A historical collection of pest management, pesticide safety, and other disciplines of the early agricultural experiment station in Virginia. A valuable resource for education and preservation of history.
Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1886, the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station was located on the 283 acre campus of the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (VAMC) (later named Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI), and today - Virginia Tech).
Established in 1914, Cooperative Extension was designed as a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the land-grant universities, which were authorized by the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. States have enabled local governments or organized groups in the nation's counties to become a third legal partner in this education endeavor. The congressional charge to Cooperative Extension through the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 is far ranging. Today, this educational system includes professionals in each of America's 1862 land-grant universities (in the 50 States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Marianas, American Samoa, Micronesia, and the District of Columbia) and in the Tuskegee University and sixteen 1890 land-grant universities.
This gallery is dedicated to pioneers of the early agricultural experiment station in Virginia. Much of it currently focuses on those who worked with pest management, because we started with disciplines associated with our own department. Therefore, it is not a comprehensive record. This will change as new information is processed from the archives. Many of these individuals were responsible for saving a fledgling American agricultural industry during the Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1914).
This gallery is dedicated to pesticide safety programs and education. The history of this discipline encompasses the work of the Extension Service with records of early training media dating to the 1950's. The establishment of the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators in 1993 was a significant event in this historical record.
This gallery is the largest collection in the museum. It includes records dating back over one hundred years. Displays include historical records of pesticide chemistry, application equipment, personal protective equipment, alternative pest control methods (including early records of integrated pest management (IPM), and container and sprayer technology.
In the United States pest and pesticides were regulated as early as the late 19th century. Similar laws were passed in Canada and Europe. This gallery documents some of these laws.
Professor William Bradford Alwood was an early pioneer of pest management and fruit culture. He was referred to by his peers during his era as "father of Virginia horticulture," "savior of the Virginia fruit industry," and a worldwide expert in pomology, viticulture, enology, and pest management. Professor Alwood started the Virginia State Horticultural Society in 1894 with the growers of Albemarle County, and provided guidance to that organization's success throughout his lifetime. His contributions to viticulture and enology were not only felt worldwide, but he was a key figure in Virginia wine production prior to Prohibition. His research established that American wines, and particularly the Norton variety, were competitive on a world market. Today the Norton grape is making a comeback in Virginia. It was Professor Alwood's research that established Norton as a very special and productive variety unique to Virginia. At Virginia Tech he is regarded as the father of our horticulture and pest management disciplines and as one of the University's greatest scientists. On October 14, 2011, Virginia Tech dedicated the bur oak on the drill field in front of Burruss Hall to Professor Alwood. On that date we initiated an effort to build the "Alwood Plaza," a memorial to Professor Alwood, the agricultural experiment station, the tree, and life at VPI during the Alwood era. Having reached that goal we are now seeking $50,000 to endow a student scholarship and to continue with our efforts to preserve the Alwood legacy.
Part of our teaching of entomology involves the use of live arthropods. Virginia Tech Entomology has maintained a live collection off and on for years. When the Hokie BugFest was started in 2011, the live collection was revived in a big way. The live arthropod specimens are the heart of the event - an event that has attracted over 22,000 youth and adults in its first five years. To support this and other outreach and teaching activities a live collection is highly important. It is our desire to provide use of the collection year around. A VIVARIUM is needed to open this collection to wider use.