Boyer, 18, helps historical preservationists look to future

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Heritage Day at Matthews Farm Museum is Saturday

By April Wright, Reporter

Manage your resources, learn to solve problems, help your neighbors solve their problems and learn the land and its history.
That’s the advice Daniel Boyer, 18, the youngest member of the Matthews Farm Museum Board, has to offer to his peers.
Boyer and other board members are gearing up for the Matthews Farm Museum Heritage Day on Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on the 21-acre working farm.

Today, the farm museum is maintained organically, just as it was in the early 1900s. The museum helps to preserve the cultural heritage of upper New River Valley circa 1900 with artifacts, tools, equipment and methods.
The day includes regional music, food by the First United Methodist Church of Independence and demonstrations of harvesting with horses, log cabin building, blacksmithing, fiber arts, chair caning, soap making, throwing pottery, wood turning, weaving, quilting, basket making, herb and vegetable gardening, animal husbandry, luthier crafting and storytelling.
Chestnut Creek School of the Arts will offer crafts for children and cooking demonstrations.
This year, a couple of rooms in the house will be open to festival-goers, which hasn’t been done before. Board members are in the process of restoring it and showcasing the collection of artifacts and how they were used in the home at that time.
Boyer became a part of the Matthews Farm Museum planning when he was 16 years old. A scholarship required that he sit on the board for a year. He was the first scholarship recipient, and he enjoyed the board’s monthly meetings so much that he decided to remain.
Another scholarship is being made available this year.
“I’ve always have been interested in history, and there’s not really anything like this in the area where people can look into the past,” said Boyer. “I’ve learned that if we work with people and share our ideas, we can get something done.”
The museum features a turn-of-the-century farmhouse, barn with livestock, a log house, workshop, spring house and a kitchen garden.
“And many don’t have parents or grandparents that can tell them about managing resources or what life was like back then,” said Boyer.
Boyer grew up on a farm, raises his own chickens and plays the clawhammer banjo in his band, The Iron Mountain Ridgerunners.
Starting this fall semester, Boyer will attend Wytheville Community College. Next year, he plans to study agriculture at Virginia Tech.
Sandy Troth, secretary of the museum board, said Boyer helps to remind other members why it’s important to preserve the culture.
“Daniel is unique to the board,” said Troth. “He has a willingness to provide to the community. He sets an example to other organizations.”
Troth said the purpose of providing scholarships is to provide youth with an opportunity to develop leadership skills. At the same time, board members hope that those scholarship recipients move back to the area when they graduate college and help the museum continue its mission to preserve local history.
“We’re very proud of Daniel,” said Troth. “He is a shining example” of the young members that the board hopes to recruit in the community.
Heritage Day provides practical information and provides a chance for a hands-on experience.
Visitors are encouraged to bring folding chairs. Admission is free.
The Matthews Farm Museum is located at 476 White Pine Road in Galax. For more information, call 773-3080, send e-mail to matthewsfarm@gmail.com or visit matthewsfarmmuseum.org.
Performance Schedule:
• 11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Ellie’s Ramblers
• 1-1:30 p.m. — Storytime with Carlene Poole
• 1:30-2:30 p.m. — Jean Callison
• 2:30-3 p.m. — Storytime with Carlene Poole