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Tours of the Historic Barn House and Exhibits

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The Historic Barn House

The Clemmons Family Farm

2122 Greenbush Road

Charlotte, VT 05445

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Refunds up to 1 day before event

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TOURS OF THE HISTORIC BARN HOUSE AND EXHIBITS

Join us on Saturdays, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. for a guided tour of the historic Barn House. The Barn House is actually two historic buildings: a granary and a cow barn, both built sometime between the late 1700's and the early 1800's. Jackson Clemmons joined the two buildings together more than 20 years ago, while he was in his 70's.

To book a special tour for your group on another day, please contact our Tours Director at vtcrocks@gmavt.net


Our 2019 tour season features a very special exhibit:

Travels of the Intrepid Couple: Stories, Art and Adventures of Lydia and Jack Clemmons.

This exhibit showcases the hidden story of a remarkable couple and a rare African-American owned family farm in Vermont, and how they helped to build bridges across differences of race, culture and geographic settings for nearly 60 years-- through art, community and a sense of place. The exhibit includes a beautiful collection of art and textiles, panels, photographs and listening stations with audio-recordings of some of the wonderful storytelling of 95-year-old Lydia Clemmons about her travels with her husband Jack, the people they met along the way, and some of unique art from North, West, East, Central and Southern Africa.

Jackson and Lydia Clemmons loved to travel to out-of-the-way places. They began their travels together with a 1952 honeymoon road trip from their home in Madison, Wisconsin to Los Angeles, California. Racial discrimination was legal at the time, and most hotels, gas stations and rest stops did not allow African Americans to use their services. The newlyweds did not know about The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide that had been published a few years before their marriage to help African American drivers find safe places to stay during their road trips. The intrepid young couple packed their blue jeans and camping gear into their car and followed Route 66. The couple later moved from Madison to Cleveland, Ohio where Jack attended medical school, and in 1962, drove from Cleveland to what was then the whitest state in the nation-- Vermont-- where they bought a farm and made their home. The couple began work and travels on the African continent in the 1980s, and Lydia established the first African art mail-order import business in the United States on the farm.


Our Barn House Tours also include the following exhibits:

  • For the Love of Old Barns: The Clemmons Family Farm has six historic buildings on the property, including four barns. The Barn House is itself a work of art. We have documented the transformation of an 18th century granary and cow barn into what is now "the Barn House" through photographs and videos. During the tour, you will see and feel the beauty of the original hand-hewn beams of the barns, the ingenious design that fills the building with natural light, and the beautiful antique fixtures ranging from windows to doors to a two-way cabinet cleverly built into a wall. You'll also listen to the story behind the Barn House and learn about the path that led Jackson Clemmons, a pathologist, to create a masterpiece that manifests his deep love for historic buildings, family and community. The exhibit includes photos and videos of the "Big Barn" located across the street from the Barn House, which document creative placemaking work underway with funding from ArtPlace America and the Vermont Division of Historic Barn Preservation. This exhibit also includes a multi-media exhibit of the work underway to transform the beloved "Big Barn"- an 1830s hay and dairy barn- into a future venue for African-American and African diaspora visual and performing arts, with room for continuing small-scale farming operations for the farm's culinary heritage programs. The "Big Barn" preservation and creative placemaking work is being implemented in collaboration with Zena Howard, FAIA- who served as Program Manager and one of the lead architects of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC. You'll find a series of short videos of Zena's work with the Clemmons Family Farm and her comments on the Big Barn in one of the rooms of the For the Love of Old Barns exhibit.


  • A Place for All People: The National Museum of African American History and Culture poster exhibit is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with the Museum. Based on the inaugural exhibitions of the museum, the 20 posters highlight key artifacts that tell the rich and diverse story of the African American experience. The Clemmons Family Farm has curated posters with summaries and QR codes that link viewers, with just a swipe of their smart phones, to audios and videos with additional selections of African American history as well as Clemmons family storytelling.


  • A Sense of Place: An array of interpretive installations located throughout the historic Barn House. The installations include Clemmons family photographs, selected farm tools, Clemmons family block printing projects from the 1970's, and memorabilia from Jack and Lydia Clemmons’ travels and work on the African continent, including A selection of masks, artifacts, statues and more- all lovingly collected by the Clemmons during their work and travels in Africa during the 1980s and 1990s.


  • West African Textiles: A selection of mudcloth and handwoven wool wedding blankets from Mali, kinte cloth from Ghana and Nigeria, and kuba cloth from the Democratic Republic of Congo.


  • Additional exhibits: A range of contemporary African-American and African diaspora art will be featured on a rotational basis throughout the 2018 season.


Tours take approximately 90 minutes. In addition to the guided tour you will have some time to look at the art, linger over the books on African art and culture, read the panels and posters, listen to storytelling audios and videos, look at the Adirondack views, enjoy the magical and calming ambiance of the Barn House, and just sit down and relax! If you have an Iphone please bring it along. We'll show you how to download a free QR code reader from the App store that will allow you to access Clemmons Family Farm audio and video storytelling and other multimedia information included in the exhibits.

* Tickets: $10.00



More about the Clemmons Family Farm

Did you know that, by your donation to tour the historic Barn House on the Clemmons Family Farm, you are helping to preserve one of the rare African-American owned farms in the state of Vermont and in New England as a cultural heritage asset for the community? There are one billion acres of farmland in the United States. Over the past century, African-American land ownership in the U.S. has decreased by 93%: from a combined total of 41 million acres to just 3.5 million acres today.

  • According to the 2012 United States agriculture census, of the nearly 7000 farms in Vermont, only 19 are African-American-owned or operated.
  • Of the 1.2 million acres of farmland in Vermont, only 740 acres are owned or principally operated by African Americans. ess than half of one percent (0.4%) of all farms in the United States are African-American-owned.
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Located in Charlotte near beautiful Lake Champlain, the Clemmons Family Farm is ​one of the largest African-American-owned historic farms in Vermont today. The farm includes 6 historic buildings (circa late 1700s-1800s), a spacious 1990’s residence, and 148 acres of prime farmland and forests, ponds and streams abundant with wildlife. Your purchases, donations and other kinds of support help us to keep this Farm available for African-American and African diaspora history, arts and culture programs for the community.

FAQ

Where do I park?

The historic Barn House is located on the west side of the Road at 2122 Greenbush Road (Adirondack Mountain side). Please park across the road (east side of Greenbush Road) in the barnyard that is near the two old red barns (the shed and the "Big Barn"). You will see "Event Parking" signs indicating the areas where you can park. You will then cross the road and walk down the hill to the Barn House.


What do I do if I cannot walk down and up the hill to the Barn House?

Please contact clemmonsfamilyfarm@gmail.com or leave a message at (765) 560-5445 so that we can arrange for a car to drive you down (and up) the hill. Also, the Barn House has an access ramp for those who may have difficulty using the stairs at the main entrance.


Is it ok to bring children?

Yes! Please keep a close eye on children under 8. If they get restless during the tour, there's plenty of room outside on the lawns for them to run around, but they will need to be accompanied by an adult.


How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please contact us if you have any questions about the event. You can reach our Tours Director (Susan) at vtcrocks@gmavt.net


Where can I learn more about the Clemmons Family Farm?

Check out our website and like us on Facebook!

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Location

The Historic Barn House

The Clemmons Family Farm

2122 Greenbush Road

Charlotte, VT 05445

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

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