UPDATED December 30 2017: Since I first published this back in 2008, the Mansfield museum has followed through on at least some of their plans. Their focus has been on the museum. They have constructed and opened a new museum and torn down the bookstore. – SSU
The Rocky Ridge Review‘s latest issue follows up on the rest of the site’s long term plan. I applaud the Mansfield site for both increasing their land holdings from 3 acres of the original farm to almost the entire 200 acres. They are planning to rebuild the 1913 barn, the 1935 garage, a garden, the original driveway, fencing, and other outbuildings. This will require the eventual demolishment of the current museum and the construction of a new and expanded museum (which they already started raising money for this). They want to increase the number of walking trials so visitors can see more of the farm. They plan to replace 100 of the 1000 trees on 20 acres in the original orchard. They hope to make it look more like the original orchard from the house. They aren’t giving any indication on where this was from the Rocky Ridge farmhouse so I don’t know if this includes the baby apple trees already planed between the road and gift shop or not. Big future plans include a festival grounds for “large scale festivals or events of people and parking for cars” which they hope will be subtle enough not to be noticeable when not in use. They also look ahead to an area for camping in both tents and RVs. The plan is not to immediately jump to this point, but to have a long range plan so small changes can be guided to eventually reach the plan over time. For example, a recently accomplished goal was getting $113,000 grant from the USDA to get town water to the site.
I’m not sure what to make of one goal of re-doing the Rock House with an idea of making in available for a writer in residence program. Are they talking about part of the house not currently available for tours or will they cut back on what’s shown? More importantly how do I sign up? 😉
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.