I first heard about the Steppingstone Farm Museum from Shannon Rogers (of The Renaissance Woodworker) on a Woodtalk Online podcast. I learned more when we worked at adjacent benches at the Woodwright’s School taking Elia Bizzarri’s Continuous Arm Rocker class. (I think I just set a new record for links per paragraph.)

A few weeks back, we were visiting some friends in Baltimore for a few days and were looking for a day trip to take with them and their kids and their kids. I suggested we visit the Steppingstone Farm Museum. It is located in Havre de Grace, MD, about an hour north of Baltimore on I-95. Much to my surprise, all agreed and we went.

To steal from their description:

Steppingstone museum is a private, not for profit museum which preserves and demonstrates the rural arts and crafts of the 1880-1920 period in Harford County. The Steppingstone collection is comprised of domestic arts, skilled trades tools. and farm implements. The artifacts in each category were used by skilled specialists whose talents are scarce in our present urban and industrial society.  Our founder wished us to represent the “last rural generation”- people who lived off the land and crafted their livelihoods by hand.

A noble pursuit.

And I took pictures.

They have there the J. Edmund Bull Antique Tool Collection consisting largely of antique tools. They have many examples of the latest in foot powered machinery:

Foot powered scroll saw.

Foot powered scroll saw.

Some shaving horses:

Not typical but not rare.

Not typical but not rare.

A volunteer was using this spill plane:

They really like their spill plane.

They really like their spill plane. Note the period correct water bottle.

Hand tools for the farm workers:

More fun to look at than use.

More fun to look at than use.

A one man saw:

folded up and stored safely.

folded and safely stored.

Our friend Roy Underhill demonstrating a similar saw at his mill.

Not folded and stored safely

Not folded and stored safely.


This is a typical building.

This is a typical building.

There is also a an exhibit detailing canneries in Harford County:

A representative canning table.

A representative canning table.

The Historical Society of Harford County has identified close to 700 canneries that operated in the county between 1880 and 1959. Once again to steal content:

Harford County canned mostly corn and tomatoes. Canneries typically loaned farmers the money to buy seed and fertilizer. In exchange the Cannery Owner set the schedule for planting and harvesting so he could balance the workload of the cannery. The large canneries actually established banks to help support the industry thus benefitting another business in Harford County.

The youngest members of our entourage were 2 and 6 so I wasn’t able to visit all there was to see before it was time to head south. Life is a compromise and even I can’t always get my way. Naps wait for no man.

I plan on going back.

To see the rest of the pictures from the museum, go HERE.