General Information Founded in 1950 by Roscoe Smith, Museum Village of Old Smith’s Clove still pursues its founder’s vision of educating generations of Americans about the work and life of their ancestors.
Through educational programs, hands-on-exhibits and special events, Museum Village is dedicated to exploring and interpreting the late 19th-century in small town America. From rural town life to the evolution of industry and technology, Museum Village spans a general time period from approximately 1875-1910.
In the late 19th century, there was an intense curiosity about the earth's prehistoric past. Museum Village recognizes this in some of our displays. Make sure to check out our Natural History Museum (modeled after a “Cabinet of Curiosities” from the time period), which houses our major centerpiece: the practically intact skeleton of Harry the Mastodon. As the United States honored its’ first century, there was a general wave of nostalgia for the Colonial period of American history. Museum Village honors that legacy with the only authentic building on our grounds: the Log Cabin, which dates back to the second half of the 18th century.
In our various interpreted buildings, visitors will learn about aspects of life in the late 19th century. Though electrical power was becoming more prevalent in the late 19th century, many people in the countryside still used candles and oil lamps to illuminate their houses. Visitors will be able to make their own candles in the Candle Shop. In the JC Merritt store, guests will be able to view artifacts from the time period including different types of oil and kerosene lamps, as well as clothes, appliances and school supplies. Speaking of school supplies, make sure to check out the School House! Learn about the history of rural education and experience what it was like to spend time in a one room schoolhouse.
While industrialization was on the rise in America, small towns still made some home goods, tools and clothes the old fashioned way. Make sure to check out the Broom and Weave Shops, as well as the Blacksmith, to get a sense of how different aspects of life were in the late 19th century. While elements of American life retained that more historic feeling, the country was also modernizing rapidly.
The Print Shop looks at how goods and services were advertised using the printing press. Our Energy Building traces the growth of electricity and technology from the late 19th century to the 20th century.
For the perfect mix of historic and modern (at least modern up to the 1920’s), make sure to stop by the Vernon Drug Store and experience a brief history of medicine, culminating in the most modern medical innovations and remedies for the early 20th century. We also have several self guided building exhibits that allow guests to learn about several different facets of 19th century life. These include the Firehouse, the Farm Building, the Livery, and the Barn.