A recent meeting of well-known collectors of Massey-Harris tractors and memorabilia confirmed that the province's collecting community is optimistic about the future of the Ontario Agricultural Museum in Milton.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs recently announced the closure of the well-known museum. It will face a 50% budget reduction in its 1996-97 fiscal year, and provincial funding will cease on March 31, 1997. Since this announcement was made, supporters of the museums have formed Ontario's Rural Heritage Preservation Committee, with the stated purpose of 'preserving the artifacts, archives, buildings and site of the Ontario Agricultural Museum.'
Prior to the Province's decision to close the museum, staff had begun planning a major celebration in honour of the 150th anniversary of Canada's best-known farm machinery manufacturer, Massey-Harris (more recently known as Massey-Ferguson) in 1997. The Milton museum had been selected by an international Massey-Harris-Ferguson enthusiasts' organization as one of two North American sites to 'officially' recognize this milestone in agricultural history. A planning committee of collectors from across Ontario had been formed, but their inaugural meeting was canceled.
The hard work of Ontario's Rural Heritage Preservation Committee has impressed the members of the 150th Anniversary Committee, and they met recently to consider the future of their project. The result was their unanimous decision to begin the planning process for what promises to be an exciting four day event in July of 1997. 'An important milestone like this will happen only once in our lifetime,' stated committee member Ken Reichert of Ilderton, Ontario.
The 150th anniversary celebration is scheduled for July 17-20, 1997 as apart of the museum's annual Great Canadian Antique Tractor Field Days. It will feature scores of antique tractors, engines, implements, literature and memorabilia made over the years by Massey-Harris and related companies, including Sawyer-Massey, Harry Ferguson Inc. and Massey-Ferguson. The museum's own extensive collection of related artifacts will also be showcased. The committee plans many activities sure to appeal to collectors and families alike.
For further information contact: Mr. Peter Led with, P.O. Box 38, Milton, Ontario, Canada L9T 2Y3 or days: 905-878-8151 (voice)/905-876-4530 (fax). Evenings: 519-856-4110 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.