Since 2012, the Bayer Museum of Agriculture, formerly known as the American Museum of Agriculture, has educated and advocated on behalf of the agricultural industry. From collecting machinery in 1969, to now, having an entire museum filled with exhibits that explain all aspects of agriculture, the museum has come a long way, and it continues to evolve.
The museum has become a gathering place for civic groups, conventions, weddings and school tours. It continues to serve as a reminder of what it was like to farmers and ranchers back in the good old days, and what it is like now. According to the museum, Lubbock is the hub of agriculture and the residents of the South Plains owe it huge thanks.
New things are happening
Children are the future, and the Bayer Museum of Agriculture believes that to be true. Although the museum caters to many different age groups but feels like they are missing the younger generation. They developed a brand new children’s wing, called Ag Works, specifically geared towards fourth-grade children and younger. Children fourth grade age and younger, is the age that children start to question where their food and clothes come from and how their questions are answered can be the deciding factor if they support agriculture or not. They want to educate agriculture in a way that the younger generation will be able to understand where their food and fiber comes from.
“This is something we talked about for many years, and now we have started taking it a little more seriously and developed a plan about three years ago,” said Lacee Hoelting, Bayer Museum of Agriculture executive director.
The one-of-a-kind children’s wing, Ag Works, where the young and the young-at-heart will learn the true story of agriculture. The museum has teamed up with Redbox Workshop, a company that specializes in building interactive and experiential exhibits, to create the 4,500 square foot wing.
The new wing will include many hands-on activities to show museum go-ers what a day in the life of a farmer and rancher is really like. From the Crop Cycle to the Farm Veterinarian Office, visitors will be able to learn how crops and animals are cared for. Other parts of the exhibit are the Market, Farm House & Garden, Pedal Tractor Park, Agricultural Occupations, Farm Tech; How Big is an Acre, Story Barn, Animal Barn, and the Silo Slider/ Observational Bridge. No matter what part of the exhibit museum go-ers visit, they will be able to experience what its like to be a farmer and a rancher for a day.
“I can’t wait to see the new exhibit and bring the kids back,” said Emily Murphree, mom of two.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be $3.5 million including $2.3 million for the building construction and $1.2 million is for the exhibit design, fabrication, and installation. Hoelting and board members are working to raise funds to make the new wing a reality.
Hoelting said if they could get the right set of exhibits that encourages schools, children, and their parents to come with them, it will increase agriculture awareness, help the agricultural industry, and hopefully educate the youngest visitors on the important roles that farmers and ranchers play in our everyday lives.
“Without agriculture, we wouldn’t have food or clothes, and I want my children to know where those things come from.”
Hoelting said children today are two to three generations removed from their family farm, and it is vital the agricultural industry lives on. Although the new exhibit is generated toward fourth grade and younger, all visitors can engage in the hands-on experience the new wing will offer.
The more our children can learn and understand their surroundings the more educated citizens they will be when they are adults in the same community.
The future of agriculture
The Bayer Museum of Agriculture board members and staff cannot wait until the new wing is up and running, and the museum is making that connection between farmers and ranchers and children that will help influence the future of agriculture. The museum wants to make sure they can inform children at a young age in hopes that they will support the industry and hopefully one day become part of it.
“From planting a seed in the ground, to purchasing a product at the store, making that connection between the farmer and rancher, and the food and clothes that you wear,” said Hoelting.