Barclay Farmstead Museum

The Barclay Farmstead Museum, located in Voorhees Township, New Jersey, is a working example of the area’s long agricultural history. Visitors have a rare opportunity to travel back in time and discover the earliest days of Voorhees Township thanks to the meticulous preservation of this 19th-century farmhouse and its expansive gardens. We shall explore the fascinating background and significance of the Barclay Farmstead Museum in this essay, shining light on the significance of conserving our agricultural heritage.

A Look Back in Time

The Barclay Farmstead’s history began at the beginning of the 19th century when Joseph Thorn bought the property in 1816. The area was used as a working farm by Thorn, a Quaker. The property changed hands multiple times throughout the years until ending up in the possession of Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh, whose family was crucial in the founding of West Jersey.

Joseph and Louisa Barclay bought the farmland in 1881, and the Barclay family owned it for nearly a century. The landmark farmhouse was built and modernized on the site when they were proprietors, and it is still standing today. With a concentration on dairy farming, horticulture, and poultry farming, the Barclays converted the farm into a profitable agricultural business.

Making the Switch to a Museum

Voorhees Township started the process of obtaining the Barclay Farmstead in the early 1990s after realizing its historical and cultural significance. The Barclay Farmstead Museum was established thanks to the tireless work of regional historians, preservationists, and the township administration.

The farmhouse, a carriage house, and the surrounding gardens and grounds make up the museum today. It serves as a destination for learning and pleasure, providing a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages.

Keeping Agri-Historic Culture Alive

The Barclay Farmstead Museum is a living museum that showcases the agricultural past of Voorhees Township and the larger South Jersey area. It is more than just a collection of historic houses. The farmstead’s gardens display a range of historically correct crops and flora, giving visitors a practical understanding of farming methods used in the 19th century.

The heirloom garden, which includes a collection of plants and vegetables that would have been cultivated during the Barclay family’s period, is one of the museum’s most notable features. Visitors can stroll through the garden and learn more about the vegetables that provided for the farm and the neighborhood back then.

Educational Initiatives

The goal of the Barclay Farmstead Museum is based on education. The museum provides a wide range of educational activities and events aimed at capturing the interest of visitors of all ages. There is always something fresh to learn at the museum, from school field excursions to workshops on historical farming methods.

The museum gives school groups guided tours that give an intriguing look at the struggles and successes of 19th-century farming as well as a day in the life of the Barclay family. These tours give kids the opportunity to see, touch, and actually experience history while also being educational and participatory.

Community Participation

The Barclay Farmstead Museum serves as a focal point for community involvement in addition to being a destination for history buffs. The museum organizes a number of community-building events throughout the year. There are usually events happening at the farmstead, from farmers’ markets and concerts to holiday celebrations and cultural festivals.

The yearly Fall Festival, when families may enjoy hayrides, pumpkin picking, and other customary autumnal activities, is one of the most cherished occasions. The farmstead comes to life during this season, and the pleasures of the present combine with those of the past.

Keeping the Future Safe

It takes a lot of effort to maintain the Barclay Farmstead Museum and its agricultural traditions. It demands the commitment of the staff, volunteers, and the backing of the neighborhood. For the preservation of the historic buildings, gardens, and educational programs, the museum depends on fundraising activities, grants, and donations.

Visitors are invited to join the Friends of Barclay, a group of committed people who support the continuing development and maintenance of the museum. You may actively contribute to preserving Voorhees Township’s agricultural heritage for future generations by joining.


In Voorhees Township, New Jersey, the Barclay Farmstead Museum serves as a tangible reminder of the region’s long agricultural history. The museum makes sure that the Barclay family legacy and 19th-century farming traditions remain alive and available to everyone via careful preservation, educational activities, and community engagement. You’ll be transported back in time as you tour the farmstead’s historic home, gardens, and grounds, and you’ll acquire a deeper understanding of how agriculture impacted Voorhees Township and the South Jersey region.

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