Located south of Chillicothe along Route 29, Three Sisters Park is currently hosting a traveling exhibit titled Farm Life: A Century of Change for Farm Families and Their Neighbors. Doors opened for public viewing on July 5th, and they will close on August 19th. The exhibit presents the stories of farm families and rural communities facing change. Rather than focusing on the technology of farm life, it features the social and cultural context of farming, examining what it means for a family to live and work on the land. Visitors to the exhibit’s farmhouse, fields, barn and local gathering spots are exploring how political, economic and cultural roots influence families today, both on and off the farm.
Farm Life is divided into four sections: “Managing Farm and Family”, “Working the Land”, “Gathering Together” and “Milking Night and Morning.” In each section, photographs, objects and labels tell the story of life on the farm. Though the starting place is a Chippewa Valley, Wisconsin farmstead circa 1950, universal themes of family and community are addressed, touching on issues that resonate with farming and non-farming viewers alike.
Many more activities are featured around the exhibit as well. The Putnam County Historical Society has a display featuring items that would have been found in a general store in a rural town from the turn of the century to the 1960s. The Peoria Historical Society and Museum has on display quilts dating from 1820 to 1900. The Marshall County Historical Society has set up a display that features antique milking equipment. They also demonstrated milking and butter making on July 21. There are many other artifacts on display that have been donated over the years, including hand tools, plows and John Deere implements.
In addition, a speaker series has been taking place, primarily on Wednesday evenings. Presentations have already been given on “Oh Say Can You See…Flags of Our Country,” “John Deere: His Life and Times,” “Yes Virginia, Sears Did Build Barns” and “The Good Old Days.” On August 8th at 7 p.m., Kevin Daugherty of the Illinois Farm Bureau will present “Illinois Agriculture…Innovation and Invention.” On August 15th, Frank Hubbell of Mapleton is scheduled to present “Rural Vanishing Architecture,” and on August 18th, Pat McCallister of Eastern Illinois University will present “The Influence of the Sears Catalogue on the Rural Household.”
On Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m., the Chillicothe Library is hosting movie nights with agriculture-related showings. Featured movies in July were A Thousand Acres, The River and Charlotte’s Web. Movie nights in August include Chicken Run on the 2nd, The Grapes of Wrath on the 9th and Signs, scheduled for the 16th.
Other activities in August include a 4-H and Extension reunion and antique show on the 4th and ice cream socials on the Sundays of August 5th and 12th. On August 18th and 19th, the annual Farm Heritage Days will take place on the Threes Sisters Park property. Activities will include antique tractor pulls, a national plowing contest, saw mill demonstrations, threshing and baling, tractor games and children’s events. IBI