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Farming museum now step

PERU - Their dream will soon be a reality.

As each day goes by, Leeward C. Babbie of Peru and his nephew, Rick Laurin of Chazy, are getting closer to the opening of the Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum. The museum, which will be located on Babbie's former dairy farm on River Road, has been a plan the two have had in the works for some time to showcase the agricultural history of the North Country.

In January, the two scored what they consider a major win for the museum. The state Department of Education recently awarded the museum its charter as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which both feel will help gain financial support for the museum.

"What that does is opens us up for accepting donations that people can use for tax write-offs," explained Laurin.

Most recently, Babbie and Laurin were awarded a $625 grant from the Upstate History Alliance, an organization which "provides support, advice and training to historical societies, museums, historians, archivists, and other heritage organizations in New York State." The grant will be used to send Laurin to a three-day seminar that will help with the opening of the new museum.

"There's a whole bunch of topics from laying out museums to working with donors in the modern economy," said Laurin.

The process of opening the museum has moved along much faster than Babbie and Laurin originally thought it would.

"The average museum takes three to five years to open. We're going to open in 18 months," said Laurin. "We've had people who can't believe it happened so fast for us."

"We can't wait for the day," said Babbie, who has been working diligently with Laurin in recent months to prepare for a June opening.

"There aren't enough weekends," Babbie said with a laugh, referring to the time he's been working on the project.

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