Visitors flock to Waterloo Farm, Dewey School

Free Museum Day celebrated with plant sale, fiber market, more

by Jenny Smith

Several years ago, a small open house featuring tours and refreshments began at the local Waterloo Farm and Dewey School Museum. Over the years, the event grew into a large celebration of history and fun.

This year on Mother’s Day, May 8, visitors streamed onto the museum grounds to take advantage of the fifth annual Free Museum Day, an event promoted by Experience Jackson and featuring 11 Jackson County museums.

For many, this was their first trip to the museum. For others, it was a return to a place last visited during a childhood school field trip.

Guests entering the historical farmstead were greeted with the music of Eddie Josephs on his multitude of instruments. Those brave enough could join in for a song or two. The concessions were running with offerings such as pulled pork and pie, and the gift shop was well stocked with unique gifts and décor.

Several volunteers led tours of the historical farmhouse, 1771 reenactors filled the log house with the sounds and sights of years gone by, the 1874 Indian War Cavalry camped out down the hill, and blacksmiths labored in the shop and at the portable forge. A tool display featured several fascinating tools that are now obsolete and rarely seen. Board member Butch Richmond shared his antique tractor with passersby.

For the first time this year, the event also hosted the Spinner’s Flock Fiber Market. The multitude of booths featured everything from completed garments to hand-dyed artisan yarns, spinning demonstrations, roving and rugs. The annual sale is a staple of the fiber arts community, drawing customers from as far away as Detroit, and worked very well at the historical venue.

Another first was a plant sale, with all the plants donated by people in the local community. Benches and shelves were filled with irises, raspberries, succulents, daffodils, lilies and more. Children were invited to plant their own baby grape hyacinth plant in bright purple cups. Rental of these vendor booths, the plant sale, gift shop sales, concessions, and a chain saw raffle helped to raise money for the nonprofit museum. The museum will use the money  to help fund restoration and repairs, future events, and the popular school program.

The museum opens for weekend tours on Fridays and Saturdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The museum and its programs are entirely volunteer run, and the organization is always seeking new faces to help share our local history. Watch for the next event, Blacksmiths, Soldiers, and Log Cabin Weekend on June 25 and June 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Find us on Facebook and at for the most up-to-date information.

Photo credits James Clark-Swalla, DigitalCrumbs Photography


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