Laura Homesites Open for the Season 2019

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Season has officially gotten underway again. If you plan a Laura trip before they open, make sure you call ahead. The homesite museums that are not fully open, may or may not be able to accommodate you by opening the museum, etc. or giving lists of what there is to see.

Although you should double check before making a special trip, homesites tend to open on very similar, if not the same, dates every year so use this to plan for next year.

Wagon Ride at DeSmet Pageant
Wagon Ride at DeSmet Pageant

2019 Opening Dates

Pepin, WI
– Opens May 1, 2019

Independence, KS
– Opened April 1, 2019

Walnut Grove, MN
– The visitor/gift shop stays open all year round with reduced hours in the off season.
April 1, 2019 the ground open and the hours expand to include weekends.
(Mon.-Sat. 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Sun. 12 Noon-4:00 pm)
May 1, 2019 they expand weekend hours again
(Mon.-Sat. 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Sun. 12 Noon-5:00 pm)
June 1, 2019 hours extend to 10:00 am – 6:00 pm daily.

Dugout Site normally not open until sometime May. The date is dependent on weather conditions, if there is still snow or if it’s flooded it won’t open as early. Call ahead and check. But it’s now open for this year.

Burr Oak, IA
– Opened May 1, 2019 MonSat limited hours through May.
(Monday-Saturday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm –Last tour 3:  on all days– Sunday: Noon – 4:00 pm) Hours expand with Memorial Day, May 28, 2019
(Monday-Saturday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm-Last tour 4:00 pm- Sunday: Noon – 4:00 pm Last tour 3:00 pm)

DeSmet, SD
Memorial Society – Opened limited hours in January – April, expand to Saturday during May (Monday thru Saturday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm)
Goes to 7 days a week June 1, 2019 (Monday thru Friday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Sunday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm)

Ingalls Homestead – Opened Memorial Day Weekend for regular hours 9:00 am – 7:00 pm every day with activities from 10:00 am -6:00 pm. They host school visits M-F through May so if you plan on a visit before they officially open next year, you may not be out of luck.  Visitors are welcome to join up with a school group, but should call or email first to get specific times as they vary daily.  800-776-3594 – mail@ingallshomestead.com

Mansfield, MO
Opened March 1, 2018 (Monday thru Saturday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday: 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm)

Malone/Burke, NY
 – Opens Sat., May 26, 2018

Spring Valley, MN 
Open Daily starting June 1, 2019

Keystone, SD
– Opened May 15, 2019

Vinton, IA
– As of now the school remains closed. The School for the Blind was combined last year with the The School for the Deaf and they moved to Council Bluffs (which honestly I still don’t understand how that was legal).

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.

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June 2019 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

Stuffed bulldog head
Good Dog “Jack”

June is the start of summer and that’s when events at the homesites spring into full gear.

Independence KS

Prairie Days – Saturday, June 8, 2019 10am-5pm

Burr Oak IA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days  June 21-23, 2019

Spring Valley MN

Ice Cream Social – June 14, 2019 5pm-7pm

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.

June 2019 Presentations

Sarah in 1890s clothes in front of false front building
Sarah at Flindt Garage on Ingalls Homestead

June is a month where you see a lot more events than presentations, but I do have one of this month. Even though I’m not speaking there this year, I want to point out that a conference I often speak at the Country School Association of America (one-room schools) is happening this June. There is still time to register for that one.

  • Roland Public Library – Roland, Iowa – Packing Up – June 1, 2019 – 11:00am

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.

Plum Creek Park Camping

When the Prairie Whispers CoverLooking for a place to camp? Walnut Grove now has an online system to make a camping reservation.

If you don’t want to camp, still consider a visit. You can also get a tour guide booklet called through the museum gift shop.

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 ,    TwitterLinkedInSlideShare,  and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

April 2019 Mentions

Sarah Uthoff in my new studio
Sarah Uthoff in my new studio

I had one major media mention this month. I did an interview with John Small on the local morning radio talk show. Check it out below. I had a few mentions in lists of what’s going on in Sioux Falls that week. The Sioux Falls program was underwritten by the South Dakota Humanities Council. Thank you for our support.

Small, John, host. “Sarah Uthoff – Getting to Know the Real Laura Ingalls Wilder.” John and Heidi Show. Sunny Radio. 2 Apr. 2019. www.spreaker.com/user/bigjohnsmall/805-sarahuthoff-gettingtoknowthereallaur. Accessed 7 May 2019.

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   FacebookTwitterLinkedInSlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

The Big Merino

BIG in the USA

Sarah in front of Albert the Bull Statue

During the mid-20th century America had a bit of a boom in giant cement statues where they suddenly appeared over the country. My personal favorite is Albert the Bull in Audubon, Iowa. There are many others though including Chief Black Hawk in Oregon, Illinois, Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, South Dakota, and the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota. Sadly with the focus on speeding down the Interstate, America no longer creates such fun stops.

Australia seems to have gotten the bug a bit later. Their BIG phase seems to have been in the 1980s, but many are currently being refurbished including things like the Big Banana and the Big Prawn.

What really caught my attention though was that they have a BIG MERINO! (Start halfway through the video)

A REALLY BIG MERINO!

Merinos, of course, is the breed of sheep that Father Wilder raised in Farmer Boy. Merinos produce very high quality of wool. If fact if you see a breed of sheep attached to the description of any wool finished goods it’s pretty much guaranteed for it to be Merino. It’s a breed with a lot of positive characteristics. They are considered the best all around breed. (Sheep breeds have normally been bred to a purpose – wool, meat, milk, etc. An all around breed can do well in every category. )

A white sheep Merino breed lying down
Merino

The Big Merino was built in 1985 and it was moved and had a gift shop/exhibit space added under it in 2007. So now you have a Laura Ingalls Wilder reason to visit Australia!

https://www.bigmerino.com.au

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  FacebookTwitterLinkedInSlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

May 2019 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

May is really when Laura Ingalls Wilder season gets started. Most of what happens though is that the homesites open. This year we have several events scheduled. I’m going to do a post about homesites opening later.

Burr Oak IA

New Event – Spring Book Sale 2019 – May 4, 2019
Advent Christian Church Open House (the church by the cemetery at the top of the hill, you drive by the cemetery on the way into town but you have to go through town to reach the parking area and the church)

– May  27, 2019 (Memorial Day) 9:30 am – 2:00 pm

Spring Valley MN

Spring Teas – May 11th (reservations required)

Mansfield MO

May 11, 2019  Justamere Graveyard Workshop [dealing with the cleaning of tombstones]

William T. Anderson

May 30-31, 2019 – Fifth Annual Midwest History Conference, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI

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.