September/October

Dates: September 5 – October 31, 2018

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Visit Length: Visits are designed for 3 to 4 hours; we can accommodate longer and shorter visits.
Group Size: Groups of any size are welcome! Large groups may be divided for a portion of the visit.
Fee: $5.00 per student. 1 adult free for every 7 students.
Transportation providers free.

Register online or call 802-457-2355: weekdays 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


The Mystery Bag

Discover the farm through your sense of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.

PRE-SCHOOL–GRADE 1  Using your five senses, your imagination, and a bag of mysteries, learn about the variety of animals on a family farm. Children may share their own knowledge of animals and the importance of livestock for work, food, clothing, and companionship.


Children on Hill Farms

A farm child’s responsibilities.

GRADES K–3  Using sources from the past, explore the role of children as productive members of the 19th century farm family. While learning about their daily lives – including chores, school, and play – today’s children will be encouraged to compare and contrast the present with the past.

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Pumpkins: Farming, Feasting, and Fables

Delicious and nutritious food for humans and animals.

GRADES K–6 Every pumpkin is a squash, but not every squash is a pumpkin. Do you know why? Consider the many uses of this popular symbol of autumn and see varieties that come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Each class may select a pumpkin to take back to the classroom.

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An Apple a Day

A hands-on exploration of the history and science of this harvested crop.

GRADES K–6 Visit our apple orchard and discover over two dozen historic and modern varieties; look for apple pests and helpers and examine harvesting tools. Press apples into cider and sample the delicious product. Peel apples using an old-style peeler and prepare them for drying. Analyze the life cycle of apples and connect each stage to its appropriate season.

GRADES 4–6  Observe an apple tree graft and investigate the methods and tools for grafting. Can one tree bear more than one variety of apple?

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Sheep and Wool

The sheep as a provider of natural fiber and good nutrition.

Meet a Southdown ewe from our flock and work with her wool. Explore the changes in sheep farming and wool working over the years.

GRADES K–3  Feel the thick wool, rich with lanolin. Use carding tools to process the wool into roving. What products are made from wool? Learn when lambs are born, sheep are sheared, and how we care for them.

GRADES 4–6  What role did sheep play in Vermont history and how did they impact the land? Consider the origins, care, and physical characteristics that allow sheep to adapt to their environment and help them to survive. What characteristics of wool make it good to spin? Beneficial to wear? Spin wool into yarn.

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Up Close With a Jersey Cow

The cow as mother, milker, and food provider.

Historically, cows were milked by hand; today’s farmers use machines. Observe both methods while learning about our Jersey cows.

GRADES K–6  Learn how we care for our cows, their production of milk, the role of calves on the farm, and the foods that cows consume.

GRADES 4–6  Consider how the dairy cow has been the backbone of Vermont’s economy for over a century and the impact dairying has had on the Vermont countryside. Learn how technological advances have allowed for computerizing production records and feed rations.


Food For Thought

How preservation, transportation, and technology have influenced our diets.

GRADES 1–8  Do you know where your food comes from and how it was prepared? Examine a variety of foods and discuss their seasonal availability, where they are grown, and how they reach distant markets. Discover different methods of preserving foods, and make pasta by hand to understand how technology has impacted the way we eat.


Horses and Oxen

The 19th century tractors.

GRADES K–8  Horses and oxen have a long and important tradition in New England as primary sources of farm power. A century ago, these animals were capable of doing all the necessary work on the Billings Farm. Learn about their care and training and consider that, while both horses and oxen play critical roles in agricultural history, each species has definite advantages over the other.


Made in Vermont

Sustainable living using the natural resources at hand.

GRADES 4–8  Ingenious and thrifty, farm families used natural resources on and near their farms to provide food, clothing, shelter, and entertainment. Examine homemade items (and compare the factory- made equivalent) to understand the traditional skills and concepts of thrift and recycling that enabled these families to survive – and even thrive – in a non-cash economy.


Primary Sources

Using artifacts as primary source texts.

GRADES 4–8  While examining unusual objects to learn more about the past, put your critical thinking skills to use and answer these questions: Who made and used it? What was it used for? When and where was it used? Why do museums collect these possessions from the past and why are they important sources of history?


The Pine and the Maple

A tale of two trees.

GRADES K–3  Why are white pine and maple trees an important part of our history and economy? Discover how the Native Americans used every part of these trees, from pine needles (tea) to maple sap; we will sample both. Learn to classify trees as deciduous and coniferous and discover their unique seed dispersal methods.

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Check Out the Chickens

The chicken as a source of egg money, food, and pillows.

GRADES K–6  What do chickens eat? How many eggs will a hen lay? What color are her eggs? Discover why these useful birds are an important part of the farm and a child’s daily life. Feel the softness of their feathers and the warmth they create.

Grades 4-6 Discover how the chicken’s unique anatomy allows her to eat without teeth, produce a colored egg, and use oxygen more efficiently than a human. What can her feathers tell us? Are they soft and smooth or stiff and sharp?