Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wild Times!: Some Assembly Required

By: Erin Crissman, Curator Its 1995, I’m graduating from high-school. I’m visited by the “ghost of career moments future” who informs me I’ll be assembling milking machines and vehicles in 15 years. At that point I would have been horrified. However, that is precisely what I did last week and it was fun! These adventures were part of installing Wild Times! our new exhibition in the Main Barn - it opens this weekend. You are invited to follow Lulu and Max around New York State on a quest to find 11 of our state’s notable animals. Two of those are the Holstein Cow and the Horse. The Farmers’ Museum has an amazing collection of agricultural objects to help us illustrate the story of these essential animals. The exhibition features a variety of milking machines that show how milking a herd of cows has changed over the last 100 years. The Page Milker is a frame on wheels with a vacuum assembly that pumps milk directly into a milk can for market. The 1923 model year came with an electric motor option. The one in our collection still has the hand-pump apparatus. Most likely, the farmer who used it hadn’t electrified his barn yet. The sulky in this exhibition is a great way to talk about horses in Central New York. Horses weren’t just for work, they were (and still are) for recreation. This sulky was probably used for rural racing and possibly even for quick one-passenger transportation. It complements the other large objects in the horse section – a one horse power tread that harnessed a horse’s power to operate threshers and a sleigh – essential for winter transportation. Hope you’ll come to check out my equipment assembly skills – and join Lulu and Max on their quest across the state.

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