There is something fascinating about a museum. It captures bygone times and helps every generation keep in touch with history in a deep, and significant way. It could be the world’s oldest museum – the Capitoline in Rome - or a quirky museum such as the Bread Museum in Germany – they all have something to offer in terms of knowledge of the days gone by.
And as history goes, agriculture is enshrined in many museums around the world too. In fact, along with architecture, natural history, culture, and science, agriculture is one of the biggest categories when it comes to museums. So, let’s go on a journey and look at a few of the agricultural museums around us.
What is an agricultural museum?
An agricultural museum plays a vital role of preserving agricultural heritage, in multiple forms and ways. To achieve this aim, the museum can do several things including:
Display physical memorabilia – implements, machinery, cropping tools, and so on
Focus on specific or indigenous crops such as sugarcane plantations in the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum, Hawaii
Expand on the history of agriculture like the National Agricultural Museum in Delhi
Exhibit their content in open-air locations such as the Kommern Open Air Museum in Germany
Exhibit various agricultural processes such as the mill museums located around the world
Regardless of the central theme of an agricultural museum, visiting it can give all of us immense insight into the important work done by farmers when it comes to feeding the world.
One of the best-known agricultural museums is the National Agricultural Science Museum (NASM) in New Delhi. India has a massive & continuing history & relationship with agriculture. The NASM has dedicated 150 exhibits to trace agriculture through past, present and future scenarios. Starting from the Vedic era to looking at food security in the future, the NASM has some hugely interesting information.
The Punjab Agricultural Museum has chosen a hybrid approach which is clear in its blend of social and agricultural information. Here you can find old agricultural implements, kitchenware, glimpses into a rural lifestyle, and a soils museum too that highlights the soil resources of Punjab.
Such is the reputation of this museum that it is all set to host the first-ever conference of the International Association of Agricultural Museums in October 0f 2023. Over a hundred delegates from more than fifty countries will congregate to explore all aspects of agricultural life.
Then there is the unique food museum in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. It informs visitors of the progress made by humankind from being hunter-gatherers to becoming agricultural producers. It is also interesting to see the models of grain production and storage systems, and how grains reach the end consumer.
The journey of agriculture and the legacy of today’s farming practices is long, interesting, significant, and relevant. And thanks to agricultural museums – we can continue this journey with fascination.
National Agricultural Science Museum (NASM) in New Delhi, is the first of its kind in the country.
The Royal Agricultural Museum in Budapest is one of the oldest in the world.