Agricultural Museums

Agricultural Museums

 

scientific research and cultural-educational institutions concerned with the collection, preservation, study, and popularization of artifacts of material culture in agriculture. Agricultural museums engage in extensive research in soil science, microbiology, forestry, and the history of agriculture and agricultural equipment. They bring to the public’s attention the latest theoretical and practical achievements and strive to increase the public’s awareness of the problems of nature conservation. Agricultural museums also conduct classes for elementary and high school students and college undergraduates.

The first agricultural museum in Russia was the National Museum of Agricultural Products, which was founded in St. Petersburg in 1859 and renamed the Imperial Agricultural Museum in 1881. Its numerous collections (27,000 items) were in four categories: natural history, agricultural economics and statistics, plant growing, and agricultural machines and implements. The museum publicized new agricultural methods, machines, and implements, livestock breeds, and plant varieties. It was renamed the State Museum of Socialist Agriculture in 1918. In the following year the museum opened a department of live collections, in which were displayed plants on open plots, agricultural animals, an apiary, an orchard, a garden, and a weather station. From 1930 to 1940 it promoted the advantages of socialist agriculture and the achievements of kolkhozes, sovkhozes, and agricultural research organizations in the USSR. The museum was closed during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45.

One of the world’s most important soil geography museums is the V. V. Dokuchaev Central Museum of Soil Science, founded in St. Petersburg in 1904; it is now administered by the V. V. Dokuchaev Soil Institute.

There are also republic agricultural museums in the USSR, for example, the V. I. Lenin Azerbaijan Agricultural Museum, which was opened in Baku in 1924 and has branches in Nukha, Nakhichevan, Lenkoran’, and Agdam. The Museum of Estonian Agriculture has been open in Tallinn since 1968. Many museums are run by higher educational institutions and research organizations. The K. A. Timiriazev Moscow Agricultural Academy has eight museums, including museums of soil science and agronomy, horse breeding, livestock raising, and poultry farming. The K. I. Skriabin All-Union Institute of Hel-minthology has a helminthological museum. There are also museums attached to the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Apiculture and the Georgian Scientific Research Institute of Orchard Growing, Viticulture, and Wine Making. Museums of local lore and kolkhoz and sovkhoz museums also collect and display items pertaining to agriculture.

Among the oldest agricultural museums outside the USSR are the Agricultural Museum of the Higher School in Berlin (founded in 1867), the Hungarian Agricultural Museum in Budapest (1896), the Museum of Apiculture in Weimar (German Democratic Republic, 1907), the Museum of Agriculture in Prague (1891), the National Agricultural and Economic Museum in Washington (1864), and the University Museum of English Rural Life in Reading (1951).

REFERENCE

Ivanitskii, I. P., and F. I. Plenkin. Muzeino-vystavochnaia propaganda dostizhenii nauki i peredovogo opyta sotsialisticheskogo sel’skogo khoziaistva. Moscow, 1952.

A. M. BOCHEVER

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