The Traer Historical Museum will be hosting the grand opening of its new exhibit 'The Man in the Field with His Coat Off: The Story of James "Tama Jim" Wilson' on Saturday, July 20, at 10:30 a.m. at the museum. Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony will be U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. The ceremony and exhibit viewing will be followed with a lunch provided by the courtesy of the Tama County Cattlemen's Association and the Tama County Pork Producers
To honor Traer's most notable citizen "Tama Jim" Wilson, whose cabinet experience as the fourth U.S. Secretary of Agriculture spanned sixteen years (1897-1913), the Traer Historical Museum has developed an informative exhibit detailing Wilson's accomplishments and his impact on both farming and the United States Department of Agriculture. Wilson's vision of partnering science with farming revolutionized agriculture, and under his guidance the USDA grew by leaps and bounds, becoming one of the most important federal departments.
Always devoted to "the man in the field with his coat off," Wilson's numerous endeavors on behalf of the American farmer left a lasting imprint on an important chapter in our country's history. One hundred years since he left office in 1913, he remains the longest tenured United States cabinet member having served four terms under three different presidents - McKinley, T. Roosevelt and Taft. The exhibit highlights Tama Jim's lasting contributions to America's welfare.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Born in Scotland, Wilson was the oldest of 14 children who moved with their parents to northern Tama County and settled on land near Traer. In time, he established his own farmstead and was quite successful. His neighbors acknowledged his success by electing him to the board of supervisors and later to the Iowa Legislature. Wilson served three legislative terms and was Speaker of the House during his last term. He then served three terms in the United States Congress. An appointment as professor of agriculture and director of the experiment station at Iowa Agricultural College followed. His accomplishments in that position led to his appointment by President McKinley to United States Secretary of Agriculture.
Committed to bettering the status of the American farmer, Wilson's leadership transformed the Department of Agriculture from a subject of ridicule to the greatest research institution in the world intent on modernizing agriculture through science combined with the practical application of farming "by the man in the field with his coat off."
Funding for the exhibit has been provided by the Tama County Community Foundation, Black Hawk County Gaming Association and private donors.
To learn more about the exhibit or the event, please contact:
Telephone: (319) 478-8158 or (319) 404-1845
The Traer Historical Museum, located at 514 Second Street, Traer, Iowa is a non-profit, volunteer organization. Its purpose is to collect, preserve and display items of historical and cultural interest which tell the story of Traer and northern Tama County from settlement to the present.