We’re nearing 10 years that I’ve been part of the annual Labor Day Program at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, Laura Ingalls Wilder Remembered. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it’s a free addition during their open hours on Labor Day. Each year I do a different program because many people come back more than once. In fact, it’s often my test ground for new programs. What works there I continue to develop into a regular offering. Such will be the case with this year’s program which focused on the landscape of each place Laura lived and her love for trees, nature, and conservation. I want to pull in more quotes from her pre-book writing and talk more about her work with the tree claim and the orchard, but this is a good start, it brought a good reaction and it’s going to be added to my regular line up of programs as soon as I do just a little polishing.
I was very pleased this the Marengo Civil War Band this year. They added Old Dan Tucker to their line-up and have a good introduction tying to Laura each of the songs they play. They paired Old Dan Tucker with Maryland, My Maryland. I suggested they change it to Dakotaland, Sweet Dakotaland, since it’s the same tune.
They also have guided prairie walks and volunteers doing living history around the various places of the birthplace. I was sorry I didn’t get over to the school which they now let you walk into to do living history, a major innovation for the site. (Before even when giving a program you could only go in a couple of feet until you hit a plastic fence you weren’t allowed to go beyond.)
In addition, both the Hoover display (which I highly recommend) and the temporary display (the Hoover library excels in original temporary exhibits) were available. The temporary one this year, American Mysteries, Riddles, and Controversies features displays on the Kennedy and Lincoln Assassinations, Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, and even on the existence of Big Foot. It’s a great display and if you’ll be anywhere near I encourage you to make it over before the end of October. Afterall this is the only place you can see it and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
P.S. Tomorrow morning I’m leaving for Pepin. 😉