Claude Moore Colonial Farm Makes Progress on “Save the Farm” Initiative

Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm Thanks Public for Support and Responds to New Development

McLean, VA – July 2, 2018 –  The Friends of Claude Moore Colonial farm, the nonprofit volunteer group  that funds and operates the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, has been campaigning to keep the Farm operating and open to the public beyond December 21, 2018, when the National Park Service has announced it will close.

“We are effectively leveraging every means possible in our efforts to keep the Claude Moore Colonial Farm operating and open,” said Virginia Norton, President of the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm. “We have an impressive groundswell of public support, both within the local community and nationwide.  I am pleased to report that we now have bi-partisan Congressional support on legislation introduced to Save the Farm with the continued leadership of the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm.  We also have over 6,000 signatures on a Save the Farm petition directed to Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.”

Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm Responds to New Development

In response to another group recently formed that is interested in potentially operating the Claude Moore Colonial Farm beyond December 2018, Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm Director Elliott Curzon said: “If we thought another group could do a more effective job of funding and operating this living history museum and working Farm we would support that. However, we believe it is impossible to accomplish this for several important reasons.”

The National Park Service typically takes approximately three years to vet and approve a cooperative agreement with a new partnering group. That would mean that while the vetting and approval process was taking place with the other group the Claude Moore Colonial Farm would be closed to the public until at least 2021.

Second, the National Park Service has ordered the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm to remove all improvements and animals on the Farm site on December 21. That includes the Colonial Farmhouse and the administrative buildings. That also includes all heritage breed livestock, bee colonies as well as barn cats. It is not possible for another group to build the necessary structures on the site as well as repopulate the Farm with livestock, etc. before the Farm typically and historically opens each year in early April.

Third, the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm has successfully operated the Claude Moore Colonial Farm for 37 years. The Friends do not believe that the new group has the experience or expertise to seamlessly step in to meet the public’s interest in a variety of educational programs, workshops, internships and events, as well as to maintain a working 18th century Farm and living history museum.

Added Elliott, “The other group has not been transparent in identifying their principals nor their funding status and ability. We question the seriousness of this group.”

Progress on Save the Claude Moore Colonial Farm Initiatives

Bi-Partisan Support on Save the Farm Legislation (HR 5201)

District of Columbia Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton has joined Representatives Barbara Comstock (10th, VA) and Donald Young (AK) as sponsors of HR 5201 to keep the Claude Moore Colonial Farm operating and open to the public.

What you can do:

Contact your local Senator to co-sponsor and support expedited passage of HR 5201:

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Contact your local Representative to support expedited passage of HR 5201:

https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

Congressional Committees Probe National Park Service on Cooperative Agreement with Farm

On May 31st House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Bruce Westerman (AR) and Representative Barbara Comstock delivered a letter to National Park Service (NPS) Deputy Director Daniel Smith requesting clarification on NPS’s policies for cooperative agreements and urging transparency in the cooperative agreement negotiation process between the NPS and the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm.  The Committee, Subcommittee and Representative Comstock sought documents and information by June 14, 2018.  The committees also asked the National Park Service to conduct a briefing and site visit for Members and Committee staff by June 8, 2018. The National Park Service did not respond to the Congressional Committee’s requests or meet the deadlines noted.  For more information on the information request please visit:

https://comstock.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/committee-probes-national-park-service-cooperative-agreement-historic

https://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/5.31_bishop_nps_letter.pdf

What you can do:

Contact the National Park Service and Department of Interior to express your support for the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm operating the Claude Moore Colonial Farm:

NPS: https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/contactus.htm

Dept. of Interior: 202-208-3100 or feedback@ios.doi.gov

 Save the Farm Petition to U.S. Secretary of Interior Zinke

Nearly 6,100 people from across the country have signed a petition directed to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to keep the Claude Moore Colonial Farm open and operating under the direction of the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm.  The petition needs more signatures.

What you can do:        

Please view and sign the petition at:

https://www.change.org/p/save-the-claude-moore-colonial-farm.

 Save the Farm Rally Held

A large crowd attended a public rally on May 31st at the Pavilions of Turkey Run, adjacent to the Farm, to show support for the privately funded National Park and to hear about the campaign to save the Claude Moore Colonial Farm.  Threatening weather that evening did not deter the crowd from enjoying a hot dog picnic, beverages and a cider tasting.  One of Representative Comstock’s staff aides updated rally attendees on Congressional action and SAVE THE FARM T-shirts were sold.

What you can do:

Visit the Farm’s GateHouse Shop to purchase your Save the Farm tee shirt.

Virginia Students Unite to Save the Farm

The fourth grade students at Forestville Elementary School in Great Falls, VA participated in a learning assignment to help save the Claude Moore Colonial Farm. Students conducted research on the Farm’s history, operations and value as an educational resource. They also made posters and wrote letters to both the NPS and Representative Comstock. Commented one student on the unique perspective the Farm provides on life and work in Virginia just prior to the American Revolution: “The Claude Moore Colonial Farm helps you see what it was like back then in your own eyes.”

What you can do:

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Post on social media your support for the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm.

 Upcoming Farm Events

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm plans an 18th Century Summer Market Fair on July 21 and 22. Spinning, dyeing and other period crafts will be demonstrated as well as children’s games and music, heritage breed animals on display, and food and beverages for purchase. Additional events scheduled include Tobacco Harvest on Aug. 18, Furnished with a Firelock on Sept. 22 and an Oktoberfest fundraiser on Oct. 6.

What you can do:        

Visit the Farm for a self-guided tour or attend an event. More details at: http://1771.org/events/ and http://1771.org/visit/.

New Farm Members and Contributions

Since the Save the Farm public campaign launched on May 1, over 60 new members have joined the National Park, living history museum and working 18th century Farm. All membership proceeds benefit the Farm’s educational programs and services. In addition, the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm is grateful to have received donations from concerned citizens.

What you can do:        

To join the Claude Moore Colonial Farm or make a donation please visit www.1771.org.

Vision and Inception of Claude Moore Colonial Farm

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm was established by the NPS in 1972 to authentically depict 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.

Farm / NPS Issue

The Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm had been in good faith negotiations with the National Park Service 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 Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm agreed to all modern regulatory and legal clauses in the proposed new agreement. However, the NPS ultimately communicated to the Friends on March 30, 2018 that it would sign a new short-term agreement only, with certain terms that the Friends found 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.”

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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.

Media Contacts:

Victoria Baker: 703-231-3545; vbaker703@gmail.com

Anna Eberly:  703-475-2421; aeberly@1771.org