State ag museum under new leadership

Shayla Waugh

Shayla Waugh

Mac R. Harris has been chosen as the new director of the State Agricultural Heritage Museum.

He officially became director on Jan. 9 after the former director retired.

“I chose to take this position because I thought it was a wonderful opportunity,” said Harris.

He said one of his goals as director of the museum is to eventually add on to the current building. He said the project is currently in the preliminary stages of strategic planning. Harris said he would like to see the development of more outreach programs as well.

“It is important that the museum makes its presence known in the community and surrounding region,” said Harris. “I would also like to see the museum reaching out to the agricultural community and let them know that the museum is here representing their story.”

He said he plans to create more programs to attract SDSU students to the museum.

Harris just moved to Brookings at the beginning of January. He said he likes the community so far.

“I have been very impressed with the faculty and administrative support at SDSU,” said Harris. “I have enjoyed myself very much so far. This is a very friendly campus.”

Harris formerly served as the director of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. He was the executive director of the Cherokee National Historical Society in Tahlequah, Okla. from 1995 to 1999.

Harris earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Central State University in Edmond, Okla. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Okla. State University in 1975. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1974.

The museum is currently hosting its 18th annual Brown Bag Lecture series. The series began on Feb. 2 with a lecture titled “South Dakota County Courthouses” by Jason Haug.

Remaining lectures in this year’s series are:

Feb. 9: “Insects of South Dakota” by Jonathan Lundgren, USDA-Agriculture Research Service

* Feb. 16: “Small Towns: Do They Have a Future?” by John Miller, South Dakota Humanities scholar

* Feb. 23: “SDSU-Flandreau Indian School Success Academy” by Dr. Mary Jo Benton Lee, coordinator of the SDSU-FIS Success Academy

* March 2: “Ethnobotany and Using Native Plants: New Way to Look at the Landscape” by Neil Reese, SDSU professor of biology and microbiology

The lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, call the State Agricultural Heritage Museum at (605) 688-6226.