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2018 Events

Officers and speakers at the annual dinner meeting of the Midwest Agricultural Museum are shown here. From left: Larry Meaker, MAM Treasurer; Doug Dillow, Executive Director Wildlife Prairie Park, Martha Reismeyer, MAM Secretary; Paul McKim, MAM President; Colleen Callahan, Agricultural Consultant, and Shelly Cowser-Hollenback, MAM Director.


October 26, 2018 Meeting at Wildlife Prairie Park

The Midwest Agricultural Museum is developing a partnership with Wildlife Prairie Park at Edwards, west of Peoria, according to museum president Paul McKim.

The museum has collected over 155 items thus far, including a 1940 Allis-Chalmers combine, an Amish carriage, sleighs, wagons, antique tractors, check-row corn planters, and stoves, sewing machines and much more that would have been part of a farmstead of the past.

Several pieces owned by the museum are already in use and on display at Wildlife Prairie Park, said McKim, though most items are at present in storage in a shed near the park.

Doug Dillow, Executive Director of Wildlife Prairie Park, spoke to the ag museum gathering. Dillow said that the challenge for the non-profit park, is sustainability.

“The tourism industry is great but challenging,” said Dillow. The captivating draw of wildlife native to Illinois in natural settings needs to be complemented by lodging and food service that will generate revenue to sustain the park.

“We hope to learn from the successful model of Starved Rock State Park,” he said.

Dillow noted that construction has started on seven cabins as part of a first-phase implementation of plans to develop sustainability.

Progress has been made in drawing people to spend money at the scenic park, Dillow noted. “A few years ago, just a few weddings were held at the park each year. In 2018, we are hosting 80 weddings.”

Former farm broadcaster and USDA official Colleen Callahan also spoke at the museum dinner.

“We need to preserve the past and build upon it,” said Callahan. She encouraged the ag museum folks to expand their vision beyond physical items, critical as they are to understanding our history.

She said the collection of oral histories of people who grew up on farms half a century and more in the past can also help people of all ages appreciate the struggles, rewards and joys of life in an era that lacked all the conveniences and technology we have today.