We have been asked a number of times why we accept donations, but do not charge admission to the museum.
We see our “mission” as several fold: We really like saving historic buildings. We believe it is extremely important to save the tools and the knowledge of how to use them, of the many 19th Cent. trades. We feel it is also just as important to preserve the stories of family and farm life in the Western Reserve of the 19th Century. ….And we believe we should share all this wealth of history with as many folks as possible. That is one of the primary reasons we do not charge for visits to or use of the museum.
Our thinking on this question began to be formed over the many years I worked at another local historic village. Over a thirty year period I worked there a number of times. I ran the Wood Working Shop. I did general maintenance, and made repairs as needed to the Church, Jaeger House, Stow House, the farm barn, saw mill, and other buildings and displays. I also helped build several buildings including the Herrick House. At another time I built the administration offices in the basement of the visitors center. And I received a private contract to paint several of the houses. —There was virtually nothing I wasn’t intimately familiar with, or helped build. And yet, one time when I stopped by for a quick reminder of how one of the cabins was built, I was told I couldn’t go on the grounds. I needed a ticket. Thirty years of working there (off and on) and I wasn’t welcome.
This is something I never want to have happen here at Stone Garden Farm & Village. We want all folks to be welcome. And even more we want all folks to discover our American history, as it was lived by our ancestors and saved by us, not as a monetary transaction but simply shared by all. Let the public come to at least one place to learn and experience our Nation’s common story, without paying for the “privilege”.
–P.S. About those “donations”. Over the years we have been very grateful for all the many donations the Museum has received. Folks have given us many tractors, pieces of horse drawn equipment, furniture, buildings, washing machines, a fire truck, innumerable other things, …and sometimes even monetary donations. And, of course, many friends and acquaintances have donated untold hours of help. For all of it, we are most appreciative. It’s much of what helps this museum thrive.