Ag Museum hidden SDSU treasure

Tara Halbritter

Tara Halbritter

Most of us have walked by it, but not nearly as many have been inside the State Agricultural Heritage Museum that sits quietly on the northwest corner of 11th Street and Medary Avenue.

Upon entering the museum, visitors are greeted by an enormous, 65-horsepower, red, green and black steam engine tractor.

Making their way around the museum, visitors will see such displays as antique farm equipment, towering windmills and the Homestead Claim Shanty from 1882. Other exhibits include dedications to John Morrell & Co., Bricston Manufacturing Co. and Briggs & Stratton.

“Some people come here to learn about farming,” said curator Carrie VanBuren. She said tractor collectors, students and farmers are among the museum’s many visitors.

From the time the museum opened in 1967 until it moved to its current location in 1977, it was housed in the basement of Wenona Hall.

Brad Struck, a junior math education major, said he visited the museum twice last year.

“I’ve thought about volunteering there,” said Struck, who grew up on a farm outside Humboldt.

Sterling Smith is another student who has viewed the museum’s many exhibits.

“I went for a class, but it ended up being quite an enjoyable experience,” said Smith, an agricultural engineering major.

Nick Wintersteen, a junior mechanical engineering major, said he remembers going to the museum with his grandfather, who explained how the antique farm equipment worked.

The school’s agriculture department is not actively involved with the museum, said Michelle Glanzer, one of the museum’s curators.

She said funding for the museum comes from private donations, museum membership fees and the university.

The museum has five full-time employees and a few student employees, some of whom work on a volunteer basis.

Monday through Saturday, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sundays it is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. If you aren’t able to make it during those hours, you can tour the museum online at

Students can visit the State Agricultural Heritage Museum at no cost. Group reservations should be scheduled one or more weeks in advance. Special lecture programs are also offered through the museum. Contact the museum office or visit the Web site for more information.

#1.885608:1916868586.jpg:agmuseum2.jpg:The State Agricultural Heritage Museum displays a variety of antique farm equipment and speciality exhibits.:Jerry Smith