The Naperville Heritage Society acquired the 1912 Wood Brothers grain thresher from the Wheatland Plowing Match Association in 2014, upon its disbanding after 137 years. The thresher was collectively owned and operated by Naperville area farmers including the Hageman and Erb families during a time when agriculture dominated the landscape.
The Naperville Heritage Society, administrator of Naper Settlement, was among the recipients of the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2016 Museums for America award. The museum was awarded a $72,209 grant, which will enable Naper Settlement’s staff to engage the services of professional conservators who will clean, stabilize and conserve the 1912 grain thresher. For this year’s grant cycle, the IMLS received 548 applications with 206 grants being awarded.
On Oct. 7, 2016, the grain thresher was moved from a Naperville farm, located at 104th and Book Road, to Mount Carroll, IL to begin the conservation treatment process. The thresher will be the centerpiece of an exhibit in the museum’s new Agricultural Interpretive Center, which is currently under development. Additionally, Naper Settlement will hold a two-day field-study workshop for emerging museum professionals in collections care and conservation of macro artifacts after the conservation is completed in Mt. Carroll.
“Conservation of this locally significant and highly historically valued agricultural artifact will meet the museum’s strategic priority of providing exhibitions and interactive learning experiences that allow visitors to connect with the area’s agrarian history in the context of the nation’s development,” said Louise Howard, Chief Curator and Project Director for thresher conservation project and workshop.
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