Try, Try, Try Again
Some might why Wayne County even needs an agricultural museum. After all, America has become so urbanized in the past one hundred years that agriculture no longer feels relevant to most people. And while it is true that most people do not directly interact with agriculture now, it is also true that we are all affected by agricultural production.1 The relationship is complex, but it is still one that is worth learning about – after all, while populations are always the densest in urban and suburban areas, the majority of the United States is rural, with much of that being farmland.2 Therefore, museums supply invaluable information to its attendees, which is also the motivation behind the Buckeye Agricultural Museum and Education Center.
While the Friends of Wayne County Fair came together in 2012,3 plans for an agricultural museum in Wooster have existed for about forty years. In the mid-1970s, the 112th Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Historical Society agreed to build an agricultural museum on the campus of the OARDC. However, the plans were put on hold in 1983 with the gubernatorial election of Dick Celeste, a Democrat who believed an agricultural museum was a special-interest project and did not fit his plans for moving Ohio forward.4 It took nearly thirty more years to get efforts going again for an agricultural museum – the group now known as Friends of Wayne County Fair were the ones who initiated a new effort to build a museum dedicated to the region’s agricultural history. With state grants and fundraisers happening over the past few years, the current efforts are currently moving at a slow yet steady pace.5 It will no doubt feel rewarding to see the museum officially open to the public year-round.
1 Debra A. Reid, Interpreting Agriculture at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), 5.
2 Ibid., 5–7.
3 Paul Locher, “Friends of Wayne Fair,” Daily Record; Wooster, Ohio, September 10, 2012, sec. A.
4 Paul Locher, “An Old Idea Gets New Life,” Daily Record; Wooster, Ohio, June 6, 2015, sec. A, A.1.
5 Paul Locher, “Museum Gets $400K Grant,” Daily Record; Wooster, Ohio, April 17, 2016, sec. A.