We are officially the California Agriculture Museum!

2015 Museum Logo 6x6Woodland, CA– The Heidrick Ag History Center, has been rebranded as the California Agriculture Museum, in order to better reflect its broad cultural relevance. Giving substantial credit to its founder, Northern California farmer Fred C. Heidrick Sr., the non-profit museum is home to the nation’s most rare collection of California tractors and farm equipment.

The California Ag Museum is nestled in Yolo County which continues to be of the most agriculturally dominant counties in the state, producing nearly 35 percent of the world’s processing tomatoes.

This museum exhibits the evolution of California farming since the late 1800’s, with more than 100 tractors and another 100 pieces of agricultural artifacts on display.

“We have everything from giant steam driven tractors, to the belt driven and diesel burning metal wheel tractors,” Executive Director Ostman explained, “Following the end of the gold rush era, grain production exploded out here in the West, and pioneer farmers exemplified the true definition of innovation.”

Tractor technology is recognizably the most important aspect of modern farming in the United States; its transformation has enabled farmers to produce more effectively and efficiently to feed the ever growing population.

By the end of the 1800’s California became the leader in agriculture and mechanization;  it also lead the way in environmental standards. Paired with the diverse landscape, unique weather and healthy soil, it continues to be the ideal test area for tractor manufacturers.  If they can meet the criteria in California, most times they have exceeded demands in the rest of the nation and the rest of the world. Large equipment manufacturers have embraced ideas born on California’s farms, and put the ideas into mass production for worldwide specialized equipment.

Although Ostman explains that the Heidrick name is known as an agricultural giant among farming and ranching communities, the founding family and board of directors recognize that  it lacks distinction outside of those circles. How to maintain that local charm while inviting travelers to stop by to learn the California agriculture story has been a major topic of debate for several years.

The founder’s grandson, Rusty Luchessi, is very active in the museum’s affairs as board president, and expressed his support and enthusiasm for the rebranding efforts.

“By changing the name of the museum, we are hoping to emphasize that the collection is a celebration of California’s strong agricultural heritage,” he explained, “It encompasses the diversity of California farms and farming, and spotlights the ingenuity, camaraderie, and general ‘don’t tell me I can’t’ attitude of California farmers. This collection tells that story well.”

“With the rebranding, we can market to a wider demographic, people will have a better understanding of what they will find here,” Ostman added. “The Fred C. Heidrick collection is still the focal point of the museum, but we want our name to better explain what that is.”

“We hear our guests remark that they never imagined the museum was so visually and historically exciting,” she continued, “We have high hopes that that name change will strengthen the museum’s visibility as the landmark it is for California.”

The museum team has partnered with Ag in the Classroom, a federal agriculture educational program that fits in with California common core curriculum.

“We are in the middle of a farm-to-fork healthy eating revolution,” Ostman said, “What better way to teach children and neighbors about the meaning of whole foods than to give them an experience that rationalizes the culture of agriculture. To provide understanding of their roots, and why agriculture is a major player in California’s economic position.”

The museum may be named for California, however, they rely completely on funding from donations, visits and revenue from their onsite event center.

For the last 20 years, the Heidrick Ag History Museum and Event Center has been one of the areas premiere event venues, inviting clients to host their events in one of four unique rental spaces. The facility has been be rented for weddings, parties, large corporate events both ag related and not, and has been home to annual expositions, car shows and collector events.

As the California Ag Museum moves forward, the non-profit facility will continue to be available for rent to comfortably accommodate events, in their large banquet hall, unique agricultural equipment museum, beautifully manicured garden courtyard, and their newly unveiled 45,000 square foot grand exposition facility called the East Wing.

For a special treat, clients have the option of creating a grand entry for their dignitaries by parading them through an edifice adorn by treasures of California’s rich artifacts seated in a Model A, a 1920’s bus, or maybe even a 1925 fire engine.

These venues are available for gatherings small to large — trade shows, large-scale conferences, personal special events, and more — with customizable accommodations to make every booking completely unique.

For more information about the museum, please visit www.CaliforniaAgMuseum.org

History of BEST Tractors from Our Board Member & Grandson of C.L. Best, Dan Best

This is a must see video documentary clip on the history of Best tractors, now known as Caterpillar, or CAT. Our board member, Dan Best, explains his family’s history inside the California Agriculture Museum standing in front of one we have on display- as well as, from the Best Ranch right here in Woodland, CA.

Growing Up with Grandpa

Fred Heidrick 1

By Laura Wieking 
Granddaughter of Fred Heidrick Sr.

Growing up, I didn’t really know this collection was anything other than our extended playground. Grandpa never told us to get off the machines, or to stay out of the barns where the rare, one-of-a-kind and massive machines rested. We climbed all over, breathing in the greasy paint smell of the barns and shop as if it were a fine floral bouquet. I knew that people came from all over to see my grandparents and the collection, but I thought it was only because they were like, the coolest grandparents ever. The tractors were just gravy.

I learned to drive on a 1922 flatbed Model T Ford truck when I was 11. I could also drive a tractor that had wheels. But driving a track tractor was beyond my comprehension. It still is. I can’t figure it out. From my viewpoint you steer the things with what looks like a stick and some pedals, probably some spit too. And when it turns, or maybe pivot is the right word, it sounds like it’s going to fall apart amidst the squeals, shudders and rusty pings.

All the grandsons in the family had a Caterpillar 10 tractor. I remember the row of 10s, each with a white nameplate with red lettering for the cousin or brother to whom it belonged. I didn’t want a Caterpillar, but I do remember, distinctly, asking Grandpa if instead of a Caterpillar, could I please have a Butterfly?

In my childish perception of the restoration process, I thought of Grandpa’s shop as some kind of magic assembly line. A tractor or old car went in one end, some cartoony assembly line music played, and out came out the final product, completely transformed. Never mind the hundreds of hours spent restoring these mammoth machines to working and show condition.

So naturally, I convinced myself that he should be able to put an old gray caterpillar into the barn, flip a switch, and voila – out comes a Butterfly tractor all pretty with swirly colors all over. And with easy to use steering controls of course.

I don’t remember what Grandpa’s response was. I really wish I did. I really really wish I did. I have a feeling he probably put his hands on his hips, tilted his hat back, paused, and simply offered to build something else for me in his shop to distract me from my wild notions of a purple tractor. I’m pretty sure a smile was involved too.

Sponsor 2015 Last Call Car Show

Last call logo

          The Heidrick Ag History museum and event center is a non-profit cultural destination in Northern California, just minutes from Sacramento. The museum is dedicated to enhancing people’s understanding and appreciation of California’s rich heritage through the presentation of its antique tractor and agriculture collection and rotating exhibits. The Museum’s core collection was established by Fred Heidrick Senior and consists of rare examples of tractors, harvesters, trucks, autos, horse-drawn implements and other artifacts that tell the California story. The Museum continues to grow through the generosity of California growers and collectors. In order to sustain and support the museum’s growth, outreach and education programs, a large portion of the facility is dedicated to event rental space. Alongside weddings, corporate events and private parties, museum staff devote a lot of energy into producing at least two large fundraising events annually. Last year nearly 1,500 spectators attended the first annual Last Call Car Show in October, and nearly 4,000 spectators attended the YOLO Outdoor Expo in March. These events are great for not only the museum, but the entire surrounding community and supporting businesses. Sponsoring businesses were rewarded by the mentions in radio and print advertising, brand recognition on posters and mailers, more than 100,000 social media views on event sites. As we move forward with the 2nd Annual Last Call Car Show, October 11, 2015, we invite you to be a part of our success. By sponsoring this event, your business can benefit from one of several levels of commitment. We expect this year’s event attendance and revenue to substantially increase with our advanced marketing strategy, and cannot wait to include you in that achievement. Please review the attached sponsorship application and contact us with any questions that you may have! marketing@aghistory.org, 530-666-9700

2015 Last Call Sponsor Form

Register YOUR Classic Car Now and take advantage of the preregistration discount!

2015 Last Call Vehicle Registration Form

Have a business you would like to showcase at the car show? Become a vendor!

2015 Last Call Vendor Registration Form

March is Museum Membership Month! Discounts on Several Sacramento Association Museums Including the Heidrick


On the heels of another successful Sacramento Museum Day, the Sacramento Association of Museums (SAM) has identified March 2015 as Museum Membership Month!  The benefits of museum membership often extend well beyond a financial savings and include exclusive experiences only available to members.  Plus, there’s something for everyone as the thriving Sacramento museum community offers memberships at virtually every museum and/or destination — from fine art and culture to native, exotic and endangered wildlife.

To highlight Museum Membership Month in March, many of the 30 museums are offering special incentives and discounts for enthusiasts who choose to become members of their favorite museums and destinations.  A few limited-time offers include the following:

  • Heidrick Ag History & Events Center — 10 percent off all new memberships in March along with a free one-day admission pass to share with a friend;
  • Aerospace Museum of California — 25 percent off new Family memberships during March;
  • California State Railroad Museum — Two additional months free for all new members in March who mention the discount code “SAM”;
  • Crocker Art Museum — Two extra months free for members who sign up online in March and use the discount code “SAM”;
  • Discovery Museum/Powerhouse Science Center — 10 percent off all new memberships in March;
  • Sacramento Children’s Museum — $10 off new members who sign up in March;
  • Sacramento History Museum – New Family memberships in March will include a certificate good for two tickets for a Gold Rush Historical Walking Tour ($20 value) and a “Wanted” poster for each family member.  New Quartz Circle memberships will include a certificate good for four tickets for a Gold Rush Historical Walking Tour ($40 value) and a “Wanted” poster for each family member.

In addition to these special incentives offered from March 1-31, 2015, membership has special privileges (which vary by museum) and can include benefits such as the following: free entrance to the museum or destination all year long, special invitations to member-only events and receptions, preview and/or “behind-the-scenes” opportunities for new exhibits and offerings, free guest admission passes (to share with friends and family), discounts and/or advance purchase opportunities on special programs and events, and much more.

For a complete list of participating museums or for more detailed information about memberships and benefits offered by local museums, please visit www.SacMuseums.org.

About the Sacramento Association of Museums (SAM)

Comprised of 30 greater Sacramento area museums working in partnership with the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, SAM’s mission is to raise awareness of local museums by giving the community the opportunity to discover California’s fine art, history, science and wildlife treasures. SAM achieves its mission through implementing cooperative promotions and developing strategic marketing alliances, by encouraging sharing of knowledge and resources among its partner institutions.  For more information, visit www.SacMuseums.org

The ag museum gets artsy

tractor sculpture 2015Although tractors may not traditionally bring artistic visions to mind, the Heidrick Ag History Center appreciates art as much as the next collector. In the coming year the museum will add several art additions, including the installation of a captivating metal tractor sculpture outside, as well as, a proposed rotating art gallery exhibit inspired by agriculture called “Art Alley”.

In order to complete this vision, the museum is seeking donation of a non-functioning, early twentieth century tractor.

“We saw a tractor sculpture that we really like; after some brainstorming we have been working with city officials to create a local landmark ,” Executive Director Lorili Ostman said, “It is about 20-feet tall, and it will have a total of three tractors on it.”

Ostman explained that the museum has two of the three pieces needed to complete the sculpture , a Caterpillar 22 and a Cletrac, but needs one more larger piece for the top.

NEEDED tractor NEEDED Tractor

The museum is looking for pieces such as these to showcase as part of the sculpture. They do not need to be in working condition. Please contact 530-666-9700 if you are interested in making a donation!

“The two tractors we have will appear to climb the pillars of a metal a-frame pillar, and our hope is that someone will have something just a little bigger that represents another transition of early tractors,” she continued, “We only need a tractor skeleton, no engine of working parts.”

Anyone interested in proposing a piece for the sculpture can email a photo and information to development@aghistory.org, or call 530-666-9700.

Although the museum will release more details regarding “Art Alley” in the coming months, the curatorial team is busy working to designate a portion of the museum to agriculture inspired art with rotating art exhibitions, featuring paintings, photography, and sculpture by local and regional artists. Look for the Heidrick Ag History Center to be fundraising for the exhibit at First Friday Art Walks at the Barth building at 423 First Street in downtown Woodland.