- Associated Press - Monday, May 19, 2014

BLISSFIELD, Mich. (AP) - A new agricultural museum in Michigan would include a collection of 6,000 farm toys as well as displays on the history of agriculture and agriculture technology, organizers said.

Rhode Island-based architect Friedrich St. Florian, who designed the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., showed a design concept last week for the Agricultural Awareness and Preservation Museum, The Daily Telegram of Adrian reported (http://bit.ly/1hXaWoC ).

St. Florian said he was inspired by barns in the design for the 30,000-square-foot museum, which would be built in Blissfield, about 55 miles southwest of Detroit. He said the design was obvious and he wanted to use a structure that was a versatile and flexible part of the family farm.

“I wanted to start with a barn,” he said. “But you can’t just copy in architecture. With architecture, you have to be inspired.”


The museum is designed as three connected barns. The museum would have two floors with the upper mezzanine overlooking the entire main floor. The site is adjacent to farmland, which could be used as a classroom setting and a demonstration farm, St. Florian said.

But the heart of the museum will be the farm toys, said Melissa Growden, marketing coordinator and secretary of the museum’s board. The museum board looked at several different possible sites, but decided on Blissfield because of its rich agricultural heritage.

Fundraising is taking place for the project.

Plans call for the museum to be built at the site of the former Blissfield Canning Co. The village bought the 35-acre property about four years ago, and village President Mike Gunter said the village council supports the idea for a museum at the site.

“We see a lot of potential for what this can do for the village and for Lenawee County,” Gunter said. “This embraces Blissfield, it embraces our history, our heritage. To have something along these lines come into the village, it fits, it just makes sense.”

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Information from: The Daily Telegram, http://www.lenconnect.com