May, 2007 – An Agriculture Museum is born! A group of 4 interested individuals got together to discuss a Museum in Pinckneyville, IL. A business plan was wrote, as well as the bylaws and the Museum was on its way.
January, 2008 – The buildings located across from the Perry County Fairgrounds where the Museum will be located were purchased by the Foundation for Pinckneyville.
August, 2008 – The name Illinois Rural Heritage Museum was decided on.
September, 2008 – We received our 501 C 3 status from the State of IL.
June 6, 2009 – We hosted our 1st annual tractor drive and banquet. Thirty eight tractors and their drivers enjoyed a scenic drive pass the beautiful lakes and wooded area of Pyramid Park. The drive went through downtown Pinckneyville as it came back to town and then back to the Museum where a 6:00 pm dinner was served followed with a presentation of the Museum Plans and drawing.
March, 2010 – Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley announced a $750,000 Flexible Opportunity Grant to be shared by the Illinois Rural Heritage Museum and Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum.
June 5, 2010 – Our 2nd annual tractor drive and banquet was held with Sherry Schaefer being our guest speaker and leader of the tractor drive. Sherry gave an interesting talk on the Nebraska tractor test.
October, 2010 – The Museum hosted a country dinner and dance that was well attended. We had three bands and all the chili you could eat. The weather was cool so it was a good event for people to get out, eat chili, support the Museum and have a good time.
December, 2010 – The Morton Building that is going to be erected for our signature red barn, which is phase 1, was delivered December 16th. Construction will be started in January, 2011.
February, 2011 – Construction on the Morton Building is moving at a good pace even with all the snow and cold weather we have had. Watch our home page for the ribbon cutting event ceremony announcement.
April, 2011 – The bid for phase 2 construction was awarded to Kellerman Brothers Construction at a cost of $415,663.00. This construction will start in June, 2011.
June 4, 2011 – White Walnut Farms hosted the 3rd annual tractor drive as well as the kids fishing event and banquet. Thirty tractors, five fisherpersons and 150 or so diners braved the 95 plus temperatures to have a great time. Rodney Miller, Assistant Dean in the University of Georgia’s Ag Department and former CEO of McCormick Tractor was an inspiring guest speaker at the banquet. Mark your calendar for the first weekend in June of 2012 for the 4th Annual Tractor Drive.
August, 2011 – The Signature Red Horse Barn is nearing completion, with the ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for August 16. A big thank you goes to Morton Buildings, The Engelhardt Family Foundation and other donors who made the Red Horse Barn possible. A second big thank you goes to the Foundation for Pinckneyville and the Department of Commerce and Economic Development for their guidance and financial support.
October, 2011 – The Museum has invited Ag instructors from Illinois high schools to join an Ag Educators Advisory Committee. The purpose of the committee is to offer advice on exhibits and other aspects of the Museum.
November, 2011 – A big thank you to Monsanto for their offer of creating an exhibit for the Museum that will be located in the “Monsanto Exploration Hall” of phase 2. Children of all ages will work with interactive exhibits about technological advances related to corn and soybeans. The changing dynamics of rural populations, yields, and other key events over the decades will also be shown. And, America’s Farmers receive a tribute for their role in making the world a better place.
December, 2011 – Two representatives with CNH from Racine, WI and Burr Ridge, IL made a visit to the Museum. The Museum is interested in being able to exhibit on loan some of the equipment that is being stored in a warehouse in PA. Charlie, Irl, and Mary went to PA in August to see the pieces and were quite impressed with what they saw. A proposal has been made and we will know their decision in 3 to 4 weeks.
January, 2012 – The phase 2 construction is all finished except for the landscaping which is being done as weather permits. The Museum staff is in the process of getting the exhibits in place and is tentatively hoping for a early spring grand opening. Watch the home page for the date.
January to May, 2012 – A lot of activity and work going on in the Museum getting all the exhibits in place.
June 1, 2012 – Grand opening of phase 2 with an open house from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. Special guest was David Vaughn from DCEO. We had about 200 visitors go through the Museum that evening. All were very complimentary of the exhibits. From this date on the Museum is open to the public Thursday – Saturday 9am to 5pm, Sunday 1pm to 5pm and other days by appointment.
June 2, 2012 – The 4th annual tractor drive and banquet was held with Max Armstrong, agriculture broadcaster for “This Week in Agribusiness” as special guest. He participated in the tractor drive and was the speaker for the banquet which was attended by 175 guests. We had 2 special guests from Australia that happened to be passing through Southern Illinois and stopped in at the Museum that day.
July 20, 2012 – A special evening for children and parents at the Museum. Billy Steers, author of Tractor Mac books was with us for an evening of doing doodling and reading a story from his first book that he wrote. Billy is from Roxbury, Connecticut.
August 16-19, 2012 – The Monsanto Mobile Experience 1000-square foot educational exhibit was set up in our parking lot during the American Thresherman Show across the street. Videos, displays and interactive kiosks provide an intriguing look into the vital role America’s farmers play in producing food, fuel and clothing for our growing world.
August 16, 2012 – U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) awarded the Illinois Rural Heritage Museum a $25,000 Community Facility Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development. The funds will be used to purchase furniture and equipment for the Museum.
October 7, 2012 – The Foundation for Pinckneyville and the IRHM are co-sponsoring an exhibit of the historic Pinckneyville paintings of the late Nevins Ware during the month of October. An open house and tribute to Nevins Ware was held at the Museum October 7th, from 1 to 3 pm. Mr. Ware’s son, Bill and other family members were present.