Museum has good 1st year

PERU - The fi rst year in business for the Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum was a good one.

Rick Laurin, who founded the museum with his uncle, Leeward Babbie, said he was impressed with the turnout the museum has seen since it opened last June.

"It was just a great year, as far as the number of people through," said Laurin.

According to the register signed by visitors to the museum, 2,036 individuals visited the River Road facility through the museum's seasonal closure Nov. 1. Another 236 were recorded as visiting with a group.

"We had school kids from Peru, Beekmantown, Chazy ... and we had Cub Scouts from Keeseville," said Laurin, noting overall, 13 percent of registered visitors were from outside Clinton County.

"We all know not everyone actually signed in, so I believe these are conservative numbers," he added. "And, I know we had three or four people that came back at least three times."

What's added to the attraction of the museum is the fact it is a "hands-on" facility, encouraging children and adults alike to interact with exhibits, said Laurin.

"We would put five or six kids on a rope and they would all pull a bale of hay up to the hay mow and slide it in," he said. "We had stations for kids where they would do scavenger hunts for items and our guides would explain them. It's been very interactive, which I think gives us a slight advantage over other museums."

Creating that interaction also allows people to see how even more difficult life was on a farm from the 1800s to even just a few decades ago.

"Teaching these kids and seeing their reactions is just phenomenal," said Laurin. "We enjoy the heck out of it."

Though the museum has been enjoyed and attendance was reasonable for its first year, Laurin said he'd like to see an even bigger year when the museum reopens in the spring.

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