Job Lane Farm Museum Opens for the Season on Sunday

Student docent Dhara with Dr. Roy Kring at the Job Lane House. Courtesy photo

Here’s a local idea for a Mother’s Day activity: a visit to a room where 11 children entered this world.

Dr. Roy Kring thinks that would be an appropriate destination. After all, he is the operations director of the Job Lane Farm Museum at 295 North Rd. And there’s a small space off the kitchen called the “borning room.” Kring looked around and mused, “Imagine what it must have been like to give birth in this room.” 

The oldest part of the Job Lane House was built in 1713, so 11 children over 310 years seems manageable.

Sunday – Mother’s Day – is opening day for the town-owned museum from 2 to 4 p.m., and it will continue to be open during that two-hour window on the second and fourth Sundays of each month through October. Visitors are asked to make a small donation.

“This is the town’s only functioning museum,” Kring pointed out. He called it “the pride of Bedford.” (In 1713 the property was actually in Billerica until the creation of Bedford in 1729.)

Kring, who spent part of Saturday installing new light bulbs in the historic house, actually represents the Friends of the Job Lane House, Inc. formed in 1978 to assist in the day-to-day operation of the museum. He served the past two years as president, and when he said he would decline a third term, the group changed the bylaws and he is now operations director.

Student docents Dhara and Andrew at the barn at the Job Lane House that opens for the season on Mother’s Day. Courtesy photo

The restored house is replete with reminders of the past, but beginning on Sunday, it also will be infused with the future. Three of the house tour guides are Bedford High School students who “all expressed an interest in history,” Kring said. The stipend for the docents is covered by a grant from the Bedford Cultural Council. 

Kring prepared a student docent tour manual with descriptions of the six rooms and an extensive appendix on the house’s history. The research has identified five Job Lanes; not all of them lived in the house but several shared the same time period.

Last weekend the student trio spent some time in the house learning the highlights, such as:

  • Only two families – the Lanes and the Duttons – resided in the house until it was acquired by the town in 1973. A year earlier, Town Historian Louise Brown purchased it to rescue the historic house from the real estate market.
  • In the parlor, the walls feature extensive murals by celebrated folk artist Rufus Porter.
  • There are five fireplaces. The primary one was modified in the so-called Rumford style to retain heat when the house was expanded in 1834.
  • The cradle in the east bedroom dates back to the 1600s, although it was not original inventory in the house. Two chairs and a table are believed to be original.
  • A bedframe made of rope that could be adjusted is a style that originated the expression “sleep tight.”

Kring explained that most of the household furnishings and accessories were donated by residents or loaned by the Bedford Historical Society.

The house tour is usually less than half an hour, and most visitors also check out the gardens and the adjacent colonial-style barn, erected by the Friends in 1993. There’s a gift shop in the barn, along with antique farm equipment inside and out. 

Kring said there are also plans to repeat the successful August 2002 field days at the farm.

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