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Greenfield’s Ironton Museum closed pending Zoning Board hearing

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Dozens of antique sewing machines are a portion of a collection of sewing materials collected by Donna Smith of Greenfield over the years. Smith and her husband have opened their property to those who wish to tour their antiques since 2006, under the name Ironton Museum.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Dozens of antique sewing machines are a portion of a collection of sewing materials collected by Donna Smith of Greenfield over the years. Smith and her husband have opened their property to those who wish to tour their antiques since 2006, under the name Ironton Museum.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Donna Smith of Greenfield demonstrates a hand-pump wash tub, a piece of the collection she and her family house at their Greenfield residence. The wash tub is one of the hand-on pieces of equipment Smith and her family allow children who visit the residence on field trips to experience first-hand.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Donna Smith of Greenfield demonstrates a hand-pump wash tub, a piece of the collection she and her family house at their Greenfield residence. The wash tub is one of the hand-on pieces of equipment Smith and her family allow children who visit the residence on field trips to experience first-hand.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Bow Smith, 13, of Greenfield stands by one of the pre-World War II one-lung engines that make up his parents collection of antique household and industrial machinery, housed at their residence in Greenfield. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Bow Smith, 13, of Greenfield stands by one of the pre-World War II one-lung engines that make up his parents collection of antique household and industrial machinery, housed at their residence in Greenfield.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Dozens of antique sewing machines are a portion of a collection of sewing materials collected by Donna Smith of Greenfield over the years. Smith and her husband have opened their property to those who wish to tour their antiques since 2006, under the name Ironton Museum.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Donna Smith of Greenfield demonstrates a hand-pump wash tub, a piece of the collection she and her family house at their Greenfield residence. The wash tub is one of the hand-on pieces of equipment Smith and her family allow children who visit the residence on field trips to experience first-hand.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Bow Smith, 13, of Greenfield stands by one of the pre-World War II one-lung engines that make up his parents collection of antique household and industrial machinery, housed at their residence in Greenfield. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • One Greenfield family's collection of antiques, commonly known as the Ironton Museum, is no longer open to public tours. The Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 to decide whether the not-for-profit tours given by the collection's owners, Donna and Tod Smith, count as a business. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

GREENFIELD — A local couple has been displaying their collection of antique appliances and machines for more than six years, allowing schoolchildren and interested adults alike to browse through everything from antique sewing machines to antique cars. But the collection is housed in their home and yard, and according to the town’s code enforcement officer, that’s against the town’s building code.

Donna and Tod Smith have been collecting antiques and adding them to their extensive collection since they moved to Greenfield in 1997. And the antique tractors, compressors and steam engines on their lawn have lured in drivers from Route 31 for years with such regularity that the couple decided to start giving tours of their private collection. Though they’ve never advertised, they started to get more visitors as word of mouth spread.

“People kept driving down my driveway, and telling me, ‘You need to start a museum,’” said Donna Smith in an interview Monday. So the couple started to give tours, ranging between an hour and a half to two hours long, of their private collection to anyone interested enough to ask. They were even featured on WMUR’s Chronicle in 2010.

Visitors can take a look at the old-fashioned telephones and farm equipment or try their hand at some of the interactive displays that let them experience hand-washing laundry, sawing logs or making butter.

In 2006, they started to call their collection the Ironton Museum. But although they happily give tours and host field trips from local schools, they don’t charge admission, advertise or even have regular open hours. Both have other jobs and consider their museum merely a hobby they indulge when they have the time.

The couple doesn’t consider the Ironton Museum a business or even a formal organization, said Tod Smith in an interview Monday. But according to Code Enforcement Officer Peter Hopkins, a museum, which counts as a business, isn’t allowed to be operated out of a residence without approval from the Planning Board.

According to Section IV:b of the town’s Zoning Ordinance, home occupations are permitted in Greenfield, but first must go through a site plan review by the town’s Planning Board and receive a permit. The Ironton Museum has never undergone a site plan review, according to Planning Board Chair Bob Marshall.

There has never been a charge to view the museum’s collection, although the Smiths have traditionally accepted donations.

The town’s ordinance doesn’t address a situation where a resident runs a not-for-profit operation out of their home, according to Zoning Board Chair John Gryval. It’s one of the areas of gray that requires the Zoning Board to make a ruling, he said.

“It’ll be an interesting case,” he said in an interview Monday.

“In my view, it’s a private collection that we share with people,” Donna said. “That’s part of the joy of collecting, to be able to share it with people, especially other collectors.”

Her husband agreed. “They’re claiming it’s a business, and that’s where the problem lies. It’s just a hobby,” he said.

Since Tod and Donna received a letter concerning the violation of the Zoning Ordinance on Sept. 20, they haven’t given any tours, although there have been many calls requesting them, Tod said. The couple hopes that following the public hearing, they will once again be allowed to show off their antiques.

“I’d like to see people still come in and have people view our collection. I’d like to think we’ve touched a lot of people’s lives, especially the children,” said Donna. “We’ve had hundreds of kids through here, and not many that didn’t enjoy themselves.”

In a separate issue that will also be discussed in the upcoming public hearing, the town also informed the Smiths their building permit for a garage is now invalid, because it is considered abandoned.

According to the Smiths, the foundation for the garage has been put in and was inspected by Hopkins. They applied for the permit on July 13, 2011, and the permit is good for two years.

The Smiths have appealed the code officer’s decision on both issues and will appear before the Zoning Board on Dec. 5 at public hearing at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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