It’s been a lot of work but the museum for the Iowa School for the Blind is coming together. The third floor museum was first assembled for the 150th anniversary of the school. It was heavily damaged by the straight line winds and following rainstorm a few years ago. Since then the Iowa School for the Blind and Sight Saving School Mary Ingalls Society has been formed and has been working on preserving and sharing not only the story of its most famous alumnus, but also the story of the school as a whole.
Old Main, the original building on campus, is still active as it’s used as the administrative headquarters for services sent to mainstreamed K-12 blind students across the state. Part of the building is also rented out (with more room available if you are looking for a place to set up a business or nonprofit in Vinton) and part is now used as museum space. The Founders Room is right next to the front door and was traditionally used a place to display history and serve as a place for current and prospective students to connect with the school history. In recent years, it had instead been used as an office. The Mary Ingalls Society is grateful that the Founders Room has been returned as the first floor presence of the museum. It now is home to some of the books with Mary’s records and blow ups of the relevant pages for everyone to see.
The Mary Ingalls Society has been working on examining what records and history remain in the school’s collections. However, they are hoping to share more of the story of the school from the beginning to the to the present. We’re hoping that you can contribute to the exhibits.
- Did you ever attend, teach at, or visit the Iowa School for the Blind?
- Do you have something that would fit in the blind school collection?
- Do you have technology or books that are obsolete or out of date?
- Do you have photos or documents that relate to the school that you would consider donating, loaning, or making us a copy?
- Or do you have anything related to Mary Ingalls, either real or fictional? For example, we’d love to have a collection of Mary Ingalls dolls from various places.
Consider sharing them with the school. Remember there is still time to get a commemorative 1st edition Iowa School for the Blind calendar and to block out August 1,2,3, 2015 to make sure you can attend this year’s pageant.
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 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.