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Rochester Hills

History and nature bloom at museum this spring

May 1, 2013

ROCHESTER HILLS — Families are invited to build a barn, learn some World War II history, tour an 1848 schoolhouse and more this spring at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm.

Spring on the Farm will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 4 at the museum. Activities will include building a barn with members of the Michigan Barn Preservation Network.

“They will bring out all the supplies and guide us through the process of building a barn,” said Sue Thomasson, museum coordinator. Preservation Network representatives build a small version of a barn that they assemble and take down for demonstration purposes, she said.

Spring on the Farm’s Cockadoodle Doo Chicken show will be held between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and the Bower’s School Farm animals will be ready for visitors. Tours of museum buildings will be offered, and demonstrators will reveal the secrets to boat building, woodworking, sewing and more. 

A huge Pioneer Homestead and Playground, set up by the Friends of Dinosaur Hill, will allow guests to feel like they’ve traveled back in time and allow them to play the games of yesterday — including stilt walking, rutabaga bowling and pillow fights — and participate in olden-day activities like butter churning, housekeeping, log cabin building, shelling and grinding corn, kite making, and much more.

“It is about work and play,” Thomasson said. “You do the chores and then jump in the haystack.” Admission is $7 per person, with discounts available for museum members.

A World War II LVT landing tank that appeared in the Clint Eastwood movie “Flags of our Fathers” is the star of the museum’s War in the Pacific event held 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. May 10 and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. May 11.

The event will include military and armored vehicles, weapon demonstrations, historical lectures and military vendors, and it is presented by the museum and the Detroit Arsenal of Democracy Museum. Admission is $7 for adults, with discounts for seniors and museum members.

Members of the Sarah Van Hoosen Jones Questers group will host tours of the museum’s 1848 Stoney Creek Schoolhouse on the third Saturdays of the month through June.

The tours will provide historical information, while allowing guests to use an interactive iPad exhibit and view items in display cases. One of 12 historic former schoolhouses in the community, the Stoney Creek Schoolhouse is used daily as a historic classroom for local students.

The museum’s recently rebuilt 1927 Van Hoosen calf barn is ready for some final touches, including paint, Thomasson said. The barn will be painted white and brown, in accordance with archival photographs of the original structure. The barn is already booked for more than a dozen weddings this summer, Thomasson said.

Painting will begin on the barn this spring. “The Stoney Creek High School hockey team has volunteered to paint,” Museum Supervisor Pat McKay said.

The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm is a complex of historical buildings located in historic Stoney Creek Village and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is located on Van Hoosen Road, east of Rochester Road, south of Tienken Road.

For more information, visit or call (248) 656-4663.

About the author

Staff Writer Linda Shepard covers Rochester Hills and Oakland Township for the Rochester Post. Shepard has worked for C & G Newspapers since 1998, graduated from Oakland University and is a past winner of the Michigan Press Association award. Shepard takes an avid interest in Detroit’s history and current rebirth.

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