Travel back in time to the 19th century when you visit Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms. This living history museum is located in North Austin, and offers seven themed historic areas with educational experiences for any age. Explore Texas history in real time as you venture across their site of over 90 beautiful, wooded acres. Visit areas like the Scarborough Barn where you can get up close and personal with live farm animals, or work alongside a master craftsman and acquire a unique skill of your own. The property is volunteer-fun by members of the Heritage Society of Austin, one of the oldest Texas organizations dedicated to historic preservation.
Pioneer farms was first claimed in 1844 by Texas Ranger Lt. James O. Rice, an original settler of Austin. The land was once occupied by the Tokawa Native People, who built their campsites along the creek. In 1956, the land was donated to the Heritage Society of Austin in 1956, then later in 1974, the Austin Natural Science Association and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department worked together to build the 19th-century farm and museum. Today, the museum preserves and depicts the lifestyles of Central Texans during the 19th century, while also showcasing the natural landscapes and agrarian lifestyles of the Blackland Prairie.
Pioneer farms is comprised of seven themed historic areas, complete with volunteer interpreters in historic dress. Immerse yourself in each of the areas, which include an 1844 Tonkawa Encampment, a native stretch of the Walnut Creek Greenbelt as is was in 1853, an 1868 Kruger Farm, an 1873 Jourdan Farm, an 1886 Bell Farm and an 1899 Sprinkle Corner rural village. Plus, visit the 1850 Scarborough Barn (one of the oldest still in use in Central Texas) to meet the farm animals.
The museum's Freedman's Farm recognizes the height of the Freedmen's movement in the early 1890s. The farmhouse was once home to Jack Dodson, a freedman farmer in Travis County. He lived for many years in the house that was relocated to Pioneer Farms and was generously donated to preserve its history. The site will feature a functioning farmstead where visitors can see and learn about the Texans who gained their freedom from slavery after Emancipation. This site is currently undergoing restoration and is not open for tours. Please check their website for updates and grand re-opening details.
Enjoy weekly features of historic demonstrations and workshops on topics ranging from archery and blacksmithing to backyard farming and crafting with nature. Plus, visit the General Store on select dates to get a variety of fresh veggies from the farm stand.
Check the schedule for guided walking tours of the property, which feature a costumed guide who will take you through Texas history from 1841-1899.
Or, visit the museum after dark for a spooky Ghost Tour! This nighttime walking tour takes visitors through the farm's most haunted spots, and is rich with stories about spirits, unexplained sightings and things that go bump in the night.
Workshops & Classes
Pioneer Farms extends an array of workshops and classes that will excite and interest any member of the family. From square-dancing, yoga and banjo lessons to archery, birding and weaving, Pioneer Farms is a one stop adventure sure to please any crowd and budget. Discover all of the workshops and classes that are available here.
Hours, Admission & Accessibility
Pioneer Farms is open Thursday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekly. Visitors can enjoy self-guided, small-group walking tours of the historic sites and extensive trails.
Admission is $8 for Adults (18-64), $6 for Youth (3-17), $6 for seniors (65+) and children 2 and under are free. Admission for special-event and nighttime shows, such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter shows and private programs, may be higher.
Pioneer Farms welcomes everyone and strives to make their property accessible to all. Most of the historic buildings are accessible by wheelchair. Buildings and walkways are authentic to the 19th Century, which may impose some restrictions. Gravel paths in the historic areas may be difficult in some areas for wheelchair travel. Handicap parking is available close to the Front Gate at Sprinkle Corner. Pets are not permitted, but service dogs are allowed.
Learn more at www.pioneerfarms.org and plan your visit today!