The latest in a series of blog posts from our President, Dr. Debra Reid:
Tomorrow (June 29) I will present a paper on “working animals at living history farms” at the AIMA conference in Tartu, Estonia. This theme runs through several presentations. Today we heard a preliminary report on a survey of working animals in museums, presented by Pierre del Porto and Cozette Griffen-Kremer (2013 international fellow to ALHFAM) on results of a survey that the Federation of Agricultural Museums of France (AFMA) has conducted since May 2012. Pierre mentioned the ways that mad cow disease has made French consumers of meat more aware about the breeds and their purpose (as in beef or dairy).
My presentation will focus on animals as they work to become part of the food chain, a historic use for which farmers carefully tended their livestock over the centuries. The following image shows young and old alike awaiting a slice of suckling pig as part of a traditional midsummer eve celebration.
The event recognized the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Estonian Agricultural Museum and launched a conference on the topic of agricultural museums as tourist destinations. Many museums in Europe have become directly involved in educating the public about the sources of their food and the value of knowing about all steps in the food production process, including not just gardening and vegetables, but livestock as well.
The time seems ripe to discuss the rational for interpreting animals as part of the historic food chain, and the professional standards associated with such interpretation. Let the conversation begin.