MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm, the nonprofit volunteer entity that funds and manages the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, is launching a public campaign to keep the Farm operating and open to the public.
The Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm (“the Friends”) had been in good faith negotiations with the National Park Service (“NPS”) for six years to secure another long-term cooperative agreement under the terms that have served well the Farm, the NPS and the Metropolitan Washington, DC community for the last 37 years. The NPS ultimately communicated to the Friends on March 30th that it would sign a new short-term agreement only, with terms that the Friends find burdensome, oppressive and impossible under which to operate the Farm. The National Park Service then communicated that it intends to close the Claude Moore Colonial Farm on December 21, 2018: “On that date, the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm’s operations at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm will conclude, and the entire site will be closed to the public, staff and volunteers.”
“The Claude Moore Colonial Farm provides a unique and valuable educational experience for the Washington, DC community and our visitors, particularly school age children,” said Friends’ President Dr. Virginia Norton. “We intend to use every resource available – public and private, legislative and administrative – to keep the Farm operating and open to the public.”
Added Friends’ Director Elliott Curzon: “It is not clear why the NPS would want to close an award-winning National Park site that so well serves the public and, in addition, costs them nothing to operate. It is worth noting that the Farm sits on 77 acres of land that has increased in value over the last four decades. We believe the NPS is under pressure from developers, including Fairfax County, to repurpose this land for development.”
Save the Farm Legislation: H.R. 5201
Legislation to keep the Claude Moore Colonial Farm operating and open to the public has been introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (10th, VA) and co-sponsored by Congressman Donald Young (AK). However, there are concerns that H.R. 5201 will not be enacted in time before the Farm has been closed by the NPS on Dec. 21st and its assets disbursed. In collaboration with Representatives Comstock and Young, Farm volunteers and the community, the Friends are, therefore, launching a campaign in which the public can help to protect and preserve this valuable community asset.
Vision and Inception of Claude Moore Colonial Farm
While rich in colonial history, historical sites in Virginia such as Mount Vernon and Gunston Hall illustrate the life of a small percentage of the early American population, the wealthy one percent of that era. Most early settlers were, in fact, poor tenant farmers. The Claude Moore Colonial Farm was established by the NPS in 1972 and provides balance and context by authentically depicting the daily work and life of a typical tenant farm family in 1771, just prior to the American Revolution.
Since opening to the public in 1973 the Claude Moore Colonial Farm has welcomed and educated over two million visitors, including families, school groups and others from across the country and internationally. The Farm is a privately operated and funded National Park site, relying on memberships, donations, program income, sales and grants as well as other means to sustain its operations. In 2018 the Farm secured the most number of votes to win “Best Museum” in Northern Virginia Magazine’s Best of 2018 competition.
Save the Farm: What You Can Do
Support Legislation to Save the Farm: Contact your local
Representative and/or Senator to urge support and expedited passage of
- Contact the National Park Service: Communicate your support for the Claude Moore Colonial Farm: https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/contactus.htm
- Contact the Department of the Interior: 202-208-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Join the Farm or Make a Contribution: http://1771.org/support/
- Visit the Farm for a Self-Guided Tour or Attend an Event: http://1771.org/visit/
- Voice Your Support on Social Media: Post your support of the Farm on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, NextDoor, the Patch and other media sources.
- Share this information with everyone you know.
About the Claude Moore Colonial Farm
The Claude Moore Colonial Farm is a privately operated and funded National Park site and living history museum. The Farm’s mission is to educate the public about early American daily life and agriculture through participation and involvement in an 18thcentury Virginia tenant family farm as well as through other activities. The Claude Moore Colonial Farm is managed by the Friends of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, a publicly supported nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. The Farm was founded in 1972. Please visit www.1771.org for more information.