Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm
This living history museum complex is anchored by the Van Hoosen Farmhouse which dates back to 1840. The museum includes a small home occupied by tenant farmers from the 1850s, an authentic one-room schoolhouse built in 1848, and a permanent exhibit that tells the history of the Rochester community through the 19th century and beyond. There is even a model train and a miniature replica of downtown Rochester within the complex's Dairy Barn, which was built in 1927. The museum also includes a small research library full of historic photographs and documents related to the history of community leaders, residents, and institutions.
Backstory and Context
The Van Hoosen farmhouse was built in 1840 to replace a log house that had been built by the Elisha Taylor family, Stoney Creek village's original settlers, in 1823. In the early 1920s, the house was moved back from the road and underwent a multi-year renovation process. The farm was the home of two of the area's most notable women citizens: Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen, a prominent physician and her niece, Dr. Sarah Van Hoosen Jones, a Master Farmer and the first U.S. woman to earn a doctorate in animal genetics.
Dr. Jones was the last of the Taylor-Van Hoosen line to own and reside on the farm. She left the historic farm to Michigan State University upon her death in 1972. MSU, in turn, donated the farm in 1979 to the Charter Township of Avon (now the City of Rochester Hills), which dedicated it as a local history museum in May 1981. The farmhouse and a number of associated farm buildings form the museum complex, and the museum is part of the Stoney Creek Village historic district that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
In addition to the complex and permanent exhibits about the history of the region, the museum offers special exhibits throughout the year. Exhibits focus on the life of prominent institutions and residents such as Bertha Van Hoosen, who established the American Medical Women’s Association in 1915.
Bertha Van Hoosen. American Medical Women's Association. Accessed May 22, 2019. https://www.amwa-doc.org/doctors/awards-for-physicians/bertha-van-hoosen/.
Museum. City of Rochester Hills website. Accessed May 22, 2019. Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm.
"MSU Awards Avon Centenary Farm," Rochester Eccentric, March 1, 1979, p.2A.
Sklar, Bob. "Avon Christens New Showcase of Days Gone By," Rochester Eccentric, May 14, 1981, p.10C.