Where History Comes Alive
You may be wondering why this exhibit is named the Grain Academy. The original Grain Academy was a museum of its own located in the Round-Up Centre on the Stampede Grounds in Calgary. Its origin was in the 1980's and was intended to be a facility where the public could learn about grain and grain handling in western Canada. Around 2018, the Stampede was undergoing major renovations to the Round-Up Centre and the Grain Academy was slated for closure.
Enter, Pioneer Acres. We had 6,000 square feet of indoor heated space that was available as our own exhibits were being changed. It was a perfect fit for the Grain Academy. Most of the existing artifacts were moved to our grounds in 2019, some were re-purposed, and we added some of our own. We hope you enjoy the newly re-established Grain Academy.
Grain growing starts with crop selection. We have a number of exhibits with the various seeds and grains that can be grown in Western Canada. There is a crop duster that kids can climb in and imagine they are looking down on the grain fields. Tours can be arranged where kids can plant seeds in a cupful of dirt to take home and watch them grow.
For something unexpected, we have a nice collection of water-color paintings from the early 1900's that depict the various weeds that could be encountered in Alberta. If you think about it, many of the farmers in that era were new to Western Canada and were not familiar with the local flora. Having a thorough knowledge of weeds, in addition to knowing the grains, was important to running a successful farm.
Much of the Grain Academy is devoted to harvesting and handling of grain. We have a three-metre tall fully working model that shows the inside of one of the grain elevators that dotted the prairie landscape 50 years ago. Almost all of the old wooden elevators are gone, but even the big concrete ones work in much the same way. Our tour guides will be happy to give you a demonstration showing how grain comes in on a truck, gets transfered to the elevator, and is loaded onto a rail car.
Not to be missed is our model railroad. This is a fascinating display that shows a small town with a nearby farm where grain is being harvested. Scenes show trucks bringing grain to the elevators in town, which is then loaded on rail cars to be shipped to the coast. The huge concrete elevators at the port in Vancouver are modelled in exceptional detail. There are cars on roads, and a port waiting for a ship be loaded transporting Canadian grain to destinations across the oceans.
Canadian Farmers Feed the World.