WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Documenting & Celebrating Family Farms

Feb 6, 2020

The Western Illinois Museum is starting a project called "Home Grown: Celebrating the Family Farm." The museum's goal is to create in-depth family profiles of family farmers. 

“We want to celebrate them and understand their long and important history in our region,” said Museum Director Sue Scott. “As a museum our role is to collect these stories.”

She said the museum wants to record oral histories with local farmers. She is also looking for photographs, documents, and even recipes from family farms. The museum will digitize those documents so the originals can stay with families.

Scott said the family farm project will be aided by a $5,000 grant from Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America. 

“The grant will allow us to buy a large bed scanner so we can make nice quality digital scans of all kinds of documents and photographs that families can bring in. And we would share those digital copies with the family and we would also keep a copy in our collection,” she said.

Scott said the celebration of family farms will also include a documentary film series.

The first film in the series, “Honeyland” will be shown at 7:00 p.m. Friday, February 7, and 2:00 p.m. Sunday, February 9. There is a suggested donation of five dollars at the door.

The museum is also scheduled to show “Farmsteaders” in early March and “The Biggest Little Farm” in early April.

“We’re looking at films that have to do with agricultural work of different kinds,” Scott said. “Film is one way to look at what other people are doing (and) maybe shedding some light on issues that are facing our own community.”