Latest articles


This place is a sty

It may look like an unassuming haystack, but this pioneer photo reveals an early livestock shelter

Looking through photographs recently donated to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum, the interpretation committee became interested in a photograph of a straw stack. This photo appears to be fairly old, probably pre-First World War so it was taken at a time when photos were expensive which led to the question, why would the photographer have taken […] Read more


The plank drag was an effective field tool in its day

The goal was a smooth field that would allow easy operation of horse-drawn implements

In the recent Manitoba Agricultural Museum article on the practice of backsetting, which was sometimes carried out when breaking virgin sod, the use of a plank drag in subsequent field operations was mentioned. A plank drag was somewhat more complicated than merely dragging a plank across the field and so deserves some further explanation. Seager […] Read more



Backsetting revisited

The ‘Wheat Wizard of Rosthern’ wrote about this pioneer practice in detail

In 2018, the Manitoba Agricultural Museum wrote on the backsetting method of breaking virgin sod. A reader, Mr. Bollman, contacted us to inform the museum that there is more information on backsetting in the book Profitable Grain Growing, written in 1919 by Seager Wheeler, a noted agronomist and grain grower of the time, known as […] Read more


An 1890’s Sawyer Massey threshing outfit

A photo of one of the earlier Manitoba threshing operations taken just years after the land was put to the plow

Recently the Manitoba Agricultural Museum was the recipient of a collection of agricultural photos collected over the years. The donor of the photos wishes to remain anonymous at this time. Unfortunately the photographs had no further information with them. Many photos taken of pioneer agricultural activities have information written on the photos containing such information […] Read more



The Ben Dickson threshing gang 1910

This photo reveals a young workforce, some dressed in their Sunday best for the rarity of appearing in a photograph

The Dickson-Henderson family of Boissevain graciously donated to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum a number of photographs taken on their farms near Boissevain. One photo is a group portrait of the Dickson threshing gang taken in 1910. The photo was taken by Osborne Photo which appears to have been a professional photographer active in the Boissevain […] Read more


Uncovering ‘backsetting’

This lost agricultural practice was key to breaking the prairie to the plow

In a number of accounts of homesteading there is mention of the practice of backsetting which was carried out when breaking sod. Just what backsetting actually involved was unknown to the interpretation committee at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum (MAM) until the committee obtained a book on the history of the Red River Valley. The book […] Read more



The Maple Leaf Flour Mill in Brandon

There were many early mills in Manitoba, but they didn’t last

One of the photos in the Manitoba Agricultural Museum’s photo collection is a 1912 view of Pacific Avenue in Brandon, looking to the east. It appears to have been taken off the roof of the International Harvester Corporation (IHC) warehouse which still stands at the northeast quadrant of the intersection of 18th Street and Pacific […] Read more


The Great North West Central Railway

This colonization railway has a colourful history but is all but forgotten today

In the early 1880s, the Government of Canada put in place a policy of granting land subsidies to small railway companies in the hope these companies would build rail lines into areas of the Prairies distant from the Canadian Pacific main line and so open these areas to homesteaders. One of these so-called “colonization” railways […] Read more



Brandon CPR yard a snapshot of history

Close examination of this photo reveals much of early life in the Wheat City

In the photo collection of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum there are several photos of the CPR’s Brandon rail yards taken around 1912. The photo of the Brandon yard you see here appears to have been taken off the First Street Bridge looking to the west. On the left side of the photo, the first building […] Read more


The Peter and Duncan Henderson outfit

These early Boissevain-area settlers were noted threshermen of their day

While the image you see above is not of the best quality, it is worthy of an article, as it was taken sometime around 1890 and shows a Cornell portable steam engine powering a “Wide Awake” separator. The outfit belonged to Duncan and Peter Henderson who were early settlers in the Boissevain area. Peter Henderson […] Read more