While we are considering the future of extension here in New York State it is important to remain aware of, and build upon, the vital and inspiring work of the past. It is all to easy to create an imagined past that is sometimes tenuously connect to the actual past – narrowing our view of the work of extension to be something neat and tidy that strongly supports a particular outlook. Documents such as the Extension Methods Handbook from 1926 capture a diversity of extension work that may be unknown to some today.
A quick scan of the contents of the Extension Methods Handbook reveals the expected ( Poultry, Gardening, Dairy, etc.) and the surprising (Rural Engineering, Community Dramatics, Playground Demonstration and more). So, as we consider questions such as “How can Cornell Cooperative Extension continue to be relevant, engaged, accessible and valued in its work with New York State Families and Communities?”, it is worth spending a little time with our history so that we can know the traditions, the methods and ways of working, that may have fallen by the wayside these past few decades. There may be hidden treasure there that can help us as we re-consider.
Download the Extension Methods Handbook 1926 (pdf 11mb)