Udderly Interactive

For years, York, Pa.-based Rutter’s Farm Stores has proudly described itself as the place “Where milk comes from.”

This notion will be the central theme of a new interactive Rutter’s Dairy exhibit planned for the Agricultural and Industrial Museum in York, Pa., the company said. The exhibit will open in two phases, the first beginning in Spring.

Rutter’s has donated $55,000 to the nonprofit York County Heritage Trust, which plans to model the hands-on exhibit after the Rutter’s Discovery Center for Children that opened last year at the Historical Society Museum in York.

“We’re excited to bring a similar hands-on experience to the Rutter’s Dairy exhibit,” said Joan Mummert, president and CEO of the York County Heritage Trust. “It will bring to life an important, compelling piece of York County agricultural history.”

Rutter’s traces its roots to a nine-generation family farm that dates to 1747. Rutter’s Dairy, which began in 1921, serves customers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware. Rutter’s Farm Stores, which debuted in 1967 as an outlet for Rutter’s Dairy products, operates 54 convenience stores in central Pennsylvania.

“As a family, we take great pride in the history of the Rutter’s name, which generations have grown up with,” said Todd Rutter, president of Rutter’s Dairy. “It’s exciting for us to help make the Rutter’s exhibit a reality and to preserve York County’s farming history while promoting agriculture as an ongoing, vital part of our community.”

The Rutter’s exhibit will present the history of dairy farming in York County and the concept of where milk originates. It will be in the Agricultural and Industrial Museum’s Bradley Agricultural Gallery, next to a 1830s gristmill with an operating water wheel and rotating grindstones.

Central to the Rutter’s exhibit will be a life-sized model of a milking cow. Children will be able to practice milking, as the life-like replica will deliver fluid from its udders into an authentic stainless steel milking pail.

The second phase will introduce a children’s reading area and a bottling line. A DVD will provide highlights of dairy farming history in York County, while an interactive timeline will display dates and facts – such as 1921, when brothers George and Bud Rutter sold their first eight quarts of milk from a horse-drawn wagon. Computer games will be added, one challenging children to plan and manage a successful dairy farm and deliver milk to customers, and another one allowing children to invent an ice cream flavor.

The York County Heritage Trust (www.yorkheritage.org) is an educational institution that preserves and uses its collections, historic sites and museums to inspire people to explore the history and culture of York County.

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