This project included the restoration of dairy and horse barns dating to the 1810-1830 period, and the relocation of a historic barrel-stave silo from a neighboring property to replace an identical one that collapsed. The barns and silo are now used as space for cultural and natural history educational programs for adults and children by the non-profit Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, which purchased this 50-acre former dairy farm in 2000. Funding from Williamstown's CPA program paid for just over three-quarters of the cost of this project.
Maintaining the outward appearance and traditional features of the buildings is part of the educational game plan for the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, says Reed-Evans, since part of what they want to teach is how small family farms have disintegrated over time. By not updating the buildings with new HVAC systems, for example, they can show how features such as the barn cupola functioned for heat escape. Similarly, the original pre-blight chestnut timbers used in the construction of the barns have an important story to tell, not only about the local flora of the time, but also about the original craftsmen's methods of construction.
The farmhouse and grounds are open year round to the public. Picnicking, hiking, and birdwatching are just a few of the activities possible at Sheep Hill. The farmhouse contains a lending library and local history and nature exhibit and classroom space as well as binoculars, field guides and other tools for loan while on the grounds. For more information, visit the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation website.