Stan Horst: A look back at our frontier days
The Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia is truly a treasure, and in Staunton, practically in our backyard! The FCMV is home to four working farms that were originally located in England, Germany, Ireland, and West Africa. Each building was painstakingly numbered, disassembled, moved to its current location, and rebuilt, just as it was in its native land. Additional farms show what life was like in the American Frontier in the 1740s, 1820s, and 1850s.
A visit to the museum quickly shows how the typical Appalachian farm is a blend of all the other farms, as immigrants kept some of the best features from their homeland, and adopted other features from their neighbors who came from other countries.
The FCMV is known for its educational programs, festivals, volunteerism, and research. Classes are available, where participants can learn how the settlers raised livestock, grew field crops, and used natural resources. For example, the Irish raised sheep … shearing, carding, and spinning their wool long before the advent of mechanized processes.
The West African farm is unique in that the people from West Africa did not come to America of their own free will, but were brought here in slavery by the thousands. Despite their forced entry into this country, many adapted quite well and developed farming techniques that were well suited to the environment, as well as an extensive system of trade. On the West African farm today you can learn about the Igbo culture and explore their favorite pastimes.
The Frontier Culture Museum is home to many festivals and events, including a Wine and Beer Festival, the West African Dedication Day, the Fortune Williams Music Festival, Creepy Tales, a BBQ Competition, and Lantern Tours. Even when no special events are happening, costumed living history actors help visitors to see and learn first-hand.
Host your own special event at the FCMV by renting part of the facility. Their octagonal barn is one of only eight in Virginia that is available, and comes complete with kitchen and bathrooms.
For more information, you can visit their website at www.frontiermuseum.org, or call them at 540.332.7850.
Stan Horst, along with his wife Debbie and two teenage children, have been hosting visitors in their Blue Ridge Mountain Cabins since 1995. Their detailed knowledge of activities and attractions in the area make them a favorite of visitors from all over the world, who are seeking first-class Virginia cabin rentals and first-hand knowledge of things to see and do.