[Webinar] Growing Things: Case Studies in Interpreting Agriculture
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[Webinar] Growing Things: Case Studies in Interpreting Agriculture

Farm to fork – Community Supported Agriculture – Locally sourced foods. Any AASLH member can find ways to connect their institution to these hot topics. Learn how to launch your own agriculture interpretation based on our presenters' successes.

When: Tuesday, January 30, 2018
3:00-4:30 pm EASTERN
Where: Online
United States
Presenter: Debra Reid, Dave Fowler, Jennifer Frazee, Jim Slining, Debbie Grinnell, Jim Lauderdale, Pete Watson
Contact: Natalie Flammia

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Farm to fork – Community Supported Agriculture – Locally sourced foods. Any AASLH member can find ways to connect their institution to these hot topics. Presenters in this webinar share their successes in linking site-specific and culturally distinct stories to the big topic of agriculture. They show that place matters, that nature and the environment provide a foundation to interpret farming, and that institutions from historic houses and historical societies to metro parks (rural, urban, and suburban) have the resources to engage their audiences in “agriculture.” Each attendee will have access to the same questions that presenters addressed as they prepared for the webinar. Webinar attendees can use these questions to launch their own agriculture interpretation.

Cost: $40 members/$65 non-members

Webinar Participant Outcomes:

  • Be introduced to strategies that can help make history museums and historic sites into a “go-to” source to learn more about hot topics related to agriculture and farming.
  • Learn about examples of interpreting agriculture that work.
  • Receive a framework of questions which they can use to launch their own place-based and mission-driven agriculture interpretation.
  • Begin to explore humanities-based strategies to convey a multi-disciplinary topic (agriculture and farming).
  • Better ensure that gender, race, ethnicity, power and authority remain central to all projects, and that rural-urban dichotomies and farming in the city and the country receive attention.

About the Presenters:

Debra A. Reid, Curator of Agriculture and the Environment, The Henry Ford, and author of Interpreting Agriculture at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), will facilitate the session and contribute as opportunity arises. She is past-president of the Association for Living History, Farms and Agricultural Museums and a Fellow of the Agricultural History Society. She taught history and historical administration at Eastern Illinois University between 1999 and 2016, and joined The Henry Ford in January 2017.


Cherokee Agriculture & Farming

Dave Fowler and Jennifer Frazee, Murrell Home State Historical Site, Oklahoma Historical Society, Tahlequah, Oklahoma


Skills Training

Jim Slining is a lifelong student of the arts and mysteries of pre-industrial trades and agriculture. Jim has practiced these interests as a front line interpreter at several historic sites. He owns a business which produces museum grade reproductions for public and private restorations and museums, as well as presenting training seminars and workshops. He completed a formal blacksmith apprenticeship at Colonial Williamsburg, continuing some years there as a Journeyman smith. Jim has also operated a family (mostly) subsistence farm using combined animal and tractor power. He currently manages the research collection at Tillers International, a non-profit rural development organization. Though steeped in historic work attitudes, Jim completed an undergraduate degree in aviation and holds a commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings.


Incorporating Agriculture in a Local History Museum: Developing an Agriculture Interpretive Center

Debbie Grinnell is the Vice President of Advancement & Campus Develop at Naper Settlement, an accredited outdoor history museum 30 miles west of Chicago, IL. She has held various positions in her 25 year career spent with the museum including registrar, curator, director of preservation services, and VP of museum services, and currently  oversees the philanthropic activities and capital campaign projects for Naper Settlement. She graduated from Eastern IL University with an MA in Historical Administration, and completed her BA in History at Marquette University. Debbie is the museum liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission in Naperville, and has served as an IMLS grant reviewer in years past. She was recently selected by the National Council of Public History for a working group studying Agriculture and Public History, which will be led by Deb Reid.


Jim Lauderdale. During my career it has been my pleasure to work as a historical interpreter at Barrington Living History Farm, farm manager at Nash Farm, and I currently work as the museum director of Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma, Washington.  I love history and have a passion for sharing history with others.  At each of these institutions, I have endeavored to engage my audience and connect them with the interesting aspects of each of these historic sites.  I have been a member of ALHFAM since 2012.  I am also a founding member and past-president of the Texas Living History Association. 


Joel Johnson, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, operated by Tacoma Metro-Parks, Tacoma, Washington


Pete Watson, Director, Howell Farm, Titusville, New Jersey

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The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) is a national association that provides leadership and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all people.

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