Keeping Dairy Farm Heritage Alive

Collector shares her dairy farm heritage with a new generation

| August 1999

Kitty Gialanella is so proud of her farming heritage that she has come up with some interesting ways to hang on to it. 

She grew up on dairy farms in Frederick County, Md., as did her parents and grandparents. She wants to preserve her memories of those days, but her modest suburban home doesn't have room for collections of large equipment. So, she goes for the small stuff.

"I have over 400 milk bottles," she says. "It's probably been 40 years since they used milk bottles in this area. Someone told me there have been 721 dairies in Maryland, so I just collect Maryland bottles."

Along with the bottles and an array of bottle tops, there are buckets, a milking stool, hand-cranked butter churn, and early, hand-crank ice cream freezers.

Two cream separators – one a hand-cranked from the 1920s, and the other a 1940s electric model – round out her collection.

Kitty uses these items to share her heritage with younger generations. A retired school bus driver, she has had plenty of contact with children, and feels strongly that they should know of how things were in times gone by. A five-year member of the board of directors of the Frederick County Farm Museum, she helps set up shows and demonstrations at the museum to give the public an opportunity to learn about Maryland's farming heritage. She's also involved with the acquisition of farm items for display in the museum.