On display September 22, 2022 – May 13, 2023
UC Merced Library, Fourth Floor
A new photography exhibit has opened on the 4th floor of the UC Merced Library. A Century of Impact in California's Counties: Highlights from the University of California Cooperative archive features photographs from the California Agricultural Resources Archive (CARA), showcasing the University of California’s work over the past 100 years to improve agricultural practices, support youth development, and promote broader civic engagement. The exhibit is divided into five themes: farm advisor demonstrations, crop trials, labor, home demonstration agents, and 4-H. Photographs illustrate the scope of work conducted by UC Cooperative Extension advisors. In the early years, farm advisors sought to create irrigation districts and fire protection districts; to direct road and infrastructure campaigns; and to demonstrate new techniques and technologies in agricultural production. In the ensuing decades, Cooperative Extension has administered extensive crop trials and has conducted copious research into farming practices and technologies. The first home demonstration agents in California taught rural women and girls about nutrition, food preservation techniques, and home economic skills like sewing and dressmaking. The involvement of youth in Cooperative Extension work was a precursor to the formation of 4-H clubs. Some of the images underscore major socioeconomic issues present in rural California like labor and immigration, irrevocably linked to farming and agriculture. A Century of Impact in California's Counties highlights only a selection of the items documenting the history of UC Cooperative Extension and how it has influenced agriculture and rural life in California, which the UC Merced Library has archived.
This exhibit was made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
A Major Initiatives grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission supported the development and digitization of the UC Cooperative Extension Archive.
For more information about CARA, visit, cara.ucmerced.edu