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Silos & Smokestacks Funds Projects Telling America’s Agricultural Story

Northeast Iowa–Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) has awarded
$50,000 to 11 Heritage Area sites, communities and organizations. Projects funded through the General Grant Program are dedicated to telling America’s agricultural story, both past and present. Recipients of SSNHA’s 2014 General Grants include:

Dysart Historical Society, Dysart, $1,850
The historical society will create a timeline on the agricultural museum walls, reflecting agriculture’s progress and key events from 1800 to present. It will feature national and world events which have impacted Iowa agriculture and rural families.

Friends of Hartman Reserve, Cedar Falls, $300
New outdoor interpretive signs will be installed and current signs updated to tell the story of Hartman Reserve Nature Center. The signs will provide information when a naturalist is not available, including the role of prairies and wetlands in agriculture.

Hardin County Farm Museum, Eldora, $1,210
The museum will develop an interpretive sign to be placed near the brooder house to tell the story of chickens on the family farm. Six original signs will be replaced due to fading. Together, the signs will provide a valuable self-guided tour of the farm.

Heartland Museum, Inc., Clarion, $3,000
The exhibit, On Their Shoulders, will tell a visual story of how technology and research provide innovative crop product solutions to meet the needs of today’s farmers. The display will provide a timeline of changing technology and cropping innovations. Videos will demonstrate agricultural machinery at work and what these new techniques look like in the field.

Johnson County, Iowa, Iowa City, $4,800
Interpretive signage will be created to tell the history of the Johnson County Poor Farm and Asylum. The interpretive panels will share how the county and state used their plentiful agricultural resources in efforts to care for the poor and mentally ill.

Johnson County Historical Society, Coralville, $5,000
The exhibit, From Meskwaki to County Schools: The Settlement & Development of Johnson County, will be revamped to better engage children’s curiosity. Interactive displays will be developed with new and informative text, along with historically accurate, structurally sound replicas.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum, Burr Oak, $1,700
To educate visitors on pioneer life, nine new indoor and outdoor interpretive signs will be developed. Signage will supplement current exhibits, focusing on the challenges that the Ingalls family and other homesteaders faced in their daily lives.

National Farm Toy Museum, Dyersville, $8,000
The museum will hire a professional museum design consultant to assist in further integrating the story of agriculture with their extensive farm toy collection. An exhibit plan will be developed to create a dynamic visitor experience.

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque, $8,080
The museum’s Barge Theater will be expanded through the addition of the exhibit Moving Grain. The exhibit will tell the story of one of Iowa’s most important agricultural products, corn. Visitors will gain a broader understanding of the relationship between modern agriculture in Iowa and how the navigation system on the Mississippi River is used to distribute products worldwide.

Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), Davenport, $8,060
A collaborative project of the Ames, Dubuque, Quad Cities and Waterloo CVBs, Dig In! Iowa’s Ag Innovation Tour will increase awareness of Iowa’s unique agricultural landscape, along with attendance at local agriculture related attractions and businesses. Through participation in the Farm Progress Show and the International POW WOW, the project will focus of promoting Iowa’s agricultural heritage within the international motor coach industry.

University of Iowa, Iowa City, $8,000
The University of Iowa Old Capitol Museum will develop the exhibit, Food for Thought, along with educational programming and activities. The project will explore current farming practices and culinary tendencies, from modern commercial farming to the organic movement. Visitors will discover how food travels from the farm to their tables.

“The evolution of agriculture and technology has long been at the heart of our state. By funding these important projects, we are helping to connect agriculture’s past with the future,” commented Don Short, SSNHA President.

Projects funded through SSNHA Grant Programs must provide a 1-1 non-federal match to the grant award. Since the program began in 2001, Silos & Smokestacks has funded over $1.75 million to non-profit organizations, local governments and communities with projects dedicated to preserving America’s agricultural heritage.

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area is one of 49 federally designated heritage areas in the nation and is an Affiliated Area of the National Park Service. The Heritage Area covers 37 counties in the northeast quadrant of Iowa. Interstate 80 borders it on the south and Interstate 35 borders it on the west. Through a network of sites, programs and events, SSNHA interprets farm life, agribusiness and rural communities – past and present. To learn more about Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, please visit www.silosandsmokestacks.org.

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