Claire Scheibe, co-founder of the magazine Toy Farmer, and Dave Bell, president of ERTL Company, a producer of farm toy replicas, joined forces to create a farm toy museum in Dyersville, Iowa. Together they approached Dyersville Industries, Inc. (DII) Board of Directors about creating the National Farm Toy Museum (NFTM) to accommodate the growing farm toy industry and National Farm Toy Show.1
To assist with the building costs, Claire and Dave initiated a fund-raising campaign, which included the ERTL Company producing a series of collector tractors that would be sold exclusively for the museum. The first series, produced from 1986-1990, was a three tractor set of vintage Cockshutt tractors.2 Since that time, the NFTM annually selects an exclusive tractor series to produce for the benefit of the museum.
With these fund-raising efforts the National Farm Toy Museum was founded in 1986 to pay “tribute to historic and contemporary crop contraptions.”3 The two storied museum features a 45 seat movie theater, a display of how farms have changed over the last century, a depiction of corn and grain harvesting since ancient times, and a wide array of farm toys, including pedal tractors.4
Since 1992, the National Farm Toy Museum has annually inducted one or two individuals who have been instrumental in furthering the farm toy industry. The first inductees in 1992 were Claire and Cathy Scheibe and Fred and Gertrude Ertl, the founders of the ERTL Company with their special significance being the role they played in the establishment of the museum.5 All Hall of Fame inductees have a plaque in their honor in the NFTM.
The National Farm Toy Museum is open daily year round, except for holidays. They are also the hosts of the annual Summer Farm Toys Show.
- 1. “History.” About Us – National Farm Toy Museum. < http://www.nationalfarmtoymuseum.com/aboutus/index.cfm > 1 March 2011.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. “Welcome.” National Farm Toy Museum. < http://www.nationalfarmtoymuseum.com/index.cfm > 29 May 2011.
- 4. “Virtual Tour.” About Us – National Farm Toy Museum. < http://www.nationalfarmtoymuseum.com/aboutus/virtualtour.cfm > 13 April 2011.
- 5. “Hall of Fame.” National Farm Toy Museum. < http://www.nationalfarmtoymuseum.com/halloffame.cfm > 13 April 2011.