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Object Spotlight: Historic Photographs

Object Spotlight: Historic Photographs

In the past three weeks, the Plymouth Historical Society has completed an inventory of 47 historic photographs, including 4 images mounted in specialized hinged cases trimmed in gold and lined with velvet. Set in their jewel box-like cases, the photographs seem extra precious. Although hundreds of thousands of photographs like these exist in museum collections all over the world, the word “precious” still applies. These are among the oldest photographs ever produced. A daguerreotype like this was most likely made…

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2019 Collections Inventory

2019 Collections Inventory

In December 2018, the Plymouth Historical Society was awarded a Minnesota Legacy Grant for $9960 to conduct a partial inventory of our artifacts and archives. Our plan is to identify, catalog, and photograph the 1600-plus objects currently housed in the Plymouth History Museum building. We began the project by collecting basic object information and a photograph for each object we examined. This information was entered into a new collections software management system, Collective Access. Since January 15, 2019, we have created…

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How to Care for Your Historic Clothing

How to Care for Your Historic Clothing

The new Netflix series Tidying up with Marie Kondo, has been making headlines this past month. In it, Kondo — the world-renowned Japanese organization expert — shows her audience her KonMari method of properly folding clothing in order to maximize storage space. Her technique for folding a T-shirt, for example, only requires 4 folds to dramatically reduce the amount of space the garment would otherwise require. For those looking to tidy their closets and drawers, Kondo’s origami-like folding techniques are…

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Innovation and the Resistance to Change in Agriculture

Innovation and the Resistance to Change in Agriculture

I spent some time talking to my father this past week about what he knew of life in the early 1900s. I asked him questions about Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods and was somewhat surprised by his response. His ancestors were not doing much of what Taylor talked about because even if they knew of it, it was likely impractical for them to implement. The process of innovation is often very slow. Taylor and his fellow researchers had great ideas, but…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part V

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part V

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the fifth of 5 blog posts on this subject. 5. The need to pursue knowledge and innovation For some reason the label “dumb farmer” has been attached to many of those whose life work is a farmer. The reasons why can only be speculated. The best guess is that many farmers never went to college and may have even missed out…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part IV

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part IV

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the fourth of 5 blog posts on this subject. 4. Creating and Managing a Profitable Herd Any business owner knows this simple fact: if you cannot consistently produce a profit, your business will ultimately fail. Taylor gave many tips to help dairymen maximize their profits with their herd. Taylor’s first tip focused on the…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part III

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part III

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the third of 5 blog posts on this subject. 3. Proper Germ Management  The world today has become obsessed with bacteria. With the knowledge that disease spreads through these microorganisms, the natural response is to kill all bacteria. No one will argue that bacteria can be incredibly harmful. The recent E. coli outbreak associated…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part II

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part II

Though Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, is nearly 100 years old, it contains many practical tips that still apply today. This is the second of 5 blog posts on this subject. 2. The necessity of fresh, pure air Keeping animals in a barn where air cannot flow freely can cause significant problems for the animals. The biggest concern for Taylor was the development and spread of tuberculosis — an airborne infectious disease that mostly affects the…

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Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part I

Five Practical Farming Tips That Still Apply Today, Part I

As I read Dr. W.E. Taylor’s book Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods, I have been simply blown away at the depth of knowledge farmers had access to 100 years ago. One hundred years seems so far in the past that it is easy to assume the information is outdated. But the book contains many practical tips that still apply today. Over the next few blogs, we will discuss 5 of these. 1. The importance of clean, pure, readily available…

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The Surprising Origin of Cheap Meat

The Surprising Origin of Cheap Meat

Today I will continue our look at Dr. W.E. Taylor’s Soil Culture and Modern Farm Methods (1913) by discussing a section highlighting issues of supply and demand in agriculture in the 1910s. Taylor’s book was also the subject of two prior posts: The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part I and Part II. With the increase of production of corn in the early 1900s due to better technology and understanding of farming techniques, the price of corn dropped by nearly 50%. This…

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