The story of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museums is one of grass root efforts. Small towns scattered across the Midwest decided they had to have something for the fans who came to visit them to see and slowly developed museums almost everywhere Laura and her family lived. Among the many methods of raising the initial funding for theses museums were Pennies for Laura campaigns where school children collected and sent in pennies toward getting the museums built. One of the museums these programs, which helped restore is the only original childhood home of Laura in its original location, is in Iowa.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum is located in the small, northeast Iowa town of Burr Oak, Iowa. The Masters Hotel where the Ingalls family lived and worked has been restored. The bank building that first alerted Wilder’s daughter Rose Wilder Lane that she had finally found where her mother had lived has been turned into a visitor center and gift shop. They had 1,635 fewer visitors this year than last and sales of merchandise are down. They have been somewhat unstable the past few years as they have had rapid turnover of directors. Also, the local restaurant/antique shop has closed down and they have hopes of purchasing the building and eventually re-opening it. Even with this instability, they still had visitors from every state in the Union and 23 different countries this year. They presented programs to 550 children this year alone. Now with a new director with a forwarding thinking plan, they need to stabilize their financial situation.
Bearing all this in mind, I’ve decided that the time is right to host a card shower for the museum during Laura’s birthday month. You can participate several ways during the month of February.
- Send the museum a card. Even if you can’t donate, hopefully the display of cards will give them a chance to get the word out and encourage others to donate.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum
3603 – 236th Avenue
Burr Oak, Iowa 52101
- Send them a card and put in a monetary remembrance. Every little bit helps. Do it alone or as a class or club project. If you can’t afford anything else send them a card, to let them and everyone else know you are thinking about them.
- Send them a donation even if you don’t want to send a card. Even small donations can add up.
- Please re-post this widely and help spread the word.
I hope that we’ll soon be able to look forward to many more years in this museum. Again, please help us by spreading the word. I’m sending a card and hope you will, too.
UPDATE 2014: Sadly this idea didn’t gain too much traction, although I still think it was a good one and might have with a little more publicity. Oh well. If you’re are just seeing this today, it isn’t too late. I’m sure they would still appreciate a card and a donation.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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.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. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.