Farming theme grows at MOA 2019 exhibits

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Wanda Lassiter

Farmall Tractor, Model H, 1939 Photo Courtesy of Barbara Putnam.jpg

Wanda Lassiter
Curator, Museum of the Albemarle

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Agriculture is one of the themes for exhibits and programming at the Museum of the Albemarle in 2019. When MOA first opened its doors in 1967, some of the first collected artifacts were related to agriculture.

Over the next 50 years the collection grew to include soybean harvesters, grain fans, flails, seed planters, scythes, cotton scales, and corn shellers. Oxen and horse artifacts in the collection show the usage of these animals in planting and harvesting crops. Hames, harnesses, shoes, bits, and clippers are among those collected.

MOA has artifacts that were patented by northeastern North Carolina residents including a plow with a patent issued to Miles Jennings and John H. Jennings of Elizabeth City on June 21, 1904.

Also, a circa 1900 chain-driven working model for Jones Vertical Mower is stored at the museum. The mower could cut wheat and grass, taking the place of the scythe. Advertisements for the harvester found in Plano Manufacturing Company of Chicago catalogues credit the engineering expertise of William H. Jones.

Many artifacts surrounding agriculture are found in our galleries. On view in MOA’s main gallery, Our Story, is equipment including a L. Rosenfeld Manufacturing Company soybean grader, manure mixer from the 1870s, a Sharber and White Hardware corn sheller dating to the year 1900, and a cotton planter from Bertie County.

Two larger artifacts displayed in our mechanized farming section of Our Story are a Farmall Tractor and a potato and onion grader. The Model H International Harvester tractor was used for many years on the Ferebee farm in Camden County. A 1930 Boggs Manufacturing Company potato and onion grader is displayed with James Brothers burlap potato bags hanging next to it.

Tools also can be viewed such as a flail, rice scythe, cotton scales, a hoe, pitch fork, corn sheller, and a hay rake. The large red farm cart made by the Barco brothers of Camden County in the 1870s sits next to a plow patented in 1907. Spencer B. Carter of Elizabeth City was issued a patent for his plow on April 30, 1907. Peanuts bags and sticks are displayed nearby.

The River Bridge: Sunken Secrets exhibit contains a 19th century child’s cup with text from Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack. The cup depicts individuals engaged in agriculture in the background. A refined white earthenware bowl from the mid-19th century has romantic and agricultural motifs on the exterior.

Upcoming programming at the museum surrounding agriculture includes: Biscuits, Tractors, and Chickens from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. Visitors can enjoy candle dipping, butter churning, and live music. The Albemarle Antique Power Association will bring tractors and other equipment for viewing. Teeny Tiny Farm brings their petting zoo; Tot Time on Thursday, April 11 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. focuses on how flowers and vegetables grow.

Visit the Museum this year to learn more about agriculture and its importance to the lives of residents in northeastern North Carolina.

Wanda Lassiter is Curator at Museum of the Albemarle.