Charged with preserving the past, the Poplar Heights Farm staff has been offering a variety of historically themed programs over the years. With a grant from Missouri Humanities, PHF looked at World War II, Bates County the Home Front. The two part program in 2003 featured a Victory Garden Program at Poplar Heights Farm in July.
Visitors spent the day sampling Victory Garden produce, learning about soap making and home canning, reading soldiers letters to home, hearing from locals about life during the War and touring exhibits throughout the farm profiling local and national events from World War II.
Everything served was grown at PHF and canned by staff and volunteers. The west garden featured vegetables grown in the 1940’s
The Threshing Barn featured WWII farming displays and corn shellers let visitors try their hand at shelling. There were old farm tools, newspaper clippings about local farm items during the war and broom making equipment and broom corn.
Throughout the day there were programs on soap making and home canning during WWII and how it differed from home canning today.
Local farmers who served the Home Front effort were there to tell their stories of life during the war. Percheron draft horse “Markie” joined the program. Temperatures were in the upper 90’s and she enjoyed a shower bath given by visitors later that day.
Over 400 visitors all over enjoyed the day and took a step back in time. Kids heard from their grandparents just what the old days were really like during one of the darkest times in our country’s history. Everyone cried over letters written from the pacific to home. Area families generously shared their memorabilia from WWII for the day along with exhibits from Western Missouri Antique Tractor Association and the Bates County Museum.
The second part of the Home Front program was held in September at the Old Butler School Gym. A capacity crowd of over 1,000 poured over hundreds of memorabilia from the War, sampled foods, and danced to live music. Volunteers from Retired Teachers Association helped with registration, shared their stories of WWII, prepared food, and kept the huge crowds moving so everyone could see it all.
United States Congressman Ike Skelton and his staff made a special trip from Washington to tour the exhibits, give a short speech, and see first hand how effective humanities funding can be at a local level.
Visitors began arriving before the day-long exhibit opened and didn’t leave until the doors were locked. A slide show played on the stage during the event.