional herb garden on the premises, as well as a theater and a kids’ play area.

The museum is home to special events throughout the year. One Thursday night per month, the Thursday Night at the Museum Harvesting History program offers guest talks on a variety of historical subjects; and each summer, the museum celebrates Old Ways Day, a one-day festival that features events like horse-drawn wagon and Model T rides, museum tours, kids’ activities, treats from the herb garden, temporary exhibits and more. Full information, including 2022 event dates and museum hours and admission details, can be found on the museum’s website.

Aerial view photo credit Ward O’Hara Museum
Ward O’Hara portrait photo credit Ward O’Hara Museum
Hay equipment photo credit Ward O’Hara Museum
Living room photo credit Ward O’Hara Museum
Horses photo credit Ward O’Hara Museum

posted at: 2022-07-25 20:34:00, last updated: 2022-07-25 21:22:30

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