Discovery Park of America Opens Permanent Exhibit on Innovation in Agriculture
The exhibit tells the story of farming innovation in the past, present—and especially—future. Guests exploring “AgriCulture: Innovating for Our Survival” experience how food, fuel and fiber get from the farm to the family as they learn about the role of innovation in the field of agriculture today.
Fun for all ages, the exhibit includes a “Faces of Farming” section with more than 250 portraits of men and women working in agriculture today; a social media wall that shows examples of real-time photos and videos farmers are sharing online; and hands-on elements like a state-of-the art tractor from H&R Agri-Power and Case IH. Next to the modern tractor is one from the turn of the twentieth century that guests can experience to compare the two.
The team creating the exhibit, led by Jennifer Wildes, Discovery Park’s senior director of collections and exhibits, has worked with Solid Light, a Louisville-based firm, for nearly two years on the research, design and installation.
“Much of the exhibit was designed with STEM-based learning in mind, and the Nutrien Ag Solutions stage features advanced audio visual technology and will be used as an educational space for school groups and special programs,” said Wildes. “One of my favorite sections is about jobs in agriculture that we hope will inform our young visitors about opportunities they may want to consider when choosing a career.”
Also included in the exhibit are spotlights on individuals from history who applied innovative practices to farming in the past along with those doing the same thing on farms and in laboratories today.
“The mission of our museum and heritage park is to inspire children and adults to see beyond,” said Scott Williams, president and CEO of Discovery Park. “Those who have had a sneak peek at the nearly finished exhibit along with those of who got to work on it have certainly been inspired to see farming in a whole new way.”
More than a million dollars was raised by the 501(c)(3) non profit to fund the exhibit with other organizations providing resources like equipment, data and research. Major partners are Nutrien Ag Solutions and Simmons Bank with financial support also provided by H&R Agri-Power and Case IH; Tennessee Beef Promotion Board; Tennessee Corn Promotion Board; Tennessee Department of Agriculture; Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board; and USDA Rural Development U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Other financial contributors include AgLaunch Initiative; Bayer Fund; The Dairy Alliance; Danny Larcom Heating and Air; Farm Credit Mid-America; Gail McDonald Latimer; Green Plains, Inc.; Henry County Farm Bureau; Matt Fennel; Obion County Farm Bureau; Syngenta; Tennessee Farm Bureau; Tennessee Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom; Tennessee Pork Producers Association; Tosh Farms; Westan Insurance Group, Inc.; Will Wade and Pat Wade; and Williams Country Sausage.
Included in the support for the exhibit were also gifts from 150 individuals who provided a financial gift and will be recognized in the exhibit as a “Champion of Agriculture.” For a current list of all who supported the exhibit including the Champions of Agriculture, visit the website.