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Summer at Coggeshall: Experience the 18th Century

From Cow School to Make & Mend, visitors can participate in the life of the farm.

Coggeshall Farm Museum is pulling the veil off 18th century life this summer with a series of daily demonstrations and activities to engage visitors of all ages and interests. This living history farm in Bristol, Rhode Island portrays the lives of middle-class salt marsh farmers in the late 1700s.

“At Coggeshall, we celebrate the lives of everyday people who were the backbone of Rhode Island’s economy when our country was brand new,” says Executive Director Cindy Elder. “We carry forward their tradition of working in harmony with the land, making the most of our resources and enjoying both the work and pleasures of farm life.”

Location: Coggeshall Farm, 1 Colt Drive in Bristol, off Poppasquash Road (adjacent to Colt State Park)
The following offerings are included in the regular admission price (Weekdays: $3 for kids/seniors, $5 for adults; Weekends: $5 for kids/seniors, $7/adults). Members are free during all regular open hours. Coggeshall is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm. For more information, visit www.coggeshallfarm.org or call 401-253-9062.

Demonstrations and Activities

Making Hay by Hand – ongoing (weather-dependent)
One of the most important crops grown on an 18th century farm would have been grass. It provides feed for our animals and compost for our garden. But they didn’t have tractors back in 1790! On many days, you’ll find us scything the grass, raking it into wind rows, and storing it for later use.

Period Woodworking – ongoing
Wooden buildings need regular repair, and ours are no exception! Nearly every day you’ll see us working in the wood shop or in the pasture, building or repairing fences and barns, crafting shingles or sharpening tools.

Laundry Day – Tuesdays, 10AM (continuing through the day)
Laundry was a daylong affair in the 18th century! We start at 10 am by setting the kettle over the fire and move through the various steps until it’s done. While we often invite our visitors to get their hands dirty at Coggeshall, this is a chance to get your hands clean!

History Stroll – Tuesdays, 10AM
Join our resident historian Charles Quigley for a weekly stroll through time. Each week he’ll present a strolling discussion of a topic relating to 18th century life. To find out the topic of the week, visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/coggeshallfarm.

Cow School – Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 2PM
Have you ever wondered how a 1,500-pound animal learns to obey a human? With lots of practice! Watch us as we take our cows to school, teaching them to respond to commands and exhibit predictable behavior. And we’ll show you a game of Simon Says where you have to respond to cow commands.

Farmhouse Storytime – Wednesdays, 10AM
Bring the little ones for a cozy story time every week, and then enjoy the farm afterward. Bring your own special book or choose one from Coggeshall’s basket of favorites.

Harvest & Hearth Cooking – Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10AM
Our heirloom garden produces something new every week. Help us with our morning harvest and join us as we transform our farm ingredients into something delicious, cooking over an open hearth.

Pasture Walk – Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays,  Noon
Get up close with our largest rare-breed heritage animals, including our American Milking Devon cattle and Gulf Coast Native sheep.  Stroll the pasture with a trained interpreter who can help you safely approach the animals.

Weeding Party – Thursdays, 10AM
Our beautiful heirloom garden needs regular TLC! Join us for some social time, pulling weeds and sharing a few laughs. Finish up with some lemonade and a visit to the farm!

Sit & Knit – Thursdays, 11AM
In the heat of a summer afternoon, we like to seek some shade and think about some place cool… the perfect time to knit wool caps, mittens and socks we’ll be needing for winter. Bring along your own knitting or help us knit items for our interpreters to wear this winter. Want to learn how to knit? Bring a pair of size 8 needles and some worsted weight yarn, and we’ll get you started!

Wool Processing – Sundays, 10AM
From picking, washing and carding to spinning, wool is central to the life of the farm. Watch how we transform the wool of our own sheep into yarn. Interested in learning? We can show you how using our 18th-century style drop spindles.

Make & Mend – Sundays, 2PM
When you make your own clothing, you aren’t quick to discard it if it needs mending. Every Sunday afternoon, you’ll find us making or mending our clothing by hand. Bring your own mending or help us with ours! From beginners to experts, we enjoy sharing the parlor and some conversation while we sew.

Special Events

Shanty Night – Friday, Aug. 21 6:30PM
Polish up your favorite shanty and join us for an open sing, where everyone gets a chance to lead the singing. Gather up family and friends, bring a picnic and a blanket, and find your spot around the campfire. A special way to enjoy Coggeshall at dusk!

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