Museum offers independent film in barn

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published February 16, 2016

Photo by Donna Agusti


ROCHESTER HILLS — The independent film “Barn Red,” filmed on Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula and starring Ernest Borgnine, kicks off a new Friday night series at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm.

The films and programs will be held in the museum’s newly renovated calf barn.

“We have a larger screen and projection system there,” said Museum Supervisor Pat McKay, “allowing us to do something new and unique that we’ve never been able to do before — show these independent films and bring a different audience to the museum.”

“Barn Red” is the story of a simple farmer who refuses to sell his family’s farm to a developer.

“It is a good, wholesome movie,” McKay said. “That forces some conversation, providing some information, entertainment and appreciation of our history.”

“Barn Red” will be shown at 7 p.m. March 4. Next on the roster, “The Truth About Global Warming” will present scientific facts about Earth’s changing climate. The program aims to inform with no bias or politics, and includes discussion and questions afterward.

Next, “The Polio Vaccine Story” will be presented at 7 p.m. March 18. The program focuses on the development and use of the Salk polio vaccine, with emphasis on the role played by pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis, then located in Rochester. Presenter Don Callihan retired from Parke-Davis as director of engineering.

McKay said the Parke-Davis building is still standing in Rochester, and the museum is planning an upcoming tour at a date yet to be determined.

“The program will talk about the vaccine. It saved millions of lives, and Rochester was at the center of it,” he said.

Guided tours of additional local sites of historical interest are currently in the planning stage, McKay said.

It’s “history in your backyard,” he said. Rochester College, a former country estate, may be toured, along with the Rochester waterworks building.

Rochester has two separate water systems. The eastern half of the city is served by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. A municipal well field and waterworks building serves the western half of the city. The building is located on Livernois, north of Tienken Road.

“The waterworks has been there since the 1870s and is still in operation,” McKay said. “Part of Rochester still gets water from that location, off Livernois, north of Tienken Road. The engineering is interesting, and we’ll explain where our water comes from. We have a heightened water awareness with the Flint water crisis.”

The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm is a 16-acre site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is one of the things “that make our community unique,” Mayor Bryan Barnett said.

Admission to the museum’s new Friday night series costs $5 for adults, with discounts for museum members, seniors and students. Reservations are appreciated, and refreshments will be provided. The Rochester Hills Museum is located at 1005 Van Hoosen Road, off of Tienken Road, between Rochester and Dequindre roads.

For more information or to make a reservation, call (248) 656-4663 or email A full schedule of museum events is available at