Cotton Museum Launches Major Expansion Plan
Monsanto, Case and Cotton Incorporated help fund expansion which includes educational exhibits and classroom space.
February 26, 2010
The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange recently debuted its 1,650-square-foot space on the ground floor of the Cotton Exchange Building at the corner of Front and Union, contiguous to the museum's main exhibit hall. Three major businesses— Monsanto Company, Case IH and Cotton Incorporated— have agreed to sponsor the contemporary-themed permanent exhibit for this space. In addition, the new space will house a classroom where students at all grade levels can experience the history of cotton first-hand.
Simultaneously, the museum is developing a grade-level specific education program targeted to local elementary, middle and high school students. "With this expansion, we're dramatically enhancing our ability to fulfill our educational role within the community. We'll be able to accommodate more student groups and to enrich their learning experience at the museum," says Calvin Turley, the museum's founder and president. "The history of cotton commerce— from field to fabric— is inextricably tied to the history of this region. Our mission is to share that history with the broader community."
The new exhibit will enable museum visitors to explore the history of cotton farming from a 21st century perspective and incorporates three key elements: Advances in biotechnology, mechanization and environmental sustainability. Monsanto Company will sponsor elements of the exhibit focused on state-of-the-art biotechnology.
"We're excited about partnering with the Cotton Museum, which has done a great job of showcasing the story of cotton and helping connect that story to the museum's guests," says Dave Rhylander, director of marketing in Monsanto's southern region. "Pulling from the traditions of Deltapine and the technology of Monsanto, there is a lot of information on the evolution of biotechnology to bring to the exhibit. Advances in crop genetics enhance the economics of cotton growing and enable the introduction of sustainable practices. Recent advances in biotechnology have enabled U.S. producers to remain competitive in the global marketplace."
Case IH sponsors the portion of the exhibit focused on the story of mechanization of the U.S. industry and its impact on the process of planting, cultivating and harvesting cotton—from the earliest days of cotton farming to the present.
"The story of cotton mechanization is a tremendous addition to the museum," says Trent A. Haggard, cotton marketing and sales team leader for Case IH Agricultural Equipment. "Museum visitors will be able to see first-hand the evolution of equipment and farming practices over the past century. As the pioneer in mechanical cotton harvest, Case IH is proud to partner with the museum to demonstrate the advances in productivity that have changed the very nature of cotton growing."
Cotton Incorporated sponsors elements of the exhibit focused on environmental sustainability.
"The cotton industry is developing and putting into practice a variety of new technologies, methods and uses for the cotton plant that play a role in reducing the industry's environmental impact—and promoting the survival of our planet," says Kim Kitchings, senior director, Global Product Supply Chain, Cotton Incorporated. "Sustainability is not something our industry takes lightly. And Cotton Incorporated is happy to be able to play a role in bringing this issue—and our industry's progress toward sustainability—to the public's attention through our sponsorship of this important exhibit."