Museum Talk

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
A cotton sack hanging in the Buffalo Island Museum is a reminder of days gone by. (photo provided)

We often admire the dedication of our farmers as they work tirelessly through the night in the fields. On clear fall nights, many of us fall asleep to the familiar hum of the harvest just outside our windows. Modules, bales and various configurations of John Deere equipment are all regular and welcome sights across Buffalo Island. They are the iconic symbols of our livelihood.

Those icons, however, have changed over time. As much as the familiar green and yellow cotton picker represents the industry of today, the sack hanging from its well-worn stand is representative of the labors of yesterday.

Remembering the long days of harvest when every able body was expected in the fields, many of our older residents speak of these days with both nostalgia and weariness.

Visitors to the museum who lived through this time remember walking through the seemingly endless rows, dragging a massive sack like this one behind them. Boll by little boll, each person involved in the picking would fill his or her sack. Once the sack was filled, it had to be weighed before being sent off to the next stage of the process.

This weighing was done by hanging the sacks, brimming with freshly picked cotton, from a scale and stand such as the one on display at the Buffalo Island Museum. This little corner of the museum where the cotton sacks hang, not only honors the progress that farming has made over time, but also pays homage to the unwavering dedication of those who have been the backbone of our communities.

The Buffalo Island Museum is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free; donations are accepted.

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