The Founding of the MOOseum and it's Organization
In the late 1960’s the James & Macie King Farm was sold to the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) with the understanding that it would become the centerpiece of a proposed regional park in an area of the county that was anticipating commercial and residential development. Thirty-five years later, South Germantown Recreational Park became a reality, with the King Barn the only building on the site preserved by the County. Through the efforts of the Farm’s family and friends of agriculture throughout the County a core group of organizers of the museum was developed. The Montgomery County Planning Board gave it’s unanimous approval for the MOOseum project in April, 2002. Once the site was defined and the original building restored, the Barn was made available by MNCPPC through a right of entry agreement, the King Barn Dairy Mooseum, Inc. began planning for a fully operational museum.
Federal 501-C(3) (non-profit) designation was received in June of 2003, and the MOOseum has been a Registered Charity in the State of Maryland since May 2004.
The MOOseum is a governed by a Board of Directors which meet bi-monthly. We have an Advisory Board comprised of individuals from the business, government, educational and farming communites. The MOOseum is a volunteer-based organization, with no paid employees. Funding for the MOOseum is provided through private donations and grants. We have established an Endowment Fund to support the financial health of the organization in the future. An Annual Report is published in the Spring of each year, and is available upon request.
The Montgomery County Department of Parks, the State of Maryland and the Montgomery County Council have all contributed to provide the necessary funding for making required safety and public access/assembly modifications to the building. Construction was completed and the MOOseum received it's "right of occupancy" permit on June 17, 2010 - in time for our first "Open Weekend" on June 26th and 27th as part of Montgomery County Heritage Days.
King Barn Dairy MOOseum Mission
The purpose of the MOOseum is to develop the King Barn into a dairy museum as an education based heritage landmark that is compatible with, and enhancing to, the surrounding Park and Region.
The MOOseum Barn features the display of collections of dairy-related artifacts and equipment directly related to production, processing and sale of milk and milk products. Areas are being set aside for displays and demonstrations relating to dairy herds, milk, and milk products. A media room is situated in the Dairy Building that will is currently our visityor's center, with related videos shown daily, will eventually be a home for related publications, the gathering of oral histories from area residents involved in dairying and related businesses, and photographic as well as videographic exhibition.
The MOOseum will sponsor educational programs for all ages, with emphasis on telling the story of milk production to the County’s children. With the continued expansion of residential and commercial development into traditionally agricultural areas our children are becoming disconnected with the realities of food sources and production. The MOOseum will provide an excellent resource bridging the gap between producer and consumer.
Special events, particularly during the summer months will feature live animals and demonstrations of milk-related activities: milking, cream separation, butter, ice cream and cheese-making. Story-telling/oral history sessions relating to life on the farm will also be featured.
Since the Barn was built during the Depression-Era, many of the programs and displays will relate to life on a Dairy Farm during the first half of the 20th Century: distribution systems, labor practices, and changes in milking and cattle breeding methods.
Attention will also be paid to the role of farm women through their past and current involvement in the Farm Women’s Cooperative Market which continues to be held twice weekly in Bethesda.
The MOOseum in the Community
Beginning in the Summer of 2002 the Dairy MOOseum began a series of open days to introduce itself to the County. On selected weekend afternoons in June - Dairy Month - volunteers put together exhibits relating to many aspects of dairying and milk production. Art projects, specifically designed for MOOseum display, were prepared by local elementary and high schools, including photography, paintings and sculpture. In conjunction with the Montgomery County Historical Society we were also open as part of their annual two-day History Tour. We also participate in the County’s Heritage Farm Tour and Sale each July, which gives us an opportunity for further outreach to the public.
A special "Children’s Room" has been set-up at the MOOseum, for story-telling, puppeteering, and craft-activities for pre-school and elementary-age children.
Matsunaga Elementary School, located near the Barn, teams with the MOOseum for all-day and half-day programs for 1st and 2nd graders. Under the direction of each grade’s teaching team and with the enthusiastic participation of the parents the program included activities that crossed the entire curriculum - reading, math, science, environmental studies, local history, economics, and fine arts. It is a tremendous program and plans are underway to offer this program to schools throughout the County.
MNCPPC has added a children’s playground, benches, wildflower landscaping, native trees and shrubs to the area surrounding the Barn for the use and enjoyment of site visitors.
Meetings have been held with dairy community representatives; dairymen, 4-H families, County Extension Service personnel, and others interested in sharing their stories of dairy farming in the area. We also maintain a booth at the Montgomery County Fair in the “Old McDonald’s Barn Annex” and have participated in town festivals and parades within the County’s Agricultural Reserve.
In 2004 the MOOseum was invited to place an exhibit at Water’s House in Germantown, then administered by the Montgomery County Historical Society. These exhibits, repeated over the following five years, highlighted our programs and collections, giving us a venue for reaching the public before the MOOseum's Barn was open to the public, with private tours available to church groups, Scout and school groups, senior citizen groups and any other interested individuals. In 2005 we integrated this program with our "Around the Barn" walking tour of the barn, inviting visitors to expand their visit beyond Water’s House to the Barn and finally to visit nearby farm markets in the Germantown area.
In the Spring of 2010 the MOOseum Barm opened to the public, and maintains a seasonal schedule of weekend open days May through October each year.