Saturday, April 21, 2018

Explore a Century of Iowa Farming at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Last weekend my family and I traveled to West Branch, Iowa to check out the opening of the "Tall Grass to Knee High" exhibit at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.  This new special exhibit shares the stories of Iowa farmers through the last 100 years and the changes and innovations seen throughout the Iowa country-side.

Tall Grass to Knee High: A Century of Iowa Farming  exhibit at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa

The exhibit is broken down into scores (twenty years) and each score highlights farm life, people, livestock, crops, conservation, machinery and buildings of that time.  Over the last two years a team of four to five Hoover staff members have been researching, interviewing and building the exhibit.  They got a lot of historical information from both the Iowa Women's Archives in Iowa City and the Grout Museum in Waterloo.  

Tall Grass to Knee High: A Century of Iowa Farming  exhibit at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa

I appreciated seeing the voice of women in farming throughout the exhibit.  Journals from Clara Steen Skott and Alma Erickson Swanson, copies of Evelyn Birkby's "Up a Country Lane" newspaper column and copies of my "Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids" blog posts are seen through the scores to share about the people and farm life of our times.  It is an honor to be included the exhibit and to be apart of the large artifacts collection displayed in the exhibit.  (You can find my posts and pictures in both the 1990-2010 and 2010-today scores.)

Tall Grass to Knee High: A Century of Iowa Farming  exhibit at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa

My kids loved the children's area in the center of the exhibit.  The space included farm toys, games, farm books and a life sized milking cow.  The location and set up of the kids zone makes it very friendly for parents to look around the perimeter at the artifacts and displays, while the kids are close by keeping entertained with the children's activities.

Tall Grass to Knee High: A Century of Iowa Farming  exhibit at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa

Other popular spots in the exhibit that we weren't able to check out as much as we would have liked were the video boards and digital displays, along with the Farmer's Markets section which includes recipes from the Hoover Family, Iowa Girl Eats, Becky's Mindful Kitchen and my blog!  You can grab a copy of my Apple Bacon Jam, Farmers Market Quiche, Easy Pecan Sticky Buns, and Harvest Brats with Apple Slaw recipes in that section.  Luckily for us, through October 28, 2018, the end of the special exhibit, Iowa Farm Bureau members get to visit the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum for free!  Based off our experience, I would recommend planning two to three hours to be able to visit not only the Tall Grass to Knee High exhibit, but the rest of museum that shares about Hoover's life, as well as his birthplace cottage, grave-site and outdoor exhibits.

Tall Grass to Knee High: A Century of Iowa Farming  exhibit at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa
It can be so hard to get a good family photo 😉
Our family enjoyed the opportunity to go to the opening of the "Tall Grass to Knee High" exhibit and meet other people that were interviewed for the exhibit.  It was also special to sit just a few seats down from a couple members of Herbert Hoover's family that were in attendance for the opening.  The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum is worth a day trip for all Iowa families and if you're traveling across Iowa on I-80 the site is just north of the interstate.

Have you ever been to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library?  Have you been to any other Presidential libraries?  What do you enjoy checking out at a museum?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

6 comments:

  1. We visited the HH Library and it inspired us to have a family goal to visit all the Presidential Libraries. We have 5 stamps in our Library Passport now and Hoover is in the top 2 for me for sure! We may need to make a trip to check out the exhibit - it looks awesome!

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    1. That's awesome! I didn't even know they had a Library Passport. We have a National Parks one :) Hope you enjoy the exhibit if you make the trip!

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  2. Oh my goodness, how cool to be included!! It sounds like a really interesting exhibit and Little Dude would love that milking cow!

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    1. It is! My kids loved the cow and spent a lot of time playing with it.

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  3. I love that they featured you and your family- this is so cool!

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    1. Thanks Sara! It has been surreal!

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