Prairie Land Heritage Museum Turns 45
A museum depicting early American agriculture turns 45 this year.
The Prairie Land Heritage Museum in Jacksonville features antique tractors, steam engines and much, much more.
"We have a couple of buildings that are full of antiques and great tourist attraction things to see," said Mike Hall, Show Chairman for the Prairie Land Heritage Museum.
It all started back in 1969 when a group of people established the museum on the Morgan County fairgrounds.
"I was at the Morgan County fair threshing that wheat on the top of that steam engine as a kid," Hall said.
Hall has been involved with the museum his entire life.
In 1975, the museum moved to South Jacksonville and continues to flourish.
"We have lots of antiques. We have antique tractors, antique machinery, plows, discs and that kind of thing. We have a big display of hand water pumps that you would pump well water with from the well. We have an electric car. We have an antique dioramas set up in the museum buildings of early farming history," Hall said.
The museum portrays what life was like in early American agriculture from what homes looked like inside to what tools and equipment farmers used.
There's thousands of pieces drawing crowds all year long.
"We have different tours that come through and that kind of thing. They generally schedule big tours through the chamber of commerce in Jacksonville so you know bus tours and that sort of thing," Hall said.
Tourists from all over the globe.
"I see a lot of people come through on the Route 66 tour. A lot of them divert to take a look at early American agriculture because they come from Norway, and Denmark and New Zealand and everywhere," Halls aid.
Every piece of equipment is in working order.
"All kinds. We have Fordsons and International and John Deere, Allis Chalmers...we have all different kinds....Montgomery Ward, Massey Harris, you name it, we've got it.'"
Dozens of volunteers work throughout the year to keep the museum. and the annual steam show running.
"We have a project list and that's maintained by the vice-president. If you want to come work on a work day, take a look at the list, it's on the meeting room table. Pick your project," Hall said.
The Prairie Land Heritage Museum is open on weekends, or by appointment.Sunday, February 16 2014, 10:27 PM CST