Save the Farm

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The National Park Service is closing the Farm

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 will 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, it is possible that H.R. 5201 will not be enacted in time before the Farm is forced to close 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 launching this campaign to protect and preserve this valuable community asset.

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We need your help

Support Legislation to Save the Farm by contacting your local Representative and/or Senator to urge support and expedited passage of H.R. 5201
https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Contact the National Park Service and let them know you want to keep the Claude Moore Colonial Farm open: https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/contactus.htm

Contact the Department of the Interior at 202-208-3100 or by emailing feedback@ios.doi.gov

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.

Comments and Questions

We have been serving the Greater Washington DC community for nearly four decades. Many of our members and volunteers started out with the farm as children and have stayed connected to us as they became adults. We need to keep the farm open for future generations.

If you have comments or memories of the farm you would like to share with us, or other thoughts on how to save the farm, please send an email to savethefarm@1771.org.

Facts about the 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.

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm was established as Turkey Run Farm by the National Park Service in 1972 under President Nixon’s Legacy-in-the-Parks program. When federal budget cutbacks threatened the closure of the Farm in 1980, the community rallied behind Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Senator John Warner (R-VA) to save this popular educational resource. The citizens’ group, incorporated in 1981 as The Friends of Turkey Run Farm, Inc., raised the funds immediately necessary to keep the park open as plans were made for the Farm’s long-term financial and operational stability.

During the next two years, the Friends successfully negotiated a thirty-year, no-fee lease for the park, matched a generous $250,000 endowment gift from Dr. Claude Moore of Loudoun County to ensure a more stable financial base for the park’s operation, and changed the name to The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run.  In 1990, after ten years of successful private operation of the Farm, the Congress, through the National Park Service, provided much-needed help with a $225,000 construction grant to replace the maintenance/administrative facilities and the badly deteriorated 18th-century farm house.