Latest News

Heartland Acres Observes Veterans Day

1926 Singer sewing machine used during World War ll to sew canvas for tents, hammocks and other related items. This machine was used by ladies in Independence to help in the war effort. This is a recent addition to “Ag in the Military Display”.

Tuesday, November 11 is Veterans Day. To honor and say thank you to all retired and current US Military members, Heartland Acres is offering half price admission to the museum for the month of November.  Military ID required.

According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs website the origin of Veterans Day began in 1921.  An unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery and similar ceremonies occurred in England and France.  These memorials took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the end of World War I.  Fighting ended at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day was known as “Armistice Day” and is now called Veterans Day.

Members of our armed forces throughout time and all over the globe work to insure our freedoms and our safety. Heartland Acres wishes to honor all who have served or are currently serving in our military by offering half price admission to the museum throughout the month of November. “This is a small token of our appreciation for the commitments and sacrifices made by members of our military to help keep us safe.” commented Brian Bell, Event Manager at Heartland Acres.

“Ag in the Military Display” remains on exhibit due to its popularity and is a cornerstone exhibit for Heartland Acres.

For hours of operation and more information about Heartland Acres check us out at or call 319.332.0123.

For more information about Heartland Acres please call (319) 332.0123 or find us on Facebook.

Bloom Elevator Receives New Life at Heartland Acres

Jerry Shaffer is seen in the middle of his care and restoration project on a recently donated Bloom Manufacturing elevator. Jerry has been with Heartland Acres for 7 years. At 80 years young, Jerry knows this type of equipment and in some cases used it back in the day.

Bloom Manufacturing, located west of Independence has evolved over the years and has manufactured items for the needs of a changing economy and customer base.  The origins of the company date back to the early 1900’s.

Early days of the company were focused on design and manufacture of grain elevators, corn cutters, and grain augers.  The items were well known throughout the area for being reliable, efficient and affordable.  Some of the equipment is still seen today in farming operations in Amish communities.

Heartland Acres received a donation of a Bloom Manufacturing elevator from Mike Sindt in Charles City.  The elevator sat outside for many years and was deteriorating.  Mike thought of Heartland Acres as great place to display the item for others to see.  The elevator is being cleaned up, sealed with some linseed oil and having minor repairs so the gears will turn again and will then be displayed.  The elevator may end up with a small gas or electrical motor mounted to it which would have been the preferred method of powering the elevator back in the day.

This and many other items are on display at Heartland Acres to tell the story of our local manufacturing and agricultural economy.

For more information about Heartland Acres please call (319) 332.0123 or find us on Facebook.

Working exhibits at Heartland Acres – Barn Quilt program continues

Members of the J. Wayne Crawford family inspect the progress of their barn quilt in honor of their parents. Left to Right: John Crawford, Rose Grover, Larry Crawford, and Roxanne Fuller – Executive Director - Buchanan County Extension and outreach

To honor their parents, the children of the J. Wayne Crawford family recently purchased a barn quilt from Buchanan County Extension and Outreach.  The barn quilt is 8’x8’ with a color scheme representative of their fathers’ favorite tractor, a 1937 Oliver, Row Crop 70 currently on exhibit at Heartland Acres.

The Crawford family barn quilt is unique as it will include a hand painted Oliver – Row Crop 70 tractor in the middle of the colorful shapes traditionally represented on barn quilts.  Buchanan County Extension and Outreach has taken the lead on the Buchanan County Barn Quilt revitalization program and is actively involved in the build, preparation and painting of the barn quilts purchased.  Roxanne Fuller has worked on the quilt for the last month and stated, “Each barn quilt represents the design wishes of the purchaser and involves several steps in making the barn quilt attractive and of a quality capable of standing up to the elements.”

For more information about the barn quilt program please stop out to Heartland Acres and visit the Buchanan County Extension and Outreach office or give Extension a call at 319.334.7161.  Heartland Acres is excited to be part of the barn quilt revitalization program and have it as part of our ongoing working exhibits located in center court of the museum.

For more information about Heartland Acres please call (319) 332.0123 or find us on Facebook.

Heartland Acres Planning Meeting Updates

Standing left to right: Roxanne Fuller, Buchanan County Extension and Outreach Executive Director; Craig Johnson, Heartland Acres - Executive Director; Leann Harrison, President - Buchanan County Historical Society. Seated left to right: Alexia Hamlett, Buchanan County Extension 4-HYouth Coordinator; Rachael Emig, Independence FFA - Advisor

Representatives from Buchanan County ISU Extension and Outreach, Independence FFA, Buchanan County Historical Society and Heartland Acres met at the Heartland Acres museum to discuss ways to build programs and activities with local youth. The opportunity to talk about this developed from a recent visit by representatives from Omega Institute in Austin, Texas.

The meeting brought out several ideas of how the Heartland Acres campus could best serve educators and students in the learning process by using existing museum displays and exhibits as a way to gain knowledge in a hands-on environment. The museum has several established educational exhibits which visitors use to learn about agricultural innovation. To build on current themes and utilize a broader base of knowledge and learning disciplines, the group hopes to include educators and students in developing additional learning tools which can be incorporated into existing and future displays at the museum. “Working to learn and learning to work is a very important step in the education process and is exactly what we hope to accomplish with our partners for the benefit of our visitors”, commented Craig Johnson, Executive Director.

The planning meeting also inspired the group to identify three basic goals of using Heartland Acres as a learning laboratory for students and visitors:

1) Build domestic and international business knowledge with an agricultural emphasis

2) Develop entrepreneurial challenges

3) Facilitate educational growth.

These goals are in the beginning stages of a working and ongoing process to help students and visitors to Heartland Acres get the most from their learning experience.

For more information about Heartland Acres please call (319) 332.0123 or find us on Facebook.

Heartland Acres Schoolmarm Gets New Dress

Denny Vance, from Independence, stands by our schoolmarm in her new dress in front of the one room school house at Heartland Acres

Denny Vance recently stopped by Heartland Acres and noticed our schoolmarm was in need of fresh coat of stain.  He approached us and offered to do the work.  The wood sculpture is special to Denny as he created her almost seven years ago.

When Heartland Acres first opened in 2007, Denny was identified as someone who could bring some character to our campus.  Denny is skilled at caving wood and he didn’t let us down with his creation.   The schoolmarm is made of white oak which stands up well in the elements, is structurally stable and offers a beautiful grain. The wood does require periodic care.

Instead of sealing the sculpture with a transparent sealer as we have done over the past few years, Denny used his eye for color and simple sophistication to update our schoolmarm.  She will greet visitors at the front of the one room school house in her new colors.   It is support from Denny and many others that help sustain us and add to the ongoing story of our agricultural heritage found at Heartland Acres.

For more information about Heartland Acres please call (319) 332.0123 or find us on Facebook.