The size of our scythes makes me sigh

We have been awarded a Legacy grant to purchase and install a new artifact storage system. I am beyond excited to have safe, orderly, archival storage to house the many treasures that have been entrusted to the Pope County Historical Society.

Proper storage is important to our mission. We want to collect stories of Pope County and artifacts to help illustrate those stories. We need to protect the artifacts and the stories for future generations, and we need to be able to share those stories and artifacts.

Our artifacts are critical to our mission.

But – we are blessed with an over abundance.

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Ole Jermstad used this scythe in Chippewa Falls in 1869.

Let me use a cradle scythe as an example. This strikingly beautiful tool was critical in the early years of Pope County when wheat was king. As the blade mowed the stalks of grain, the long fingers caught the stalks and laid them down in an orderly fashion. This made the threshing process much easier. It is an elegant and well balanced tool.

 

Is it important for us to have a cradle scythe in our collection? ABSOLUTELY!

We have 5. Yep 5. And that isn’t counting the plain scythes without the extra fingers to catch the stalks. These things are BIG. And dangerous with the long blade.

Storing and displaying the scythes is a challenge, to say the least.

Of the five in the collection, only two have stories. The one above and one that belonged to Reverend Quenemoen of Cyrus.

In preparation for our December open house, I have pulled the cradle scythes together to

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The other four cradle scythes.

show our members and supporters why I am in the process of refining the collection. I will recommend to our collection committee and board to deaccession (officially take out of the collection) three of the scythes and keep the two with the stories. If that is approved, the deaccessioned items will be offered to other museums. We usually try to contact the donor, but since the donors are unknown, we can’t do that in this case.

While removing artifacts from the collection is not something we take lightly, I think anyone who sees four duplicate cradle scythes and the space they take, will understand that refining the collection is necessary.
If you would like to come in and take a look at our cradle scythe collection or discuss the deaccession process, we are open from 10-5 Tuesday-Saturday.

Just don’t get me started on carpenter planes… or ox yokes…

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