Did you guess our location from my pictures yesterday?
Place at a Glance
|Name/Location||Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum in Lincoln (UNL East Campus)|
|Website/Facebook||UNL Tractor Museum; Larsen Tractor Museum on Facebook|
|Open hours||Tuesday-Friday from 9 to 4; Saturdays from 10-2; closed major holidays|
|What to Know||Mostly stroller accessible – (stairs to get inside but could use alt. entrance?)|
|Parking||Lot directly north of the white museum building|
|Group Tours||Can definitely happen; smaller groups may work better|
|Museum Manners||Do not climb on any tractors without permission (different guides have different expectations); no running as cement floors can be slippery|
|Recommended Ages||About age 2 + to be able to sit on the tractors and really enjoy the fun|
One of the older tractors in the Museum. Not exactly the same Ford Motor Company, but somebody happily borrowed the name. Then produced some shoddy tractors.
A little history … the word “tractor” was not used in the general population until around 1906. Around this time, they were being introduced to farmers and would have been widely successful. Except for the fact that the machines broke down … A LOT! A man named Wilmot Crozier had personal experience with this, so when he was elected to the Nebraska Legislature, he helped to pass the the Nebraska Tractor Bill. This law required every tractor to be tested before being sold to the public.
This law was extended to other states. In just under a century, 2,000 + tractors have been tested at the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory. As this is the only test spot in the continental U.S., all tractor models must come here before they go to market. This testing is usually done, partially by agricultural students, in the fall and winter. The Tractor Museum Visitor’s Guide gives more details on the history and background of the tractor testing.
The tractor test track is in the background. Since the 0.4 mile track was not being used, the museum guys encouraged the kids to run the distance instead. I probably looked silly, but I jogged right along with them. :-)
Although the museum part has been open for 15 years, the place was not exactly on my radar until I had boys. We have now visited many times, and something about climbing on tractors never gets old for them.
The huge room is filled with mostly tractors of every shape, color and size. Some are easier to climb on and a few are more for just looking and enjoying.
One of the few non-tractor machines. A college professor used to drive this beauty daily to work. And this car is only for looking, not for getting inside!
One of my favorite thing about this museum is the retired gentlemen who give the tours. My grandpa was a farmer, and as many of the guides are retired from farming in some way, these men remind me of conversations I had with my Grandpa Gus. This gentleman had lived on a farm in his younger days, so he was telling my older boys all about his experiences driving these tractors when he was growing up.
My daughter enjoyed the experience just as much as her brothers!
This is the tractor that the kids are always free to climb in and “drive.”
The room full of old-fashioned farming implements. We will be exploring this sometime during the school year when we are studying pioneers.
P.S. For whatever reason, trying to find the exact location of the museum on UNL East Campus was a bit confusing to me as the white building is not directly on a main road. Until I realized that the vertical stack is nearby. Now I look for this every time and drive right there!
The building directly behind the museum to the north.