From butter churns to diesel tractors, the Museum's agricultural artifacts trace the story of Americans who work the land. Agricultural tools and machinery in the collections range from a John Deere plow of the 1830s to 20th-century cultivators and harvesters. The Museum's holdings also include overalls, aprons, and sunbonnets; farm photographs; milk cans and food jars; handmade horse collars; and some 200 oral histories of farm men and women in the South. Prints in the collections show hundreds of scenes of rural life. The politics of agriculture are part of the story, too, told in materials related to farm workers' unions and a group of artifacts donated by the family of the labor leader Cesar Chavez.
"Agriculture - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This cotton weigh-up scale was a gift of James W. Butler and came from the H. H. Hopson Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi. Such scales were customarily used in cotton fields to weigh each worker's daily pickings, which were the basis of pay. Because cotton is so light, only the most proficient workers could pick 300 pounds.
- Cotton that was planted in April or May and chopped and cultivated through the summer would be ready for picking by September. The picking season could last into December. Once the cotton had been picked, it was taken to a gin where the seeds were separated from the lint. The baled lint went to textile mills, and the seeds were crushed to make vegetable oil and cattle feed.
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center