A new exhibit is being developed for the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History that presents the history of agriculture in our nation from a business perspective. Part of the development process is a website that is collecting and archiving stories and photos about the progress of American agriculture through the years.
Curator Peter Liebhold says they created the Agriculture Innovation Heritage Archive to preserve, document and make available the story of American agriculture. “It’s a real easy-to-use site where you can browse what other people have said or you can contribute your own stories,” he said. “What we want people to do is tell us their experiences – maybe a story about walking the beans or a story about the rise of GPS – anything they think is important.” He also encourages farmers and ranchers to submit photos to accompany their stories.
One of the stories I found on the site was “Obery Farms: A family farm in Central Illinois, 1874-Present” which relates the family farm history of Paul and Catherine Obery who immigrated to the United States from France in 1874 and purchased 127 acres of land for $45 an acre. Two sixth generation Obery sons still maintain the centennial farm.
It will be interesting to see the finished physical exhibition, which is scheduled to open in 2015, but this “virtual” version is a great resource for everyone to learn about the great American Enterprise of agriculture.