Historic Farm Days
I&I Farm Museum
By Appointment Only
Jane Berbaum - 217-369-1945
Betty Bensyl - 217-493-3101
Over a period of several years, the Club had been accumulating farm related items ranging from hand tools to tractor drawn implements. Some items were direct donations, some on loan, and a few just appeared, a well meaning effort, but lacking an overall vision. When the museum was formally established in 2003, the museum volunteers faced the daunting task of identifying, cataloging, and interpreting the collection of donated, loaned, and borrowed items in the care of the Club. The museum occupies most of the old Penfield Grade School, with displays of small items in the second floor classrooms and larger items in the gymnasium and the first floor classrooms.
The I&I Women's Household display occupies two of those classrooms and showcases many of the latest home conveniences of the early twentieth century. Chapter 10 of the IH Collectors group occupies most of a third classroom with a recreation of 1950's era IHC parts counter, a gathering place for IH enthusiasts during the Historic Farm Days show in July each year. The remaining room is used for the Corn Items Collectors display during the summer show.
In the gym, larger machines are on display, including corn shellers, threshing machines, and of course the two tractors on loan from the Smithsonian, the world's oldest running gas engine tractor, the 1903 Hart-Parr, and the futuristic 1961 International Harvester HT-341 Turbine Tractor
To accommodate our less mobile visitors, a chairlift has been installed for easier access to the second floor museum space. The I&I Ladies Auxiliary generously provided the funds to purchase the chairlift.
Although not a part of the formal museum, the restored log cabin definitely adds to the grounds around the Penfield School building. Most of this cabin was recovered during the demolition of a house that had been built around it. The cabin has a place in history, being the site of an early post office in Champaign County. It has taken several years to recreate missing pieces and reassemble the cabin to represent it's original appearance. During the summer 2005 show, the club's sawmill supplied the rough lumber to complete the installation of cabin's floor. A little "window dressing" around the cabin gave a good feel of how the post office probably looked in it's day.
In 2016, a one-room schoolhouse was relocated from the Rantoul area to the Penfield grounds. It features a recreation of early rural education.