By: Jordan Williamson
As a high school teacher in Lubbock ISD, one of my goals is to have my students see themselves reflected in the little world that is my classroom. I hope they see their passions lying between lines of literature I select, their input from class discussions coloring my whiteboard, and their posters and projects decorating the walls. Who they are and what they have to share changes the landscape of my classroom, and thanks to Lubbock facilities like the FiberMax Center for Discovery, previously called the Bayer Museum of Agriculture, students’ ideas are changing the landscape of their community, too.
Among many new exhibits at the FiberMax Center for Discovery is one that focuses on women in agriculture–a project initiated by the work of students at the local school where I have the privilege of teaching, Margaret Talkington School for Young Women Leaders. The center partnered with the all-girl group to make their vision for empowering women in agriculture come to life in an interactive, video-based exhibit that directly reflects the students’ ideas and the center’s commitment to innovation and community involvement. Innovation, therefore, is being both displayed and demonstrated at the ever-advancing FiberMax Center for Discovery. Planted adjacent to Mackenzie Park, the venue has been making numerous improvements like the one inspired by students that locals and visitors alike won’t want to miss.
When driving onto the nearly 25-acre property, visitors are saluted by a line of antique tractors and wide-open land that make it difficult to believe the facility is only minutes from the rest of exciting downtown Lubbock. Not only is the center easily accessible, but it also makes agricultural history and scientific processes easy to access, too. The museum was founded as a spot to display authentic artifacts like tractors and other farming equipment, but it has expanded into what is now four distinct exhibits: the Central Exhibit Hall, the Alton Brazell Museum, the 1925 Underwood Pullman Train Car, and the Ropesville Project House. Truly a blend of then and now, visitors can come face-to-face with historical agricultural artifacts brought to life through interactive displays, videos, flip panels, and even an option for an iPad-guided tour. Designed both for experts and new learners of agriculture, the venue offers something for everyone. Among the most charming exhibits are the holographic blacksmith who shows off his tools and a model Cyrus McCormick who explains the invention of the reaper through his animatronic mouth.
Additionally, the FiberMax Center for Discovery actively looks for ways to integrate the community of Lubbock into their program beyond museum tours. Family nights are offered on the first Tuesday of every month from 5:30-7:30 PM free of charge. A different hands-on activity is offered every month as well as door prizes and refreshments. Check out the following upcoming dates to mark your calendar:
- July 5th
- August 2nd
- September 6th
To contribute to the continuation of the FiberMax Center for Discovery’s work in agricultural history and education, consider donating to their newest cutting-edge development: the Ag Literacy Wing for Children. Director Lacee Hoelting, along with her team, has a vision for this expansion to include immersive exhibits that teach kids everything from the crop cycle to what it is really like inside of a veterinarian’s office. This expansion is one to watch.
To reach out to the center about donations, volunteer opportunities, or questions, call (806)239-5796. You can also keep up-to-date by following them on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter by searching “FiberMax Center for Discovery.” The best way to get involved, though, is to come out to 1121 Canyon Lake Drive in Mackenzie Park to see the innovations happening at the FiberMax Center for Discovery and discover pieces of the Lubbock community–and maybe even reflections of yourself.
Ms. Williamson is a high school English teacher and served the Lubbock Cultural Arts Foundation as an Extern – learning about the arts and culture of Lubbock and taking vital knowledge back to her classroom at the Talkington School for Young Women Leaders.