A variety of educational and informative exhibits are part of the Visitor Center complex. The center is a great place to start your journey to explore the farm and learn about the Life and Legacy of Author and conservationist Louis Bromfield and Malabar Farm.
The exhibits were made possible through grants and funding from the Malabar Farm Foundation.
Lay of the Land
Malabar Farm’s 900 acres is depicted in a scale 1:1000 model relief showing the diverse lay of the land. Woodlots, streams, ponds, cropland and pastures show how Bromfield’s plan set in motion the soil and water conservation practices that made Malabar Farm the most famous farm in America in the 1940’s. Today, these practices are the foundation of sustainable agriculture, soil and water conservation.
Just an Old Barn?
This scale model of an old German bank barn that was standing at Malabar Farm gives visitors a chance to look for animals that call a barn home. Details show timber framing techniques that stood the test of time and farming history. Timber framed barns are a vanishing rural icon that Malabar Farm takes pride in preserving with our restoration of three original barns that still stand today and into the future. Explore these wooden giants and see craftsmanship and materials that graced the remaining rural countryside.
Bromfield’s Willy’s Jeep
The Willys-Overland Jeep Company of Toledo, Ohio developed a universal Jeep for farm use after the war in 1945. This was an innovative substitute for the tractor. The company saw the Jeep as being an all purpose farm vehicle rather than the sports utility vehicle it is today. Not only could this vehicle take a farmer to town, but it could drill wells, cut hay, saw wood and even dig a hole for fence posts. This original 1945 Jeep was restored by volunteers and gives visitors a chance to see a part of Ohio history.
Bromfield’s office setting is recreated as part of this exhibit to experience the sights and sounds here at Malabar Farm. Bromfield gained success in two careers: One as a Pulitzer Prize winning author with over 30 books to his career. Second as a world famous Farmer and conservationist whose ideas spurred the New Agriculture movement that persist even today. This exhibit gives visitors a glimpse into the 1940’s and 1950’s and the visitor can listen to radio broadcasts from the era.
Breeding is ‘FUN’damental
This exhibit highlights the five major beef and dairy breeds with photos which visitors try to match the correct name to each breed. Dairy cattle are selectively bred to increase milk production and increase butterfat content of milk.
The AMAZING Milk Producer
Cows are incredible milk producers. A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime. A cows udder can hold 25-30 pounds of milk. This fun hands on exhibit lets visitors take five magnetic cow parts and assemble them to show how grass is converted into milk as it passes through the cow’s body.
My Daily Diary
Why is milk so good for you? Milk and dairy products play an important role in developing strong and healthy bodies. This interactive push button display lets students explore what you need to get the recommended daily allowances using common dairy products like cheese, ice cream, milk, and yogurt.
More than Meat
Is there a cow in your life? Cows provide a lot more than just meat on the table. Many of our everyday products and medicines come from cows. This graphic exhibit shows some of the many products we use everyday that come from cows. The Wilson Sporting Goods Company from Ada, Ohio uses the hides from 3,000 cows to produce the 22,000 footballs used by the National Football League each year. They produce the official Super Bowl footballs.
During World War II, Victory Gardens sprung up throughout the country in support of the war efforts. Small gardens help supply families with food that was often in short supply to feeding the troops. Our Victory Garden maintained by volunteers and staff is a sample of what could be grown in a small plot of ground. Our Spinning & Weaving Guild grows many herbs and plants that are used for natural dyes for wool as part of this garden. Visitors get a first hand look, feel and taste of many common produce, herbs and flowers common to the 1940’s gardens.
Windmills were used on early farms to pump water for livestock and homes. Today, high tech wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity able to run a large number of appliances and machines. This exhibit explains how alternative wind/solar energy is converted and used to operate parts of the visitor education center. Hands-on experiments and scale models help demonstrate wind/solar energy. Visitors can interact with a touch screen kiosk to monitor solar, wind and building electrical data and daily and monthly totals.
The visitor education center uses Water Furnace geothermal energy system to heat water, cool and heat the building. This geothermal system uses the earth to provide energy efficient heating and cooling for your comfort. This exhibit explains how the system works through diagrams and hands-on experiments.
Whether its’ on the farm or in the wild animals are all around us and part of our neighborhood. Using an interactive exhibit, students will learn to identify common farm animals and wild animals using photos and sounds. Animal’s tracks and fun facts let students see, feel and learn about some of Ohio’s unique animals.
This observation window provides visitors with a close look at the many birds that live in our own backyards. Simple plantings and feeders can create a simple habitat to attract all types of birds. Fun bird facts, identification tips and locations are available to help explore the outdoors for birds.
Winning with Resources
We all win by recycling our natural resources. Recycling helps reduce waste and reuse many useful products. This exhibit explores the many ways recycled materials can be made into everyday useful items. Many of the materials in the visitor center were made from recycled materials. Learn what you can do and see what we have done with recycled materials. Don’t forget to recycle your items during your visit. Recycle Ohio !
Can you spot the difference? Color marking or spots on cows are as unique as our own fingerprints. Students using their own hands can create their own spots on our cow for a unique breed of their own.
Ohio’s Wonderful Wetlands
Our wetland observation area allows visitors to explore the importance of wetlands in cleaning water and providing valuable habitat..
In cooperation with the Richland County Beekeepers, this clear observation hive with live bees gives visitors an up close look at a working bee hive. Text and photos explain how a bee colony works and the roles of the Queen, workers and drone bees keeping the hive productive producing honey and young. The important uses of bee’s wax, honey and their value in pollination in agriculture are discussed.
Listen For Your Dinner
Echo what? The questions of echolocation are answered at the Batty Bats exhibit located at the Louis Bromfield Education Center. Discover the beautiful brown bat up close, learn how a bat senses where to go and where not to go, explore the bats inner sanctum (bat house) and more at this fully automated and hands on bat exhibit.