CURRENT HOURS: Closed for touring until May • Open for special programs by reservation

Emeritus Board Member Profile

Barbara Lykins, Director, Community Resources,
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF)

Barb Lykins photo1. Tell us about your service on the Living History Farms Foundation Board. What drew you to volunteer in this position?
I served on the LHF board in the early 2000’s as the organization was going through change and growth. The board sought to make the Farms the best organization possible for history and agricultural education and it was a pleasure to serve and be a part of those efforts that continue today. I had been familiar with the Farms throughout my career at IFBF and I was acquainted with Bill & Alice Murray and through them I gained a sense of the passion and enthusiasm that Dr. Murray had as he envisioned and ultimately launched the Farms. I enjoyed volunteering to help with the exhibits and was involved in a modern agriculture display that was in the former Henry Wallace crop center building.

2. How do you feel Living History Farms uniquely serves the community and Iowa?
To me the success of the Farms is the hands on learning aspect that the visitor can experience. To be immersed in chores on the 1900’s farm, walk through the crops that are raised in the tradition of the Ioway Indians and feel the heat at the blacksmith shop at Walnut Hill all insure that there is ongoing relevant understanding of what life was like for our ancestors. That sense of place and time helps us get a bit closer to the agrarian roots of our state. What a treasure it is to have this award winning historic museum in Iowa and available for U.S. and International visitors  to enjoy.

3. Why do you continue to support Living History Farms?
Several years ago I took a “back of the house” tour of Living History Farms. I learned how careful repairs were made on equipment that was very old, how fragile quilts were stored to retain their beauty and what it took to keep the buildings in good shape to be enjoyed for years to come.  It was clear to me from that tour that ongoing fundraising was essential, not only for the programs that were so visible but just to maintain the authentic experience for each visitor. It takes grants, donations and community support to sustain Living History Farms, it’s been my honor to do what I can to connect the farms to resources that will help sustain and grow the organization for generations to follow.

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