Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Visit to the Barn Museum

The Amanas are home to several little museums and shops that feature the work of past and present artisans. One of our favorite stops was in South Amana at Henry Moore's Mini-Americana Barn Museum.    This is "the largest known collection of miniature replicas built by one man, woodworker Henry Moore (1911-1983)."

In 1968, Henry Moore was a retired gentleman who asked his grandchildren if they wanted him to build them a miniature barn.  They said "yes!" and that was the beginning of fifteen years of creation!

I took oodles of pictures because I wanted to show my folks especially the detail that went into Henry Moore's reproductions.  Housed inside a barn, the museum is a two-story wonderland of American farm history.  Mark and I couldn't get over how detailed the miniature farm replicas were.  The hours and hours that went into cutting each shingle from real cedar, measuring the siding to exact proportions, cutting each windowpane of real glass.
The stanchions in the barns even move!

Mr. Moore spent several months reconstructing farmsteads such as those found in Amana's existence (late 1800s/early 1900s).  Here is a replica of the grainary in Middle Amana.  Many of the real buildings are either gone or partially torn down now.

One of my favorite displays was a miniature version of Moore's grandparents' farm, circa 1920s.  See how Grandma is out in the back yard, hanging up the clothes?
So many memories of Henry Moore's childhood are evident in his work.
This Iowa farmstead raised Hereford beef steers.  See the guy scratching his back by the barn?  I also like the feed mill in the background.  Gotta love the details!

Henry Moore's own farmstead consisted of brown and white buildings.  What a treasure this must be for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren!
Moore had a pretty fancy corn crib (back right)!  The kids really enjoyed seeing all of the family farms and other displays of rural America!

Henry's son John, a retired Air Force pilot, was working the day we visited.  When his dad died, John went on to craft some of the miniatures in the museum, including the farmhouse in which he grew up.  Isn't it fantastic?

John noted that while the houses were mostly empty, all of the barn miniatures were complete with interior features.  The amount of time spent cutting out each and every shingle alone...it just boggles my mind!

We highly recommend that you visit Henry Moore's Barn Museum for a fun history lesson on American farm life!

He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.--Proverbs 28:19


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