Today, November 27th, 2023, marks the end of the Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum as we have known it for the past 18 years. The lease of the property terminated today. While the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks has provided a "Right of Entry" document allowing us access to the property to continue to remove our artifacts until May of 2024, the Museum no longer exists as of today.
To say that we are heartbroken is an understatement. It has been almost three decades since we came together to create a farm heritage museum and 18 years of hard work and management provided solely by our volunteer organization to make that aspiration come to life. The Museum has touched so many lives; from the Club member volunteers, farm heritage enthusiasts, numerous scouts, horseback riders, veteran organizations, community organizations, social organizations, bird watchers, and families. People from not just Howard County, or even Maryland, but from all over the United States and several countries.
For those that spent a lot of time at the Museum, they know that the property is magical. A swath of land in Western Howard County where you can listen to the wind blow and feel like you are not in Central Maryland close to the Nation's Capital and the bustling city of Baltimore. You can hear the birds, watch the clouds, and catch the most amazing sunsets. We believe it is safe to say that while the land is still a park, a lot of that magic is lost with the removal of the Museum. We don't know what the future holds for West Friendship Park, but it will never be that magical again.
While this has been a hard lesson in trust and politics, and is a setback in our overall goals as an agricultural heritage club, The Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club is not swaying from our overall goals and objectives. First and foremost, we will continue to ensure that the artifacts that have been placed in our care, either by purchase or donation, are safe and secure until such time as they can be displayed again. That will be our focus for most of 2024 as we stop to reflect and regroup. Then, the future is nothing but open to possibilities. We will continue to provide educational programs and presentations throughout the County and State and be an active member in preservation activities within the County. A future site for farm heritage based agri-tourism in a new location is not out of the question and something that may one day come to fruition. Until that time, The Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club will continue to work toward the preservation of the farming heritage of Howard County, Maryland.
Thank you to everyone that supported the Museum through the years. Your support has meant a great deal to our organization, especially during this difficult situation. This is a truly sad day for historical preservation in Howard County but is not the end of the journey.