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Raise the Barn: Rebuild the Magic


Saturday, December 12, 2015 | 11am-4pm

Admission: $10 adult, $6 age 12 and under, $25 family (2 adults with 2-3 children)

Experience Christmas in the 19th century and participate in living history activities around this beautiful and tranquil estate. Enjoy wagon rides, caroling, period crafts, storytelling, parlor games, cooking in the farmer’s cottage, the one-room schoolhouse and tours of the 1867 Washburn family Italianate mansion.  Soup, cookies, and mulled cider made fresh on the woodstove will be available for a donation, while supplies last.

The gift shop will be open and filled with unique treasures to meet your holiday shopping needs.

A Cookie Walk fundraiser benefits the new barn fund.  For only $5, fill a bag with delicious homemade cookies to take home. 

Click here for all of the details about this event.

If the weather is questionable, please check for an event cancellation ​notice on Norlands’ Facebook page or outgoing

​telephone ​message by calling 207-897-4366 by 9am on the morning of the event.


The Barn Raising Kickoff happened Saturday, May 30th. Below are photos of the celebration and a multi-day time lapse of the progress to completion of our barn.

  Photos of the Kickoff Ceremony   Time lapse of work done to date on the barn (Last update 7/10/15)
For 40 years, the Norlands has continued a multi-generational legacy of unique, interactive living history education in Livermore, Maine for thousands of school children and adults – ever since Washburn family heirs signed over their shares of the property to the Washburn-Norlands Foundation to become a non-profit living history center and museum with a working farm.  

In 2008 a disastrous fire took our barn.  We lost more than just a building.  We lost the heart of our working farm - our primary classroom for school children and adult visitors alike.  The barn was the center for school programs and guest tours.  It was the home to various farm animals and livestock, storage for farm supplies, equipment, livestock feed and hay, and included an active and popular ice house.

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Watch the "Raise the Barn, Rebuild the Magic" video   Hear about fire night from volunteers

YOU can help us get our farm program back at Norlands. 

At Norlands, kids get to fetch water from the well, weed gardens, cut firewood, bake in a wood-fired cookstove, gather eggs from the chickens, carry feed to the horses, pigs and cattle, along with a host of other farm chores.  In the process, they learn a bit about such old-fashioned ideas as responsibility, self-sufficiency, and sustainability. They also learn the inspiring story of seven remarkable brothers from a Maine family, the Washburns, who were born and raised on this farm and who went on to become prominent in political, diplomatic, military and business affairs of their time.

Without a barn, there is no place to clean and muck stalls, grind corn, press apples, store ice, store hay, learn about proper animal care and use agricultural implements in an authentic setting.   The virtues and rewards of honest work; the connections between farm fields, crops, livestock, and the family dinner table; the independence and inter-dependence of family members and of neighbors in a crossroads community; the concepts of frugality, recycling, environmental stewardship and sustainability – all of these were formative elements in shaping the lives and character of the Washburns, and all are key elements of educational programs at Norlands.

Amount left to our goal
  Without the barn, our programs now seriously lack the true renowned hands-on approach made popular at Norlands since 1973.


We need to raise $200,000 to complete the barn.  Our goal is to have a complete, working barn in 2015.  The entire cost of the project is $500,000. 

Norlands has contracted with Maine Mountain Timber Frames of Strong, who will raise the frame by early 2015 and enclose it, creating a weather tight shell.  The remainder of the project will be conducted in phases, as funds are raised. 

To have a working barn, we need to finish the roof, add windows and doors, complete the interior with flooring, stalls, and a hay mow, and complete the exterior with clapboards and painting.  The crowning moment will be when raise the cupolas.  

With your help, we will reach the finish line!!


 “Not believing in looking back on what cannot be helped, we pressed on to see what might be done going forward." (Algernon Sidney Washburn, 1867)

Your gift will help us rebuild a more historically accurate barn, representing the 1870s era we bring to life.  The new barn will match the look and footprint of the original 1867 barn constructed when the present Washburn mansion was built. 

More importantly, your gift helps us rebuild an educational classroom and a home for our farm animals and a place for lively barn dances and seasonal harvest activities.  It will once again be a place where school children and families can learn about farm life in the 19th century by living IN history, as they work and play and learn at the Norlands.

Sponsor a Peg and Help Raise the Barn!  Limited Time Offer!

For $25, you can sponsor a handmade peg that will be used in the new timber frame!  Write your name or a special message on the peg, such as your name, a quote or a message to honor a loved one or friend.  The message will then live forever in the new barn.

Interested in sponsoring?  Call the Norlands at 207-897-4366, email norlands@norlands.org, or visit the gift shop.  Pegs may be purchased over the phone or securely online through Network for Good.  Be sure to note that it is for a peg sponsorship and what you'd like to say. You may also mail a check to Washburn-Norlands, 290 Norlands Road, Livermore, Maine 04253.

If you're unable to visit in person, we're happy to write your special message on the peg, take a digital photo, and then email you a picture of the peg.  Thank you for helping to Raise the Barn and Rebuild the Magic! 


  • Watch our "Raise the Barn Video"
  • Make a Financial Donation now securely online via credit card or mail a check a check to: Washburn-Norlands, 290 Norlands Road, Livermore, ME 04253. Please make a note that it is for the barn campaign.
  • Consider Making a Pledge to make more of an impact.  Extend payments over one year.  Contact us for details or complete and mail the Giving Card or set up automatic payments via Network for Good .
  • Share the news of this important campaign with your friends, family, neighbors, business associates and other groups you are involved with.
  • Join our campaign team.  Be a motivator by promoting our online campaign on your facebook page and email lists.  Help raise funds within your own circles of influence.  Contact us for brochures and giving cards.


©Washburn Norlands Living History Center
Washburn-Norlands Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization
290 Norlands Road
Livermore, Maine 04253

Phone: 207-897-4366
Fax: 207-897-4963
Email: Norlands@norlands.org

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