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Purdue students have always enjoyed hands-on activities as part of their coursework, gaining real world experience as they prepare for their future careers.  What course of study are these students following?  What are they doing?  Where are they?  Share your ideas in the comments and check back on Friday for the reveal!


These Dairy Production students are working in the Purdue Creamery in Agriculture Hall, which still exists today as Pfendler Hall.  In Purdue’s fully functioning dairy operation, College of Agriculture students gained practical experience making cheese, butter, and ice cream.  In this image, circa 1911, they are making and packaging butter, which was later sold to the public under the Purdue University Creamery label.  The dairy moved to Smith Hall when it opened in 1913 and continued selling dairy products to the public until 1969.

butter box

A butter box from the Purdue University Creamery


Join us on March 12 for the next From the Archives mystery photo.

20 Responses to “From the Archives: An Active Classroom”

  1. Tim

    Looks like a creamery which I think would have been in Smith.

  2. Ron

    Smith Hall making cheese!

  3. Ryan B

    They are making Ice Cream in Purdue University Creamery in Smith Hall!

  4. Terry

    Looks like something dairy-related to me???

  5. Tom Brown

    Smith Hall, The Creamery, making cheese and butter…

  6. Ryan

    They are making cheese, likely in the Creamery that was located in Smith Hall.

  7. Amanda Adams

    Making ice cream in the creamery

  8. Randy Copas

    Looks like it might be in the old Purdue Creamery in Smith Hall. Maybe part of a Dairy production class?

  9. Melody Carducci

    Making Ice cream at the Purdue Creamery. Going for icecream here which was sold commercially is one of my 90 year old mothers favorite memories.

  10. Collier Miers

    Looks like a creamery operation. Great photo, thanks for sharing!

  11. Randy Bond

    Looks like they’re making butter.

  12. Joy Morris


  13. Brian

    They are working in the Purdue Creamery! Sadly, the Creamery closed June 30, 1969 so no more ice cream, fresh butter or cheeses.

  14. Judy Nixon

    I have no idea, but just for fun… at first I thought they might be making ice cream. It takes a lot of ice cream to feed all those Boiler Makers. But looking closer at the item coming out of the big barrel, I think they are making bread. That would explain the the half tubs in the back; that’s where the bread is kneaded. And the machine on the right forefront could be the bread slicer.

  15. Bryan

    Making Cheese. Probably in Smith Hall if not in a building prior to Smith being built.

  16. Kyle Landis

    This is a micrograph of the human gut showing the digestive process.

  17. John

    They are churning butter. That photo was taken in the basement of what today is Pfendler Hall, back then it was Agricultural Hall. 1911 is the date. Find yourself a copy of the book “Ice Cream Cones as Casualties”, and you see a couple of similar photos and the floor plans for the east half of the basement of Agricultural Hall.

  18. Mark Kepler

    There is a book that has just been printed on the Creamery:
    The History of the Purdue Creamery and Smith Hall
    John M. Cleland
    From the author: For nearly the past four years I have been researching and writing about the Purdue Creamery and Smith Hall history. This book of over 200 pages culminates that research. The profits from its sale will benefit the Blaine Crowl Scholarship which is awarded to students with a strong dairy interest.

  19. Tasha Bannon

    Very interesting to read more about the Purdue Creamery. I found this label at an antique store in downtown Lafayette and just wanted to share. The image can be found here:

    Tasha Bannon
    Graphic Designer – Student Life Marketing

  20. Brian

    For a full history of the Purdue Creamery see the following book written by John Cleland, creamery historian:
    Brian Farkas
    Head, Purdue Food Science

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