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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies

Old Bedford Village

Located in Bedford County in south central Pennsylvania, Old Bedford Village was begun in 1974 as a proposed solution to the county's twenty percent unemployment rate. It was hoped that an museum site promoting the area's rich historic heritage would attract tourism and provide employment for county residents. Old Bedford Village's stated mission as a living history museum is to keep the spirit of the Pennsylvania frontier alive by preserving, interpreting and presenting elements of Bedford County life in the period 1700-1899.

The Claycomb Covered Bridge, built in 1844, was dismantled and relocated to the site of the future village; it was reconstructed to serve as an entrance to the Village. In addition, an 18th century barn, five log homes, two school houses and a log church were moved from different areas of Bedford County and also reconstructed on the site, and a working farm was begun. To demonstrate early craft skills, replicas of period shops were built, along with housing for artisans, supervisors and caretakers. The Village was virtually complete by 1980. Today Old Bedford Village is home to over 40 authentic and reproduction buildings, including a church, tavern, jail, blacksmith shop, gun shop, general store, post office, bakery and log houses. These buildings house exhibits and artisans who demonstrate crafts such as spinning, blacksmithing, candlemaking, tinsmithing, tolepainting and broommaking.

A hands-on program for students allows them to learn pioneer crafts like tolepainting, tinsmithing, quilting, candlemaking. The children are taught two period crafts a day, and spend free time touring the Village. A Traveling Hands-On program takes Village artisans to schools to teach the children about traditional crafts. In-depth, day-long workshops also allow adults to experience learning a craft. Festival and re-enactments held during summer weekends, including the French and Indian War Re-enactment, Celtic Heritage Day, and Octoberfest, draw visitors into a world of rich heritage and living legacies.

A 22-page report and bibliography comprise the project's documentation.

Originally submitted by: Bud Shuster, Representative (9th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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