This article originally appeared here on wbaltv.com
WEST FRIENDSHIP, Md. — The Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum in West Friendship is being forced to relocate after the county terminated its lease of the land.
The museum, run by the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club, received a letter from the county in late August that said they have to be gone by Nov. 27.
John Frank, the president of the museum, told 11 News that when it moved in 18 years ago, they fixed dilapidated buildings and they currently maintain the grounds.
“It’s been somewhat confusing for us in recent months. We started some dialogue about what I thought was going to be some positive changes to the facility and with our relationship with our landlord,” Frank said. “We have no desire to leave here. We’re surprised as anybody that we find ourselves in this scenario.”
County officials declined to speak with 11 News but sent a statement that reads: “The Department of Recreation and Parks has been involved in regular communications with the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club Inc. during the past two years to address a number of the county’s issues with the physical improvements on site, as well as programmatic activities undertaken by the club, with unsatisfactory results.”
The museum includes a one-room schoolhouse, a dairy museum and much more.
“There’s all kinds of equipment and nice exhibits that we’ve enjoyed over the years coming here, so it was really shocking,” said Betty Foreman, a resident.
“We have thousands and thousands of artifacts here that range from the size of trains through the size of large agricultural machinery, large tractors, right on down to small tools and artifacts from blacksmithing programs,” Frank said.
The museum has hosted countless programs about agriculture for kids and adults. There’s currently no place to put all of what the museum has acquired.
“We are in the process of generating plans, but we have an obligation to protect that stuff, so we’re going to protect it. That’s part of our mission, whether we have a property or don’t have a property,” Frank said. “We’ve been very proud that we are community-based and built and community-supported.”
Frank said he hopes the county will reconsider and is asking the community to reach out to county leaders.