On display this year at the Farm Museum "Old Peppersass!" In 1869 this was the first cog-driven train to climb our 6,288-foot Mount Washington.
Farm Museum Master Blacksmith Paul Bilodeau is readying the shop for this year's fair.
Matt Barker joined Fryeburg Fair's Farm Museum Committee. His specialty is horse drawn farm equipment. Matt works full time job for Central Maine Power.

Farm Museum

The Farm Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers a variety of trade and old time craft demonstrations.

The memorabilia exhibited represents practically all of the crafts and early industries of our New England area. Farming, home-making, lumbering and log driving; quarrying, leather tanning, potash making, blacksmithing and wheelwright trades; cobbler and harness making, carpentry and beekeeping, ice cutting and maple syrup and sugar production are all represented. 

2018 Farm Museum Program

For more information, please contact Curator Edward Jones or
Assistant, Diane Jones
Phone: 207-256-7468
Email: djones11651@gmail.com

Farm Museum History

Curator: Edward Jones
Assistant: Diane Jones
Committee: Erlon Jones, Ted Greene, Loretta Greene, Tim Mayberry, and Matt Barker

In 1993, Edward and Diane Jones became the Museum Curator and Assistant Museum Curator of the Fryeburg Fair Farm Museum.  Their goal was to bring the Farm Museum alive, to restore its artifacts and to educate the public.  Both former Fryeburg Selectmen and past presidents of the Fryeburg Historical Society, they truly have a passion for preservation and care of the museum and artifacts. 

In the fall of 1971, the Farm Museum opened with Harry Eastman as curator in a small exhibit area near the pulling grandstand. It became so popular that on July 4, 1975, an old-fashioned "Barn Raising" was held in commemoration of the "Bicentennial."  The barn, which houses the major display, was built in 1832 and moved to the fairgrounds. Former curator George "Britt" Holmes is remembered as the driving force in obtaining and reconstructing the present museum building.  Britt obtained the rustic old 1832 New England post and beam barn from Diamond Match Company after it had acquired the old Island Road Merrill/Walker Farm where the barn previously stood. 

The name Farm Museum is somewhat of a misnomer as the memorabilia exhibited represents practically all of the crafts and early industries of our New England area.  Farming, home-making, lumbering and log driving; quarrying, leather tanning, potash making, blacksmithing and wheelwright trades; cobbler and harness making, carpentry and beekeeping, ice cutting and maple syrup and sugar production are all represented. Artifacts from the Bryant Pond Telephone Company, the last magneto hand-crank system in the United States, are on display along with related telephone memorabilia.  The Farm Museum also has an extensive collection of chain saws that attract many people each year. 

The present Town of Fryeburg was for many years the site of the Indian Village of "Pigwacket."  In 1763, General (then Colonel) Joseph Frye was granted some 36 square miles of land here in recognition of his outstanding services during the French and Indian Wars.  Many of the settlers who came here with General Frye brought with them tools and implements that either had been handed down to them through generations or were acquired or made years before.  Many of these were made in England and those which are in the museum are so marked.  The museum exhibits cover a span of over 250 years of American colonial history. 

Through the generosity of Mrs. Marion Hobbs, a schoolhouse was given to the Society and moved to the museum complex in the fall of 1990.  This little red schoolhouse had been located on a knoll at Toll Bridge by the old course of the Saco River and was in use from 1835-1938.  The school had one room and one teacher taught all subjects to all grades.  It was heated with wood and water was carried from a nearby house.  After its restoration, it was dedicated on the first Sunday of the 1991 fair.  Diane Jones compiled its history and a list of the teachers along with locating photos and memorabilia of the school.  Each year a group of school-children from MSAD 72 is carefully selected to reenact a typical school day of the nineteenth century.  Clothing, class materials, teaching methods and even discipline are faithfully created. Carol Mayberry is our schoolmarm along with Deborah Bilodeau.

Each year the Farm Museum offers daily trade and craft demonstrations including blacksmithing with our head blacksmith Paul Bilodeau.  He works daily in the newly renovated blacksmith shop and is glad to answer any questions. Others include cider pressing with Roger Roberts; bean hole bean and smoking ham demonstrations with Doug Farnham; beekeeping with David Sorensen; chain saw demonstration with Tim Pickett;  broom making with Everett Bailey; tin smithing with Bill Davenport; old time photos with G&P Old Time Photos; tying knots with John Andrews; sorting fresh cranberries with  John and Christine Alexander; spinning with Hildy Danforth and Robin Henne; barn loom weaving with Adele Harvey and Cindy Holmes; treadle sewing machine demonstration with Kathy Albert; quilting with Chris Murphy;  tatting with Becky Tyler and demonstrations of several old time crafts by  Erlon Jones.   The open space around the buildings is filled with displays of early farm equipment, some of it is in use during the fair.  Ted Greene, Alan Greene, Tim Mayberry, Chris Harrington and Danne Moore demonstrate farm machinery and are known to occasionally to have a tractor race. 

Matt Barker and Lou Goulet restore some of the old farm equipment and in doing so incorporate the lead blacksmith, Paul Bilodeau, when parts are needed that he can make for them.

Tara Greene makes butter and ice cream and hands out samples to fairgoers.  Loretta Greene cooks on a wood cook stove and hands out samples of food made from old time recipes from Loretta's Kitchen.  Loretta started coming to the fair when she was ten years old, exhibiting in a 4-H project with her mother and grandmother who were leaders. 

Our movie theater is a great place to sit and relax and enjoy old-time films with Northeast Historic Films from Bucksport, Maine.  Owner David Weiss shows old time movies daily and offers a wide selection of these films for sale in both VHS and DVD format.  If you have old films you would like to preserve, stop by and see David.  Leah Farnham’s steers can be seen in their stall just outside the movie theatre.  During the day, they are demonstrating old-time plowing beside the Little Red Schoolhouse.  Sherman Adams has a beautiful display of antique stoves in the back of the barn.  

The museum relies heavily on its many dedicated attendants like Frank and Pat Jordan, Faylene Rogers, Shirley Berg, and Joanne Magee.  George Cleveland, WMVW radio personality and grandson of President Grover Cleveland, said about the museum, "I figure it is one of the few treasures of this neck of the woods and someday I know people would love to see this place open on a more regular basis."

For Diane Jones, that suggestion is a familiar one.  "That's probably the biggest request that we have every year," she said. "People think it's too bad that this couldn't be open more.  The way we look at it, there are probably more people that come through the Farm Museum in eight days than probably would in a year.  So we try to do a good job and have something a little different each year.  

Having something different has been Curator Ed Jones' goal.  Years ago he thought: "If I had anything to do with it - and I didn't know at the time that I was ever going to - it would be to bring the barn alive and change it around a lot and have demonstrations of all those pieces of machinery, rather than just seeing them sit there because anybody seeing something like that setting around, they don't know how it works, and they can't imagine how it works.  That's been my goal more than anything else." 

Jones continued, "1999 was a gratifying experience at the farm museum.  Many demonstrations and more displays continued to breathe life into the museum grounds.  I felt a sense of subtle change at the museum.  More donations come in every year, but we are usually more careful taking only those in good condition.  Consequently, many of them are in excellent working condition and can be demonstrated during the Fair.  This will hopefully lead us even further toward a real living museum." 

"We feel our younger generation should be able to see for themselves what many of us saw for ourselves in our youth.  We think our job must be at least in part to educate our children so that they can appreciate a life that they were born too late to experience."

Radio personality Cleveland added, "It's also really exciting because you've got so many of the craft people and the artisans and the people who know how to make some of the old machines work, and you know, I've said this several times but I will say it again: Go back there and see this stuff working!  To see a team of oxen plow, actually plow; to see a shingle mill being run by a little one-lunger machine, and then the ice-cream demonstration.  It is amazing! You can have their fresh butter, their fresh everything. It's a wonderful, wonderful place to wander through!"

Stop by the farm museum and say hello to Ed and Diane.  They would love to see you.