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Interpreting Agriculture at Museums and Historic Sites

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Interpreting Agriculture at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) encourages us to put an "H" (the humanities, not just history) into a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subject – a STEALTH approach. During this webinar, Dr. Reid will summarize main points from Interpreting Agriculture,  including an overview of different disciplinary methodology useful to interpreting agriculture (sciences, social sciences, and humanities), and then case studies of interpreting agricultural machinery using a social history and humanist approach. Reid will summarize a critical thinking approach that uses visual evidence (prescriptive literature and photographic evidence) to document agricultural tools and equipment). The session will continue with a conversation among participants about how they will document agriculture in their location (be if farms in the countryside or the city, or agricultural business that served farm families historically and today). The session will conclude with a discussion about what else museums and historic site staff need to interpret agriculture most effectively, and will end with a question and answer session.


About the Instructor:

Dr. Debra A. Reid is Curator of Agriculture and the Environment, The Henry Ford (Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and Greenfield Village), Dearborn, Michigan. She has worked with living history farms, agricultural museums, and historic sites in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas, and taught Historical Administration and History at Eastern Illinois University (1999-2017). Her service to the profession has included leadership roles in three international organizations devoted to agriculture: the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), the International Association of Agricultural Museums (AIMA), and the Agricultural History Society. Thus, she has a breadth of understanding about agriculture across the United States, and in European and African contexts. Her research addresses rural and minority cultures, and her duties at The Henry Ford allow her to put machinery collections into social, cultural, and historical context.