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Traditional Woodworking Tour: Frontier Culture Museum – 1740s Settlement

My family and I recently visited one of my new favorite woodworking destinations: The Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia (see the above video). We planned to stay 2 hours, but stayed 6. I loved my visit and the historical tools and furniture so much that I went back a week later to interview the head furniture makers. So I’ll be sharing several upcoming videos & photos from my two visits. Some of them will focus just on the furniture.

Frontier Culture Museum

The Frontier Culture Museum is  unlike anything I’ve encountered. The organization has disassembled actual period farms from England, Ireland, Germany, Africa, and different parts of the United States, then reconstructed them on several hundred acres of lush Virginia farmland. Why? To educate Americans on how our American farms were influenced by immigrants from overseas. You can see the different farms here.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

What I found particularly fascinating was the woodworking tools and furniture displayed at each of the 10 farms. The staff actually use the respective tools to construct furniture and tools (like the below shaving horse). It is a hands on “museum” so I just helped myself to all the amazing tool chests! The staff didn’t mind. They also didn’t mind that I constantly caressed their reproduction furniture either…although I got some strange looks.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

This fellow (below) grew up in the big city but longed for a job that would give him a taste of a simpler time. He glowed as he showed me some of his woodworking projects, especially his mostly-completed shaving horse:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth


I felt so refreshed by my time on these farms!

I’ll be sharing a series of these workshops & tool chests, so make sure you subscribe to have my future articles delivered to your inbox.

About Joshua Farnsworth

"I'm wildly passionate about traditional woodworking with hand tools, and want to rekindle this lost art. At WoodAndShop I teach you the skills that I learn, and also share anything fascinating that I discover about traditional woodworking. That includes tours of traditional workshops, beautiful furniture, and my favorite tools and books. I hope you enjoy my videos, photos, and articles. Please feel free to leave constructive comments!"


  • Joshua, Really great blog post about your visit to the Museum. I will share it on our blog near the end of the week and tomorrow we will share it with our Facebook family. Couple of dates to put on your calendar. Colonial Artisans October 3 & 4, and Ancestral Skills and Historic Trades October 17 & 18. Thanks again for the shout out.
    Justin Reiter – Director of Marketing Frontier Culture Museum

    • Joshua Farnsworth says:

      I’m glad you liked it Justin! I’ve got some more coming soon, especially with George Lott’s shop tour.

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