You can step back into the 19th century at Auburn’s Mary Olson Farm, but you’ll still have 21st-century technology. The historic farm, managed by the White River Valley Museum, has just connected to the STQRY mobile phone app, which allows smartphone users to check out a wealth of behind-the-scenes stories by scanning QR codes at locations around the farm. This summer also brings an outdoor concert series, tea parties, vegetable car races and more to the restored family pioneer farm from the 1880s.
Started by a Seattleite, the STQRY app (pronounced ‘story’) is only two years old but has already been adopted by many arts and culture organizations in the Northwest, including public art programs and, most recently, Northwest Museum Week. The free app, which runs on Android, iOS and Windows, allows users to explore local attractions and dive into their uploaded stories: videos, photo or text.
"The benefit of STQRY is that you can share behind-the-scenes moments of things that aren’t visible when you walk in," said Alex Carr, digital media coordinator at the Museum of Glass, which recently adopted the app.
At the Olson farm – a 67-acre family subsistence farm on Auburn’s Green River built in 1887 by the Olson family – the app will offer stories about the farm’s restoration, with videos of each building’s use: smoking salmon in the 1910 smoke house, weaving rag rugs in the weaving house and more.
Visitors can also wander among 100-year-old fruit trees, meet the hens and goats, picnic and explore farm and stream ecology.
You can also kick back and listen to sunset chamber concerts by the Auburn Symphony: "Fun Brass" on July 10, the Pacific Rim Percussion Quartet on July 24 and "String Serenades’ on Aug. 7. All concerts begin at 7 p.m., costing $17 adults/$10 students. Tickets at 253-887-7777, htauburnsymphony.org
Other farm events include a Veggie Car Race from 1-3 p.m. July 12 (free), a Mad Hatter’s Sweet Tea at 1 p.m. July 26 ($12 adult/$8 child/free for 2 and under) and a Living History camp for ages 7-12 from 9 a.m.-noon Aug. 11-15.
The Mary Olson Farm is open for visitors noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday through Aug. 24. Entry is free. 28728 Green River Road, Auburn. 253-288-7433, wrvmuseum.org