The Museum of Ventura County's Agriculture Museum opened in Santa Paula on Sunday, September 25, 2011. The realization of more than 40 years of effort and dedication by supporters, the Agriculture Museum is housed in the landmark restored Mill building, at 926 Railroad Avenue, beside the railroad tracks and across from the depot in Santa Paula. The Mill was built in 1888 as an agricultural warehouse, and later served as a feed and grain outlet and an antiques mall.
The Agriculture Museum is operated as a satellite of the Museum of Ventura County, located in Downtown Ventura. Museum members will have membership privileges at both facilities.
The 12,000-square-foot building is owned by the Ventura County Transportation Commission, which invested $1.86 million in renovations to bring it up to code. The Museum of Ventura County has a 99-year lease to occupy the building at $1 a year. The museum is financially responsible for tenant improvements and all operating and maintenance costs.
The Agriculture Museum focuses exclusively on the county’s agricultural heritage, telling the story of local farming and ranching from the Mission period to the present and beyond.
The heart of the Agriculture Museum’s collection is a remarkable assemblage of vintage farm equipment and tools amassed over the years by a group of longtime county residents, led by Oxnard farmer Bob Pfeiler. The collection includes tractors, blacksmith anvils, plows, grain drills, bean threshers, orchard wind machines and hand-operated nut hullers. In addition, the museum owns an impressive collection of clothing, periodicals, photographs and other unique artifacts. Containing nearly 1,000 items, the museum’s farm collection is one of the most extensive in the state and ranks as an important national collection. There's also a live indoor honeybee exhibit that is mesmerizing to watch for kids and adults alike!
The museum features both permanent and changing exhibits. Permanent exhibits will focus on broad thematic areas relevant to agriculture, including history, geography, technology, water, labor, economics, and the mechanics of farming. The exhibits will describe how Ventura County’s agricultural roots have shaped the region, describe the role agriculture continues to play in the economy, landscape and culture of the county, and examine the issues and forces that will shape the industry’s future. Many of the exhibits will be interactive, and will incorporate state-of-the-art technology.
General public admission to the Agriculture Museum is $4 adults, $3 seniors, $1 children 6-17, and children under 6 free. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ADMISSION FREE on FIRST SUNDAYS of the month. (Updated Febrary 2013)