Originally published in West Virginia Focus magazine

In a conversation with publisher Nikki Bowman a few days before he died, businessman and philanthropist Mike Perry said he co-founded Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington to help instill visitors with pride for Appalachian history.

Nikki Bowman and Mike Perry looking at a historic kitchen setting

West Virginia Focus publisher Nikki Bowman with Heritage Farm co-founder Mike Perry

Now they have something else to be proud of. Heritage Farm announced Wednesday it will become West Virginia’s first Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.

Yes, that Smithsonian.

The partnership will give Heritage Farm access to Smithsonian collections, allowing the museum to borrow artifacts and access educational webcasts. The museum also will be able to get help from Smithsonian experts on conservation, collections care, and exhibition development.

“Heritage Farm is honored by the partnership with the Smithsonian because it not only recognizes Heritage Farm as a world-class presentation of Appalachian history, but also allows the Farm to further its mission by availing itself of the expertise and prestige of the Smithsonian,” says Audy Perry, executive director of the Heritage Farm Foundation, in a press release.

The farm’s collection already includes more than 25,000 square feet of artifacts in seven award-winning museums, plus 30 log structures and other refurbished buildings, artisans, and re-enactors.