• Pioneer Days 2017

  • May 9th was a special day at the museum. Although not quite as dramatic as in the 2006 movie Night at the Museum, the gymnasium and hallways were alive with nearly 80 students from the South Central Calhoun 6th grade. As part of their studies of Iowa History, Museum Board Members and volunteers involve the students in what they might have experienced living in Iowa during the Pioneer Days of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Many of demonstrations used antique working items from the museum’s vast collection – allowing for a “hands on” feel of history. Some of this year’s features were:

    How the telephone evolved from the old wooden wall phones used when your number may have been “32 on green” and the operator was called “central” up through the modern smart phone of today.

    The ease with which a wooden hand corn sheller of the 1880’s peels kernels from the cob.

    The fascination of turning thin hemp twine into strong versatile rope using an antique rope machine common to many pioneer farms.

    What many mothers say was the greatest invention of all times – the Maytag Wringer Washing Machine which replaced the labor intensive wash board.

    The razor sharp “tools of the trade” of an early Iowa Barber Shop.

    The unique and beautiful rocks one might find in a spring plowed field or along a stream bank throughout much of Iowa.

    These and several other programs filled the afternoon along with tours of the museum’s amazing collection of Iowa History.


    We enjoyed having the students as much as they enjoyed their visit. Here are a few of their comments:

    “I liked seeing the old phones and washer – how hard it was to wash clothes”

    “I thought that the old shaving stuff was cool”

    “I liked cutting wood cause I didn’t know that it was so easy”

    “I liked the collection of cameras and typewriters”

    “It was really fun to see how they washed clothes back then. It really got me thinking how things have changed”

    “When we put on the hats it was like we were in an old fashion movie”

    “At the museum I liked cutting the wood. And looking at the buttons. Also the old irons”

    “My favorite part was the stones. I even got to see my favorite Obsidian”

    “I enjoyed making rope. It was fun”

    “I will be going back because it was so cool”