This is a place where you can explore the history of our community, ask questions, and connect with the past in your own way. Discover the house that grew out of a single-room log cabin and learn from the exhibits inside. Enjoy the beautiful acres of preserved farmland, take the trail to the historic Big Shoal Cemetery and look for wildlife along the way. Explore what's growing as you visit the heirloom garden, apple orchard, or pumpkin patch. Once home to many people from 1831-2004, the farm stands as a wonderful reminder that the past can still be present and will always have stories to share.
Big Shoal Country FairSaturday - September 12 from 10:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m.
Spend the day at the beautiful and historic Atkins-Johnson Farm! The annual Big Shoal Country Fair is free to the public and includes live music, museum tours, petting zoo, garden tours, country fair games, craft market, canning and baked goods contest, and more. Inside the museum it's the last day to see the exhibit "America's Fair: Educating Communities" on loan from Michigan State University. This exhibit looks at the beautiful artwork of country fair posters from 1880-1920. As you tour the 22 acre farm be sure to stop by to see the honey bee hives. A local bee keeper will be on site during the fair to share his knowledge from over 30 years of bee keeping. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Atkins-Johnson Farm.
America's Fairs: Educating Communities
A new exhibit on display at the Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum July 29 - Sept. 12, 2015. This special traveling exhibit showcases several reproduction country fair posters created between 1880-1920.
Education has long been a central focus of fairs. The educational model used by fairs of the past is equally important today as fairs inform an increasingly non-agricultural based society.
America's Fairs is one of a series of three traveling exhibits created by the Michigan State University Museum to increase awareness of the origins of America's agricultural fairs and to highlight the educational nature of our fairs.
America's agricultural fairs focused on educating farmers and their families, and in doing so, created a continuing annual American tradition. Competition was the vehicle to inform and to inspire, thus strengthening a national industry--agriculture. Fairs have always showcased regional agricultural, mechanical and domestic products.
Special thanks is extended to The Fair Publishing House, Inc. (Norwalk, Ohio) for the loan of their unique private collection to the exhibit. Numerous reproductions of artworks, created for The Fair Publishing House, Inc. between 1880 and 1920 to promote county and state fairs, illustrate the emergence of a unique educational fair in America. These beautiful and colorful images provide a window into the past, showing people interacting in fair settings, fashion styles of the time, and examples of activities and entertainment featured at fairs in the past.