History comes to life during Real Night at the Museum this weekend

Director Bart Wilsey says event focuses on Farmington Museum's core mission

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
The Real Night at the Museum event planned for Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park features a variety of historic activities, including apple pressing.

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Museum at Gateway Park typically presents dozens of events every year ranging from concerts and opening receptions for art exhibitions to lectures and fundraisers.

But Museum Director Bart Wilsey says few of those events can match this weekend's Real Night at the Museum in terms of focusing on the museum's core mission.

"We call it one of our signature events because it really is what the museum is all about," Wilsey said of the event that will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 at the museum, 3041 E. Main St. in Farmington. "It brings together history and education, and it's a great event for families with kids because there are all kinds of things for them to do."

More: Calendar of events

Wilsey said the idea for the event was derived from the 2006 Ben Stiller comedy film "Night at the Museum" in which the newly hired night watchman at a New York museum discovers that the exhibits come to life at night while the facility is closed. The Real Night at the Museum adapts that idea by featuring demonstrations of everyday activities from Farmington's past, including apple pressing, butter making, tin pressing, Dutch oven baking, candle making, tractor rides and more.

The event has attracted crowds of up to 200 people in the past, and Wilsey is expecting it to be well attended again this year. The activity stations at the event are operated by a mix of museum staffers and volunteers.

"We've done this so many times, we're old hands at it," Wilsey said.

Most of the activities will take place outside, so Wilsey said aside from social distancing requirements, the museum staff didn't have to alter the event much to account for COVID-19 pandemic safety issues. Anyone who has not been vaccinated is asked to wear a mask, he said.

Live music for the event will be provided by the band Willow Blue.

Tractor rides will be just one of the attractions featured at the annual Real Night at the Museum this weekend at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park.

Wilsey encouraged anyone who has never attended the Real Night at the Museum to give it a chance.

"If they want to get an introduction to the museum, this is the best event to come to," he said.

Admission is free. Call 505-599-1174 for more information.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.