Our Story

Originally built as a structure to house a 1931 Ford Model A Roadster and a 1915 Model T Runabout, the first building in Our Backyard Museum Complex measured 24x40 feet. During its initial year, the fledgling collection housed several cylinder phonographs and automobilia including early gas pumps, lubsters and porcelain signs. By the end of its first year in 1992, the collection had far outgrown its original ANNEX building, and over the next  six years, several additions were constructed. This started with an open platform to display early wagons which was eventually enclosed  to house OLD TOWN. 1995 saw the creation of the SALOON, followed by the front room in which  the SODA FOUNTAIN and GAME ROOM are now housed. 

In 1999, with the acquisition of  the western acreage , the opportunity to erect the main Barn building  occurred.
A Log Cabin was added in the original Annex building as were the rear outdoor displays. With construction of the Barn building, a departure from the floor plan in the Annex took place. Instead of creating whole structures for guests to walk through, a wide museum corridor down the center of the Barn allowed guests to visit several venues whose displays were enhanced by full  scale facades. Included in these displays are a  SERVICE STATION  and a  BICYCLE  display, both of which were relocated  from the Annex to the Barn.

In 2000, new additions to the Barn building included the FIRE STATION, CINEMA, STREET SCENE, FARM DISPLAY, and the most daunting in its positioning, the STEAM ENGINE. 2001 marked the creation of the MUSIC ROOM. Initially only housing two Brass Era Automobiles, phonographs, and the first automatic musical instruments, this room has only recently become the highlight of the museum complex. The addition of the Traction Engine Tent came in 2003. Following this addition, the farm display was relocated from inside the Barn to the tent, and in 2004, the Dance organ  replaced  the original farm display.

Originally constructed to house a sawmill in 2002, the PAVILION was built in the same year as  was the clock tower in the BARN. Subsequently, the Pavilion was converted to a gristmill with the addition of the waterwheel in 2006. This was followed by the CAR CORRAL and the relocation of the Brass era cars and automobilia in 2007. The end of 2008 brought about the acquisition of the long sought after street clock. 2009 saw the construction of the FORT which remains a work-in-progress.

The museum complex focuses primarily on a period of time of great innovations in America from the post civil war era to the time of the Great War (WWI). The majority of displays are Americana in kind. Our never-ending search for artifacts and our curiosity to learn about the America of old, keeps OUR BACKYARD MUSEUM alive and evolving.

Inspiration for the Museum

Having spent our early childhood watching movies from the 1950’s and being fascinated with the Old West and early inventors such as Edison and Ford, we were lead to purchase our first artifact, an Edison Home phonograph in 1991. Additionally, our good friend John who passed away in 1998, introduced us to our first antique automobile. He was a great influence on our understanding of the mechanical era and his inspiration has left an indelible mark on the collection. The necessity of cataloging OUR BACKYARD MUSUEM was the idea of Uncle Bill and led to the creation of the OUR BACKYARD MUSEUM website. Although these men are no longer with us, their genius and inspiration lives on in our collection.