Tobacco Farm Life Museum
Tobacco Farm Life Museum, Kenly, NC
In a small North Carolina town named Kenly you can find the Museum of Tobacco Farm Life situated just off highway 301. You might think you were passing a well preserved farm, typical of rural North Carolina, were it not for the welcoming signs on the highway. Tucked in a shady pine grove are several rustic buildings, which were moved to the site from surrounding farms. One can only marvel at the work it took to dismantle the log tobacco barn and reassemble it on the museum site. Some buildings are reproductions and were built on the site.
Log Tobacco Barn
The Tobacco Warehouse
Visitors begin their visit at the 6000 square foot “warehouse.” Here visitors are welcomed, pay their admission fee and go on to learn the story of flu-cured tobacco from farm to market as it was done in the early to late 1900s. With artifacts, video, dioramas, and educational programs one learns the importance of this cash crop to the State's economy. They also learn how labor intensive it was from planting seedbeds, transplanting to the fields, maintaining the crop until harvesting, and then harvesting and curing the tobacco. All of that before it could be carried to market where it was auctioned from some 130 warehouses across eastern North Carolina. In addition to the history of the tobacco industry the museum displays vintage clothing, children’s toys and furnishings, horse and mule drawn vehicles, kitchen and laundry appliances and utensils, and much more to give a complete picture of how things were done in the “good ole days.” This building also houses a gift shop and restrooms.
Tobacco displayed in baskets for market
Tobacco Farm Outbuildings and Events
A stroll from the main building through the grounds is a walk back into time. Included are a typical North Carolina farmhouse with detached kitchen, a log tobacco barn, blacksmith shop, smokehouse, and yes, an outhouse. The buildings are meticulously furnished with artifacts of the turn of the twentieth century right down to the chamber pots in the bedrooms to the oil lamps on the mantle in the farmhouse.
A friendly staff is on hand to give a guided tour or visitors can tour on their own, following the dirt paths from building to building. The museum has special events every Saturday ranging from demonstrations of heritage crafts such as spinning, leatherworking, blacksmithing, and soap-making to music, barn-dancing, and “Porch Sittin’” stage performances. The list also includes an antique car show and duck decoy exhibit. Admission is $8/adult, seniors 55 and over get in for $7 and children and students $6. Children under two are admitted free. The museum is open Tuesday though Saturday from 9:30AM – 5:00PM. To learn more about the Tobacco Farm Life Museum visit their website at http://tobaccofarmlifemuseum.org/
Tobacco Hanging in Barn
© 2012 Donna Campbell Smith