Agricultural Museums?


    THE Agricultural History Society (Washington, D.C.) was founded in 1919 “to stimulate interest in, to promote the study of, and to facilitate research and publication on the history of agriculture”. In Vol. 19 (July 1945) of the Society's quarterly journal Agricultural History, Herbert A. Kellar has contributed a paper on “Living Agricultural Museums”, in which he shows how much the museum may do to promote the aims of the Society. Notable progress has been made in the museum idea since 1920, particularly as regards the importance attached to accuracy, the introduction of motion into the exhibits and the recognition of the necessity for an appropriate setting for the objects. As an illustration of the latter, he describes a recreated village typical of rather more than a century ago that has been set up near Springfield, Illinois, where no modern effects are allowed to detract from the reality of the scene. His conception of a national agricultural museum is particularly ambitious, as he envisages an institution where not only the historical and social aspects of agriculture should be portrayed by means of exhibits, but which should also act as headquarters of important national farm organisations, and serve as a centre for educational activities, with special library and theatre attached. Branch museums specializing in matters of local interest, such as the Farmers Museum sponsored by the New York Historical Association at Cooperstown, are suggested as extensions of the central unit. Here exhibits of both indoor and outdoor forms of agricultural operations might well be compared with those of earlier periods, illustrating, for example, the evolution of machinery, transportation, milling, tanning or other processes.

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    Agricultural Museums?. Nature 157, 510 (1946).

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