Christmas at Hoover

Every year the historic campus (The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum and The Herbert Hoover National Historic site) and the town of West Branch celebrate Christmas in a BIG way! The big Christmas event in person is always the first weekend of December. I’ve been several times and I recommend it. However, if you’re only able to visit West Branch online there are several videos to watch!

Sarah Uthoff in costume as Laura Ingalls Wilder
Sarah and the display she helped curate as part of the Hoover Christmas Tree exhibit.

A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas

Back in 2010, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum did a special Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas exhibit. Their normal schedule is big summer exhibit through October, Christmas tree exhibit from November through the beginning of January and then a winter exhibit from January through April or May. Each year they try for a different theme. The 2010 exhibit was A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas. I consulted and loaned them some of my material, photographs, etc. for the display.

Take a look!

NOTE: I actually have more footage of this on an old computer and I may edit it and get it up someday. Also, be aware that the Christmas ornaments in the gift shop were a limited supply and when they’re gone they’re gone. The Laura ones are a long time gone. Check with them for this year’s holiday exhibit themed ornaments.

I put together a special program about Christmas. This is a shortened, original version of my Christmas with Laura program which I still present.

Readers Theater “A Christmas Carol”

Another non-Laura Christmas entry is their Readers Theater production of A Christmas Carol. Admittedly as they are reading it’s not the most exciting thing to watch, but this shortened edition is an excellent show to have on while wrapping presents or otherwise getting ready for the holiday.

Christmas in Iowa

Their third and final – for now – Christmas video is Michael Zahs, a popular Iowan historic speaker, presents historic tales of Christmas in Iowa.

Bonus!

And if you’re a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan be sure to check out my latest program video – again a special version of – A Long Way Home.

But an older Laura video is a tour of their Laura Ingalls Wilder exhibit. It’s still their most visited winter exhibit ever.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

Hoover Takes the Quilt

Sarah Uthoff in costume as Laura Ingalls Wilder
Sarah and the display she helped curate as part of the Hoover Christmas Tree exhibit.

This year the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is adding a special feature to its annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Remembered event Labor Day weekend. This year they’re going to sew a quilt and they want YOUR help!

Quilt Square and Fair

The Hoover Presidential Library is asking Laura groups and individual fans to create quilt squares that they will put together during a quilting bee the day of the Laura Ingalls Wilder event. They want each square done in a version of the Bear’s Paw they have selected. Contact them and get sent a piece of the fabric to use that will help visually tie the finished quilt together as a whole.

You may add your signature to the block – the only restriction is that it can’t have advertising or anything political.
Other than the focal point fabric they are leaving the fabric choice up to you!

Hoover Quilt Press Release

The Hoover Museum is collecting 12-inch Bear Paw quilt blocks for our quilting bee. We are seeking persons interested in donating a block or multiple blocks to us by August 13, 2019. We will have the blocks assembled into a quilt top by the Cotton Creek Mill Quilt Shop in West Branch, Iowa. We will have the quilt top available for an old-fashioned Quilting Bee on Sunday, September 1, 2019.

The Quilting Bee will be followed by a program about Laura Ingalls Wilder presented by Sarah S. Uthoff at 2pm in the auditorium.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact the Hoover Museum for a “focal piece of fabric” to be incorporated into your block. We can be reached by phone, 319-643-5301 (ask for Janlyn or Spencer), or by e-mail hoover.library@nara.gov. The fabric can be mailed to you.

Finished blocks should be returned to:

Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum
P.O. Box 488
West Branch IA 52358

Quilting Bee

Hopefully they’ll have enough for a lovely quilting bee. They’re not sure what they’ll do with the finished quilt(s). I think they’d be interested in your thoughts.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one  yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on  Facebook ,  TwitterLinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Mt Pleasant IA Midwest Old Threshers 2019 Events

Little Girl Petting Horses Head
Rhea petting horse in harness with owner’s permission – only touch animals after you ask

What Is Old Threshers?

Midwest Old Threshers Reunion is a very unique event in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. There are other “reunions” where people bring steam traction engines, tractors, and small engines to show them off and have a good excuse to get them out and play with them. However, Mt. Pleasant’s event has a broad array of different events and interests gathered in one place. Besides the machinery list above there are groups for old cars, old trucks, antiques, horse teams, an active printers hall, demonstration of equipment like a veneer saw, a threshing machine, and cooking down sorghum, an antique restored steam carousel, quilts, antique dolls, button collectors, a big craft show, trains (you can ride in), trolley cars still on their track (you can ride in), a group demonstrating life in the 1840s in the log cabin village fairly seriously and a group demonstrating life in the late 19th century not so seriously (desperadoes who steal candy & dance hall girls who stay fully dressed), a children’s game area including the chance to drive an actual tractor through an obstacle course and pony rides, fair food, big country music shows, and a theater museum mostly devoted to the traveling shows of the mid-19th to early 20th century. Come visit every year on an expanded Labor Day Weekend. This year it’s August 29 – September 2, 2019.

Events Keep Coming All Year

With all this going on the reunion continues to burst at the seams, but that’s only one week a year. They have a whole bunch of other events through the year.

This isn’t their full schedule, but these are the ones I think you might find interesting.

Theatre Seminar: April 12-14, 2019

One of the departments of the organization is a traveling theater museum. It covers things like tent rep, opera houses, show boats, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin shows.

Steam School : May 4 – 5, 2019

How to drive a steam engine like those used to work threshing machines. They are only offering one class this year.

Trolley School: June 8, 2019

Learn how to drive a trolley.

The Bussey Doll Event : June 22, 2019

The event is for doll collectors and those interested in dolls. There are speakers on various topics, everyone gets a gift doll, and there are vendor tables. My post about the year they did a Laura Ingalls Wilder theme is one of my most read.

Henry County Fair: July 17 – 22, 2019

A county fair like the one the James Wilder family attended in Malone, New York.

Summer Theater Neil and Caroline Schaffner play: “Three In A Bed”:

July 26-27, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. July 28th at 2:30 p.m.

August 2-3, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. and again during the 2019 Reunion

Every summer they once again put on one of the plays once popular with traveling theaters to give you a taste of late 19th/early 20th century entertainment.

Reunion Event: August 29 – September 2, 2019

Annual Midwest and Great Northern Printer’s Fair:  September 11 – 14, 2019

It is specifically geared to people practicing or curious about letterpress printing for letterpress printers, from beginners to professionals. They use the extensive collection of printing equipment gathered in the printing part of Museum B. If you want to know about how they ran the paper in De Smet or how Carrie helped run a newspaper this would be a great event to plan for.

Holiday Events

They also run events every year for Halloween when the Midwest Haunted Rails shows you a ghost of a good time and for Christmas when you can take the North Pole Express to visit Santa Claus. Dates are set later in the year.

I hope you come and visit Mt. Pleasant for the best reunion anywhere or any of their other great events.

People riding on a trolley see a restored truck
Watching a Truck from the Trolley During the Reunion

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Mt Pleasant IA Midwest Old Threshers 2018 Events

People riding on a trolley see a restored truck
Watching a Truck from the Trolley During the Reunion

What Is Old Threshers?

Midwest Old Threshers Reunion is a very unique event in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. There are other “reunions” where people bring steam traction engines, tractors, and small engines to show them off and have a good excuse to get them out and play with them. However, Mt. Pleasant’s event has a broad array of different events and interests gathered in one place. Besides the machinery list above there are groups for old cars, old trucks, antiques, horse teams, an active printers hall, demonstration of equipment like a veneer saw, a threshing machine, and cooking down sorghum, an antique restored steam carousel, quilts, antique dolls, button collectors, a big craft show, trains (you can ride in), trolley cars still on their track (you can ride in), a group demonstrating life in the 1840s in the log cabin village fairly seriously and a group demonstrating life in the late 19th century not so seriously (desperadoes who steal candy & dance hall girls who stay fully dressed), a children’s game area including the chance to drive an actual tractor through an obstacle course and pony rides, fair food, big country music shows, and a theater museum mostly devoted to the traveling shows of the mid-19th to early 20th century. Come visit every year on an expanded Labor Day Weekend. This year it’s August 30 – September 3, 2018.

Events Keep Coming All Year

With all this going on the reunion continues to burst at the seams, but that’s only one week a year. They have a whole bunch of other events through the year.

This isn’t their full schedule, but these are the ones I think you might find interesting.

Steam School : April 28 – 29 and May 5 – 6, 2018

How to drive a steam engine like those used to work threshing machines. These are two separate classes, one in April and one in May.

Trolley School: May 5, 2018

Learn how to drive a trolley.

The Bussey Doll Event : June 9, 2018

The event is for doll collectors and those interested in dolls. There are speakers on various topics, everyone gets a gift doll, and there are vendor tables. My post about the year they did a Laura Ingalls Wilder theme is one of my most read.

Henry County Fair: July 18 – 23, 2018

A county fair like the one the James Wilder family attended in Malone, New York.

Summer Theater Happy Funny Are People:

July 20th & 21st at 7:30 p.m. July 22nd at 2:30 p.m.

July 27-28, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. and again during the 2018 Reunion

Every summer they once again put on one of the plays once popular with traveling theaters to give you a taste of late 19th/early 20th century entertainment.

Theatre Seminar: July 21 – 22, 2018

One of the departments of the organization is a traveling theater museum. It covers things like tent rep, opera houses, show boats, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin shows.

Reunion Event: August 30 – September 3, 2018

Annual Midwest and Great Northern Printer’s Fair:  September 12 – 15, 2018

It is specifically geared to people practicing or curious about letterpress printing for letterpress printers, from beginners to professionals. They use the extensive collection of printing equipment gathered in the printing part of Museum B. If you want to know about how they ran the paper in De Smet or how Carrie helped run a newspaper this would be a great event to plan for.

Holiday Events

They also run events every year for Halloween when the Midwest Haunted Rails shows you a ghost of a good time and for Christmas when you can take the North Pole Express to visit Santa Claus. Dates are set later in the year.

I hope you come and visit Mt. Pleasant for the best reunion anywhere or any of their other great events.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Take Your Class to a Day in a One-Room School

19th century teacher sitting at desk
Sarah at Teacher Desk in Stone Academy – Solon, Iowa

Every spring and fall I work with the Johnson County (IA) Historical Society to put together an opportunity for schools in the area to step back in time. Classes come on a field trip to take their students back to 1876.

One-Room School in Coralville, Iowa

Coralville’s one-room school is actually a two story brick structure. Coralville thought they were going to boom and so built a bigger two story building thinking they’d soon need more than one class. Unfortunately for them, instead Coralville faced several setbacks. It was decades before they needed to use the second floor as a classroom. By the time they built a graded elementary school – Coralville Central – in 1950, they were running one class on each floor plus one in the town hall (recently moved across the street from the school) and one in the old fire department.

Experience for Students

The elementary classes study the time period before they come and each is assigned a character. Most of these characters are based on actual students who attended the school that year, but some have been added to support current large class sizes.

Students dress up and act out their role as I lead them through a taste of what life was like in a late 19th century one-room school. I serve as a historical interpreter helping the students understand the what and the why as we go through some of the classes they’d have in a one-room school.

Learn more about the program, including the lesson plans and preparation handouts.

Whether You Live Close or Farther Away

Do you live locally? Suggest to your school they come.

Do you live some place else? Look for a one-room museum near you. Most have a school program of some kind.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Smile You Can Donate To Laura on Amazon Nov 2017

Amazon Smile is a program where if you sign up for it a small percentage of each purchase will go to the designated organization of your choice — but only if you’ve registered with them.

Sarah by books 1
Sarah by books 1

Amazon Smile

Amazon has created a program where if you go in through Amazon smile instead of straight a small percentage of every purchase (taken off Amazon’s share – the price you pay won’t increase) and donated to your chosen organization. Learn more about it on their FAQs. I’ve think this is a great idea.

When I found out about it I instantly looked for the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites and none of them were listed. I got word to all the homesites about it with a hope from them to join the program, but it never heard back. So in the meantime I supported the USS Constitution aka Old Iron Sides. Two years ago I checked again because the Franklin Historical Society (before the Almanzo Wilder farm got up and running they were the prime destination in Malone, New York) publicized that they had joined the program. This time when I searched for other Laura organizations most  have joined. If you shop on Amazon, please consider going in through Amazon Smiles.

  1. Go to http://smile.amazon.com
  2. Log in to your existing Amazon account
  3. Search for the organization you want and select your organization

Amazon

 

Laura Ingalls Wilder Amazon Smile Organizations

If you search the Amazon Smiles site under the exact names listed before the dashes, you can now give a percentage to these Laura organizations in the order I found them.

  • FCHMS – Franklin County Historical and Museum Society by searching for EIN: 14-1499839 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association – Mansfield MO by searching for EIN: 430949542 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society Incorporated – De Smet SD by searching for EIN: 460309777 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum & Tourist Center – Walnut Grove MN by searching for EIN: 411389293 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Society – De Smet SD by searching for EIN: 237417985 or by keyword.
  • Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association – Malone NY by searching for EIN: 141694262 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum Inc – Burr Oak IA by searching for EIN: 237427633 or by keyword.
  • Little House on the Prairie Museum – Independence KS by searching for EIN: 480875326 or by keyword.

You can also switch your organization as often as you want to share the love around so join up with Amazon Smile today, especially before you start your Christmas shopping!

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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+,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.

Mary Ingalls Society Report Fall 2017

A report from the Iowa School for the Blind and Sight Saving School for Fall 2017. The future of the School for the Blind building and artifacts is in doubt, but if you want to do your part to encourage continued activities in Vinton please consider a membership. If visiting the blind school is important to you, do it as soon as you can – Sarah S. Uthoff

IBSSS Mary Ingalls Society Member Sheet

Blind School from hospital
Blind School from hospital

Dear Members and Friends:

October 2017 marks the 5th year the IBSSS Mary Ingalls Society has been working with the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School.  It is also time to renew memberships.  With that in mind we thought we would share some highlights from this past year.

  • It has been a busy year that has brought over 600 people, from many other states as well as Iowa, through the front doors of Old Main. The number includes 6 bus tours and at our October 15 “Prairie Fiddle” show in the Auditorium.
  • In October 2016, through our “Lot 31 Project”, we dedicated a monument and headstones at Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton. They now mark the graves of students from the School who had been laid to rest there in the late 1800s and early 1900s without permenant monuments.
  • October 2016 also saw us making a presentation to the Iowa Board of Regents outlining our position on the disposition of historical artifacts and records for the School in light of the Board’s decision to sell the campus property. Our focus centered on the preservation of Old Main and maintaining the historically significant items there.
  • Throughout the year we continued the work of cataloguing and preserving historic records and photos. We used grant money obtained through the Benton County Community Foundation and your generous membership gifts on the following projects.  60 VCR tapes were digitized for easier viewing and use.  Newspaper and scrap book articles dating from the 1950s through the 1980s were moved from folders in file drawers to acid free clear protective sleeves and stored in acid free boxes making them easy to view and available for use in displays and programs.  Some of these articles  accompanied us to a presentation at the State Lions Meeting in Cedar Rapids in June.  Acid free sheets for photos are now being filled to further enhance their preservation and ease of use in displays.  Additional storage boxes have also been purchased and filled with various archival materials.
  • In May 2017 we marked our second year for the Vinton-Shellsburg 6th graders to visit the campus. We are excited to tell you there are plans for the next group to visit in May 2018.  The School also hosted a group of secondary students belonging to a group called, Future Leaders of America.  Making this school connection has been a goal of ours since the beginning, and we continue to look at ways to expand our outreach to other schools in Benton County and beyond.
  • We participated in and had a display for the Rare Book event held at the Cedar Rapids Library.
  • This year has also marked a continuation of a great working relationship between the Mary Ingalls Society and the School’s alumni. They have been valuable allies in working on preservation of artifacts and have proven to be the highlights for many of our tour groups.

None of this work would have been possible without the participation of the IBSSS Mary Ingalls Society’s  members/supporters.  We sincerely thank you and invite you to renew your membership/support.  If you are not a member, we invite you to join us in this work.

Sincerely

Mary Ingalls Society