Main Exhibit Building
America's Crop - Cotton
Did you know that cotton yields 215 pairs of blue jeans? The story told shows how cotton money filtered throughout America's economy in the 1840s and beyond. The exchange of cotton between the United States and Britain was an exchange of cotton goods and money that reached the rest of the world.
Premechanized Cotton Production
This display shows farming implements used in cotton production and cotton plants at different stages of production including land preparation, planting and caring for the crop until harvest.
Cotton Moves West
Railroads and steamboats move America's crop throughout the country for export and production in the United States. Historic engravings and photographs show how America prospered in the 1800s from cotton's economic impact on the United States.
Strings strung on the Diddley bow and other musical instruments allow visitors to pluck and strum along with the blues music to compare sounds. Famous bluesmen play and sing songs on the old Wurlitzer for entertainment.
Wooden Cotton Gin Stand
The 200-year-old wooden cotton gin is the same style of the Eli Whitney Eagle Gin which changed the ginning of cotton for the textile industry and other uses of cotton for the United States economy. The 1790s sawtooth gin technology was a pivotal event in United States history. Within a generation, cotton became the nation's number one export, contributing to the growth of shipping in New York City and New Orleans, textile manufacturing in New England and westward expansion into the Mississippi River valley.
Boll Weevil exhibit
Crop dusting, county agents, Seaman Knapp and the elimination of the boll weevil in cotton production in the early 1920s brought pesticide research to the forefront of American agriculture. The State of Louisiana is still working to eliminate the boll weevil.
Mechanical Tractor-Mounted Cotton Picker exhibit
In 1946, International introduced the mechanical cotton picker tractor attachment. The tractor was run in reverse making the one row picker a major agricultural economic introduction in the farming operation of American farm management. Farming became completely mechanized with the introduction of the cotton picker.
The Story of Cotton depicts nature's gift from the times of Columbus through the Civil War and finally to the production of cotton by today's farmer.
The Homer Gin represents the technology and work conditions experienced by the last generation to know the dominance of the cotton industry in their lives. In the 1920s, cotton gins were distributed across north Louisiana serving an economic need as well as being the center of community activity during the harvest season.
The Hood Family farmhouse, circa 1900s, reflects the early days of a family home. The original plan was arranged with a central parlor between two separate single rooms. The front porch was a social gathering place for family and friends. A Civil War exhibit is displayed in the front parlor telling the story of northeast Louisiana Confederate soldiers and the battles fought with Union troops in the area.
Small churches were often built on plantations for the use of the families that lived there. In north Louisiana cotton country, these were generally Protestant churches. Since the congregation did not own the land, burial grounds were not attached.
For several generations, a large part of Louisiana's population lived in houses such as this whether they were sharecroppers, tenants or even landowners. Blacks and whites alike who escaped the poverty associated with this type of housing often have childhood memories of close families, hard work and the perception that their lifestyle was universal.
This cabin, built in the late 1800s, was originally located on Mound Plantation in Madison Parish.
The farm commissary was the center of the sharecropping system that lasted from the 1870s until the mechanization of cotton farming. Families living on the "place" received their annual "furnish" of farm supplies as well as household necessities from the commissary during the year. The families paid for these supplies after the harvest with their share of the cotton crop.
This commissary supplied necessities such as flour, meal, sugar, lard, tobacco, salt-cured meat, soap, coal oil, bolts of cloth and a limited amount of hard candy and canned goods for the 20 families of the "place." It was smaller than a general store which had a larger selection of supplies to offer. The commissary was relocated from The Company Farm located 15 miles south of Delhi, La. in Franklin Parish.
The outhouse, or privy, was the outdoor toilet as indoor plumbing was not feasible. This outhouse is a replica.
Simple hand pumps, called pitcher pumps, efficiently raised water for a household when water was as close to the surface as it is here in the Mississippi River Delta. They are mounted atop a pipe that is driven into the ground until it reaches the aquifer, or layer of soil that holds the ground water.
The cistern was hand-dug for household water needs of the planter's house. The wooden cover had a small opening for dropping a bucket on a rope to retrieve water.
Gailliard Gin Office
Many gins had a separate building such as this for weighing and record keeping. At this office, each farmer's empty wagon was weighed upon entry. Besides the scales and all the records, this office held the farmer's bale samples after the balers were sent to the compress and warehoused.
The gin office was relocated from Gailliard Gin in East Carroll Parish.
Before the 1960s, many farmers were using mules to farm their land. The pole barn has all the pieces of mule equipment needed to prepare the land, plant and cultivate the cotton crop. There is also equipment for harvesting hay. The wall exhibit has many of the hand tools needed by the farmer in caring for cotton and other uses for this equipment needed on the farm during the years prior to the mechanization of farming.
Home Contact News Exhibits Education Special Events Programs Support