‘A Celebration of Abundance’ opens at the library

Virginia Ebeling enjoyed looking at nostalgic artifacts like this reel lawn mower invented in 1830. -Photo by James Hanlon.

Though it was a wet and foggy night, that didn’t stop 150 or so people from attending the opening of a special Michigan farming exhibit at the Oxford Public Library, Jan. 10.
Patrons enjoyed finger foods from Victoria’s Wine and Dine and music from Debonair, a jazz and bluegrass group based out of Lansing and Lapeer, while browsing through the displays of local agricultural and historical artifacts.
Bryan Cloutier, director and CEO of the library and president of the Northeast Oakland Historical Society, said there were a lot of faces he had never seen in the library before. “If this is your first time to Oxford Public Library, welcome, and we hope that you enjoy your stay with us this evening. We hope that you will return to our lovely library in the near future,” he said in a speech.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is the Michigan Historic Barn Preservation Network’s travelling display. Library staff have been working for months to build an exhibit around it. The remainder of the artifacts are on loan from the Northeast Oakland Historical Society and private collections in the Oxford and Metamora area.
Cloutier said the fun part was going into the countryside to meet with folks who shared the stories behind the items. Artifacts include farm tools, accessories and equestrian items dating back to early 1900s and the 1800s.
Cloutier thanked the Barn Preservation Network, Metamora Hunt, the Northeast Oakland Historical Society and museum, and the private individuals who loaned their items.
“Tonight, whether it’s Metamora Hunt or Oxford horse country, we’re one community. And, that’s what’s important,” Cloutier said.
The library began hosting exhibits like this about five years ago when they displayed an exhibit from the Smithsonian called “The Way we Worked,” which told the story of the local industries, especially mining.
“Our main objective has been to work with the community in telling the story about who we are as a community, but also preserving those individual stories in a way for future generations to be able to understand our culture and community and its importance to the region, state, and even the nation,” Cloutier said.
He noted that although the agricultural scene is the highlight of this exhibit, it also features local equestrianism. “Oxford and Metamora has one of the largest equestrian scenes in the state of Michigan. It’s even notable at a national level,” he said.
Cloutier said he received a lot of positive feedback about the event and from individuals who visited the library over the weekend. “I’m very pleased with the exhibit and how the response with community has been,” he said.
There will be additional events through the duration of the exhibit.
Tonight (Jan. 15) at 6:30 p.m., a representative from the Michigan Barn Preservation Network will speak about the exhibit.
A genuine square dance is planned for Sunday, Jan. 19 from 2-4 p.m. Ages eight and up can participate, but there will be plenty of space for younger children to sit, listen to the music, and watch the dancers. There’s also a photo booth.
“Farm Fun” for ages 5 and up Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. will be a hands-on opportunity to make butter, create art with milk, plant a seed and more. Registration is required.
Fireside chats Fridays (listed below) Start at 2 p.m., and complement the exhibit:
Jan. 17, Anneke Bullock, “Transformation of a Barn: Making a Home.”
Jan. 24, Clinton River Watershed Council, “Rain and Gardens & Rain Barrels.”
Jan. 31, Kelly Wilson of Local Food Guide Magazine, “Michigan Year-round Locally Grown Foods.”
Feb. 7, Nate Perkins of Upland Hills Farms, “Agri-tourism and Local Farm Life.”
Feb 14, Joe Mayday, Master of the Hunt, “90+ years of Sport and Tradition at the Metamora Hunt Club.”
The exhibit runs until Feb. 21. The Oxford Public Library is located 530 Pontiac St. For more information about its programs, visit miopl.org or call 248-628-3034.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.