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View Archive Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation, Inc., Continues Support for Destination Ag at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture
November 19, 2020

Museum Copes with COVID, Gets Ready for Holidays

After being closed for almost six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture. “The team at the Museum and all of our visitors continue to be very understanding and patient as we adjust to pandemic operations,” Museum Director Garrett Boone said.  “We have made changes to about every aspect of our operation, and now we are looking forward to a festive holiday season.” Museum Country Store Manager Tonia Carpenter said the venue’s convenient location at 1392 Whiddon Mill Road just off I-75 in Tifton makes it a popular Christmas shopping spot.  “We have new merchandise galore,” Carpenter said.  “I think the Georgia Grown products are going to be really great gifts this year.  We have peanuts, pecans, honey, and cheese straws.” New items also include Bundt pound cakes for $20 and pound cake loaves for $8, both made fresh to order.  Shoppers can also pick up syrup, grits, corn meal, and turpentine, all produced on site at the Museum.  “After being closed for almost six months because of the pandemic, we were able to slowly open back up, starting with the Country Store,” Boone said.  “People were ready to get out of the house and looking for something safe and fun. Thankfully, our Country Store and playground fit that bill. “We added cotton candy, hand-dipped ice cream, and popcorn to the Country Store as well as two pieces of playground equipment behind the store.  We also have umbrella picnic tables and comfortable benches in the shade to give guests a way to spread out and enjoy their ice cream and the playground.” Boone said the Museum’s children’s programs, “Toddler Time” and “Wiregrass Kids,” have been well received. The Museum’s other educational programs and field trips are re-opening cautiously and gaining momentum. Several school groups have visited on site for guided tours, and the Museum is also providing virtual educational programming. “We understand the situation these schools are in, and we are trying to meet their needs,” Boone said.  “Guided tours have been really popular with the home-school groups.  It’s just a different time for everybody.” Conference facilities are back open at the Museum but at a 50-person capacity.  The facilities have been used recently for corporate training, weddings and receptions, and birthday parties. “We are receiving a lot of inquiries for events,” Boone said. “People have been very understanding about the size of the groups, guidelines, and requirements brought on by the pandemic.”  Museum guests can also visit the Gallery where a unique presentation titled “Blood, Bone, & Stone” is now on display.  Museum Curator Polly Huff said the exhibit includes several hundred hand-crafted artifacts by Ocilla resident Jack McKey, a master craftsman of Naturalist and Native American Technology. Meanwhile Carpenter is ordering extra items for the Christmas rush at the Country Store. “We have some really unique little toys for kids that I think will go well,” Carpenter said.  “We also have a great selection of candy for stocking stuffers and Christmas party bags.” The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.  The Country Store has expanded its hours of operation to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays.
November 3, 2020

Cane Grinding, Syrup Making at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture on November 14th

Nothing beats the smell of sweet cane syrup cooking on an autumn afternoon.   Visitors to the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture will take a whiff of that delicious aroma on Nov. 14 at the always popular cane-grinding and syrup-making event. Museum Director Garrett Boone said June, the ever-faithful Museum mule, will be grinding the cane for the syrup kettle as the experienced cooking crew turn out this unique sweet treat.  The Museum is open that day from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Syrup cooking will take place from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Boone said that although the Museum will be operating at a reduced capacity due to current COVID regulations and guidelines, Museum staff still look forward to offering special demonstrations and programs, such as cane grinding, just on a smaller scale. Cane syrup will be available for sale at the Museum’s Country Store along with grits, corn meal, and turpentine, all made on the Museum site at 1392 Whiddon Mill Road, just off I-75 in Tifton.  The Country Store has also expanded its offerings to include freshly made pound cakes, popcorn, cotton candy, and hand-dipped ice cream.  Boone said the Museum’s steam powered cotton gin will also be running on Nov. 14.  Visitors can take in the spectacle of Eli Whitney’s invention turning out a bale of cotton. Also, the Museum’s own blacksmith will be forging iron at the Blacksmith Shop in the Historic Village.  The 1917 Vulcan steam locomotive runs every Saturday around Agrirama Lake and straight through the center of the Historic Village. The steam train is always a source of wonderment for children who climb aboard as their ears perk up and their eyes grow wide at the sound of the historic train whistle. The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.  The Country Store has expanded its hours of operation to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays.
September 3, 2020

ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture Opens to Public September 5

TIFTON—From old favorites such as a train ride featuring the 1917 Vulcan steam locomotive to new additions such as hand-scooped ice cream, visitors can take in all the sights and sounds of the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture when it opens to the public on Sept. 5. Museum Director Garrett Boone said the Historic Village staff is glad to be back in operation after almost six months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are excited to be back and welcome all our visitors,” Boone said. “The Country Store and Museum Main Hall have been up and running for a few weeks but now we’re opening back up the Historic Village.” Boone said ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture is an immersive experience into the agrarian and cultural traditions of the 19th century American South. Visitors can take a glimpse into the innovative and storied history of the Wiregrass region of Southern Georgia through hands-on learning experiences and a sweeping landscape of historic sites and artifacts. The Museum and Historic Village will be open on a Tuesday through Saturday basis from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Country Store, located at 1392 Whiddon Mill Road in Tifton, will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays. “Our Country Store is going to be one of our most popular spots with everything we have added to it,” Boone said. “Besides the hand-scooped ice cream, we now have popcorn and cotton candy as well as all our toys and gift items. “We have also added some colorful picnic tables and umbrellas just outside the store where our guests can enjoy their treats. And perhaps most exciting to the little ones is the addition of three more large pieces of playground equipment.” Museum Curator Polly Huff said a unique multimedia event titled “Blood, Bone, & Stone” will be in the spotlight at the Museum’s Opry Shelter and the Museum Gallery on Sept. 19. “Presented in collaboration with ABAC’s School of Arts and Sciences, the event features Jack McKey, a master craftsman of Naturalistic and Native American Technology,” Huff said. “Guests of the day-long event will participate in the world premiere of McKey’s biographical film, which was created by Dr. Thomas Grant, an associate professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, and a team of ABAC journalism students.” The Gallery is located adjacent to the Museum’s Main Hall, which features dozens of exhibits describing the history of Georgia’s agricultural commodities, unique cultural pieces, and pays respect to the historic inventors and luminaries from eras past and present. The familiar whistle of the historic steam locomotive will once again sound throughout Tifton every Saturday this fall. Guests will purchase their train tickets inside the Country Store and then drive to the Museum Main Hall where they will be directed to where they can board the train in the Historic Village. “For the folks who have ridden the train in the past, this is a change,” Boone said. “Everybody loves the train ride, and they will still get the full experience.” In the Historic Village, guests can visit the Davis Grist Mill to see grits being made, the blacksmith shop, the print shop, the doctor’s office, the turpentine still, the Langdale Nature Center, the drugstore, the sawmill, the cotton gin, and the Tift House, formerly the home of Tifton founder Henry Harding Tift and his family. Younger visitors always love the animals at the Traditional and Progressive Farmsteads as well as the desks at the Sand Hill School House where interpreters relate stories of Georgia’s past and engage the youngsters in hands-on activities. Boone said school children will also return to the Museum for the Destination Ag program, which begins its fifth year this fall. “Destination Ag provides an interactive, educational experience for children and all guests focused on modern agriculture and natural resources,” Boone said. “Learning stations and exhibits connect guests to where their food, fiber, and shelter come from.” Destination Ag attracted a record 12,306 students to the Museum in 2019-20. Thanks to the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation, the program is presented at no cost to the visiting students. Boone said conference and meeting facilities at the Museum will also be open at a reduced capacity to conform to federal and state guidelines. Masks are required for visitors at all indoor areas of the Museum. Admission to the Museum Tuesday through Friday is $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens 55 and up, $4 for 5 to 16-year-olds, and free for all children under four years of age. On Saturdays, admission is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens, $5 for 5 to 16-year-olds, and free for all children under four. For more information, interested persons can visit the Museum’s web site at https://gma.abac.edu/.
March 23, 2020

Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation, Inc., Continues Support for Destination Ag at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture

This year over 16,000 students from 12 different South Georgia counties have had the opportunity to learn about agriculture through the Destination Ag program at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture because of past contributions to the ABAC Foundation from the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation, Inc. Now, the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation, Inc., has continued its support with a recent check presentation to Garrett Boone, Director of the Georgia Museum of Agriculture. "The Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation is proud to help support Destination Ag as the instructors educate our children at an early age and expose them to agriculture and the working forest,” Donnie Warren, Executive Director of the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation, Inc., said. “We appreciate ABAC for what they are doing to enhance the opportunities of young people in our region and state."  The Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation, Inc., has enabled ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture by contributing annually over the past five years to the ABAC Foundation to engage guests in the past and present of agriculture and natural resources through Destination Ag. With this support, Destination Ag provides experiential learning opportunities for the next generation of agriculture and natural resource leaders.  In the past year, Destination Ag has expanded to include Valdosta area schools to serve a total of 12 counties across South Georgia. Boone said the mission of Destination Ag is to be a dynamic educational program connecting students and teachers to the importance of agriculture and natural resources in their daily lives. “This mission is implemented through hands-on experiences and a focus on career paths in these industries,” Boone said.  “Destination Ag provides educational activities directly focused on agriculture and natural resources taught by ABAC students.”
March 11, 2020

Destination Ag Impacts 6,359 Students at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture

TIFTON –From pre-kindergarten through second grade, a total of 6,359 students from four different counties in South Georgia received a first-hand look at where their food, fiber, and shelter originate in the second year of the popular Destination Ag program at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture. “It is vitally important to engage students with the importance of agriculture and natural resources at an early age,” Museum Director Garrett Boone said. “We, along with our partners, are working hard to provide opportunities to increase the awareness on the critical role that agriculture and natural resources play in our everyday lives – from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the house we live in.” Boone said the 2017-18 total headcount represented an increase of 2,390 students from the initial year of the program. Destination Ag added programming for students in pre-k through second grade from Berrien County this year to accompany students in the same grade levels from Tift, Cook, and Colquitt counties. Each student received a hands-on experience with agriculture, Georgia’s number one industry. Thanks to an initial gift of $250,000 from the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation to the ABAC Foundation, Destination Ag opened its doors to pre-k through first grade students in Tift, Colquitt, and Cook counties in September 2016. On June 5, 2017, the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation committed $1 million over the next four years to continue the program. “This support by the Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation has made it possible for us to invest in the lives of these students who will one day be the agriculture leaders of this state,” ABAC President David Bridges said. “This program connects agriculture and natural resources to a child’s everyday life.” Boone said a barn and an array of learning stations were constructed for Destination Ag during the summer of 2017 thanks to support from Weyerhaeuser. The barn houses Destination Ag animals and displays multiple exhibits. The learning stations provide shade and shelter for students as they immerse themselves in the Destination Ag curriculum. Two new Destination Ag partners made contributions to the program by donating two fiberglass cows, Buttercup and Chuck. Buttercup, an interactive dairy cow sponsored by The Dairy Alliance, allows pre-k students to see where their milk comes from as they participate in “milking” her. Chuck, a beef cow sponsored by The Georgia Beef Board and Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, connects visitors to the origins of the various cuts of beef they might purchase in the grocery store. The Destination Ag playground and immersive free-play area was also a new addition. Children can now climb on the wooden tractor and trailer, donated by Lasseter Equipment Group, and pretend to be bees in their ownhive. Thanks to the U.S. Poultry Foundation, Destination Ag incorporated four chickens and a new chicken coop into its lessons for kindergarten students this year. Destination Ag has plans to include additional animals in the coming years. “We spent the first year creating, implementing, and establishing the basis of a strong foundation for Destination Ag,” Boone said. “In year two we further solidified that foundation, fine-tuning our processes and procedures. We are intent on making Destination Ag the premier ag literacy program in the country.” Throughout the year, Destination Ag participated in outreach programs to share the importance of agricultural and natural resources at schools in local communities. Nearly 700 sixth graders were impacted by Destination Ag’s weather and erosion program at J.T. Reddick Middle School in Tift County. Destination Ag staff members delivered ag literacy into Annie Belle Clark Primary and Norman Park Elementary by reading various agriculture-based books to the students. Destination Ag and the Georgia Farm Bureau partnered to pilot a statewide outreach program in the form of traveling trunks. “All About Trees” was the focus for the 10 pilot trunks distributed to different regions throughout the state to be utilized by teachers in their schools. Destination Ag was also presented at the Sunbelt Ag Expo, “A Day in the Woods,” and the Georgia National Fair. "The response that we have seen has been overwhelmingly positive to the hands-on, interactive nature of each lesson plan,” Boone said. “So far the data from our evaluations show that 99 percent of teachers surveyed said that Destination Ag made further connections between ag and natural resources in their students’ daily lives.” Boone said the Destination Ag staff is working diligently over the next few months preparing for the third year of the program. The curriculum will expand to third grade and student in pre-k thru third grade from Irwin County will participate in year three along with students already attending from Tift, Colquitt, Cook, and Berrien counties. “By 2020 we hope the program will reach over 17,000 students annually in pre-k through fifth grade in Tift and seven surrounding counties,” Boone said. “There is a realized disconnect between today’s younger generationand the origins of their food, fiber, and shelter.”
February 10, 2020

Georgia Museum of Agriculture takes two top awards

Two of the top awards at the annual Georgia Museums/Alabama Museums Association Joint Conference belong to the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture, according to a press release. Museum Curator Polly Huff brought home the 2020 Best Museum Exhibition Award, Category One, for “One Small Step: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Moon Landing Day and Everyday Life in 1969” and the 2020 Special Project Award, Category Two, for “A to Z: A Story of Hope, Healing, A Book, An Exhibit, A Springboard,” the release states “It’s a real honor for me to accept these awards on behalf of the Gallery at the Museum,” Huff said. “The Exhibition Award recognizes outstanding achievement in projects with a budget below $1,000 by the institutions, friends, and supporters of the Georgia Association of Museums (GAM). The Special Project Award encompasses projects with budgets below $25,000.” On the “One Small Step” project, Awards Committee Chair Christy Crisp of the Georgia Historical Society said, “The decision to use existing college archival materials and collection items from the 1960s to round out the exhibit, and also the community-sourced Moon Landing objects were particularly interesting and resourceful aspects of this project. This was a creative project that seems to have expanded the museum audience.” Huff said the “One Small Step” exhibit was built around a Moon Landing Day letter written by then-ABAC President Clyde Driggers. Huff collaborated with NASA to display images, audio, video, and written journals from the Moon Landing and led a crowd-sourced effort which produced some unique exhibit items. Brittany Bass from Arcadia, Fla., and Jason Gentry from Blakely were the ABAC interns assisting on the project. Of the “A to Z” project, the Awards committee said, “This inspiring and multi-faceted project is a testament both to the artist and to the creativity of the Gallery’s curator in developing such opportunities.” “A to Z” was a carefully curated exhibit for children of all ages built by Huff to spotlight the work of Tifton resident, artist and illustrator Donna Falcone. A debilitating case of Lyme Disease ended Falcone’s long career in Early Childhood Education in 2009. For years, she has helped children, college students, and teachers find their creative voices. “Now she has discovered her a voice of her own through a venture into alcohol inks and through a serendipitous connection with the Gallery that had the desire and connections to springboard her talent and works into a full-blown exhibition,” Huff said. “A to Z” included displays of alcohol ink art from Falcone’s book, “A is for Azure,” musical performances by the artist, a children’s art workshop, and an interactive children’s activities corner. Over 200 museum professionals from Georgia and Alabama attended the conference, which was held in Columbus. Huff has been a member of the GAM Board of Directors for the last six years, serves at the state’s GAM Membership Chair, and participates in the GAM Legislative Group. During the conference, Huff was also the co-host for a session which included a tour of FDR’s Little White House in Warm Springs.