The museum sheds light on the development of agriculture during the initial years of the republic. There are examples of bullock carts and the first Turkish-made tractor in the museum.
The Agriculture Museum was established to promote the Higher Agriculture Institute, and many of the objects in the museum belong to its students and teachers. It is possible to observe the evolution of the Higher Agriculture Institute, which was established by an order from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the nation’s founder.
Servet Sarıaslan, director of the Agriculture Museum, was the founder of the museum. Speaking to Sunday’s Zaman, she said she went to great efforts to establish the museum. Sarıaslan noted that due to lack of access to course materials, students of the Higher Agriculture Institute kept insects and plants they found during their internships in homemade wooden or glass boxes. She said the objects and tools in the museum were cleaned before they were put on display.
It is possible to touch every object in the museum
During a museum tour, Sarıaslan pointed out a display that shows the stages of cotton production from a cottonseed to cotton clothes. This display possibly served as course material for the students at a time when there was no Internet access. “If you want, you can touch the samples of cotton,” said Sarıaslan, adding that it is possible to touch everything on display in the museum, which she said aims to capture the interest of children for agriculture.
Seed sifting machine brought from the US
Sarıaslan said it is possible to see the challenges Turkish agriculture and agricultural education went through during a tour of the museum, showing a simple seed-sifting machine that was brought from the United States.
“This machine was brought for his students to Turkey by Professor Şahabettin Elçi on his lap as he was returning from the United States,” she said. Turkey’s first herbarium, kept by Professor Osman Tosun as a seed bank, is also on display at the museum. There are hundreds of seeds in the herbarium.
Tools used by Professor Bahtiye Mursaloğlu to measure the height and weight of thousands of mice she collected are also on display.
First domestic tractor manufactured in 1962
As Turkey today contemplates manufacturing its first car, a look at Turkey’s agricultural history reveals that the first Turkish tractor was manufactured by professors from Ankara University. Hamit Demirtaş, Süleyman Kadayıfçılar and Gazanfer Harzadın manufactured the prototype of the country’s first tractor in the workshop of the faculty of agriculture of Ankara University. They received the patent for the tractor in 1962. The tractor was named HSG, which were the initials of the first names of the professors who manufactured it. The tractor, which had four forward gears and one reverse gear, weighed one ton, 50 kilograms. Unfortunately, the serial manufacturing of the tractor did not take place due to various reasons.
Among the objects on display in the museum, there is also the first computer brought to Turkey by the now deceased President Turgut Özal. Interestingly, the computer looks like a calculator. Sarıaslan said Özal brought five computers to Turkey when he was undersecretary of the State Planning Organization (DPT).
German lecturers played big role in development of agriculture
It is known that German lecturers played an important role in the development of Turkish agriculture, thanks to the 18,000 books they brought with them to Turkey. The first rector of the Higher Agriculture Institute was Professor Friedrich Falke, a German.
Professor Ahmet Çolak, a lecturer at Ankara University’s faculty of medicine, said the Agriculture Museum is a source of pride for the university. “The museum not only shows the historical development of Turkish agriculture and agricultural education but also Turkish university education because the Higher Agriculture Institute was the first education department of a university established in the republican era,” he said.