New exhibit features local Farm Bureau history

A photograph depicting a demonstration farm scene near Garden City, dating to about 1920, where observers gathered to focus on irrigation techniques and benefits, is one of the photos on display in the Front Door Gallery.

By The Finney County Historical Museum

Images and artifacts spanning a century of southwest Kansas agriculture are on display in a new exhibit in the Front Door Gallery at the Finney County Historical Museum.

The display, “Helping Feed the World 100 Years,” marks the 100th anniversary of the Finney County Farm Bureau Association, an education, advocacy and service organization with approximately 1,100 members.

The exhibit includes a brief chronology of the local Farm Bureau association, which traces its history to the formation of a local county defense council in World War I.

There are approximately 20 photographs depicting farming over 10 decades in Finney County, as well as a collection of about 18 early-day farming artifacts.

Objects on display range from a weathered 19th century wagon wheel hub, hand-held scythe, wagon wheel wrench, branding iron and sugar beet knife, to the vane of a Baker Monitor windmill, a model first produced in the 1870s.

The exhibit focuses on the triad of water, crops and livestock that still anchor 21st century agricultural production, incorporating several historical facts and figures. Wheat was first planted in Finney County in 1879, for example, the year of Garden City’s founding.  A statistical report from 1885 shows that 97 wheat acres were harvested, averaging 20 bushels per acre.

The exhibit was created with assistance and information from Jennifer Gerber, who administers the Finney County association, and it will remain for several weeks.

The Front Door Gallery is a small space just inside the museum’s entrance, where displays change approximately six times each year.

The new exhibit is the second feature of 2018.  Exhibit hours run from 1 to 5 p.m. daily, and will expand on May 29 with the doors opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, as well as 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Admission is free. The museum is located at 403 S. Fourth St. in Finnup Park, adjacent to the entrance arches at Lee Richardson Zoo.