Photo Policy Change in De Smet

Sarah holding Little House book on the cement porch in front of Surveyor's House
Sarah Outside Surveyor’s House

Then You Couldn’t

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society has had a long standing policy of no photos inside the buildings. The Surveyor’s House, the Third Street House, and the Visitor Center/Museum were all no goes. It was strictly enforced. In fact, one time I got told not to take notes with a digital recorder. When I went in June we were still strictly told NOT to take any photos. The only exceptions being the inside of both the original and replica schools.

This used to be a standard rule in  most museums because they wanted to keep control of images taken there to make sure they weren’t used in a way they’d object to and to encourage you to buy slides and postcards, etc. from their gift shop. There was also a belief that flash photography increased the fading of artifacts inside. Research done by Kodak has shown that was not the case. Slowly now museums, as they want the free advertising of social media, are lifting these restrictions. Where they remain in place, please honor them.

Now You Can

Starting midway through the summer I saw posts of photos from De Smet start coming through my feed. At first I thought maybe it was a special waiver for the anniversary celebration, so I checked with them to get an official response AND I can now officially say the policy changed part way through the season. Photos are now welcome inside all the houses. They didn’t give me an official policy when I e-mailed, but I assume they have one. Ask if you intend to do anything more with the photos than personal use or a short social media post.

Reason to Go Back

So if you were looking for an excuse to plan a trip back to De Smet NOW you have a good reason! I wish I’d have known when I was there for the event in July, but I’d just taken the tour in June so I didn’t go. I would have if I’d have known. I’ll have to be back soon and I hope you will too.

UPDATED September 19 2017: From Museum Director Tessa Flak This summer the Society has started to allow visitors to take pictures inside the museum buildings for personal use only, however, we ask you not to film anything. Also, we don’t allow visitors to take pictures in our exhibit. Please contact the Society if you plan to use our photos for more then personal use. Thank you all for understanding.” I removed references to video from this post after she made this comment on Facebook. The comment is added here with her permission.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. 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. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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T-Shirt of the Month September 2017

When I post my video diaries I always get comments about my Laura clothes. No, not my period dresses, but my Laura Ingalls Wilder t-shirts that I wear for travel and Laura trips. I thought everyone might enjoy a closer look at them. So enjoy our new monthly series where we look at a Laura shirt each month.

Clothes are one of those things that I once kept as a firm line not to cross as part of my efforts to restrict my Laura collection to a reasonable size. That totally failed when I discovered how great it is to have a Laura t-shirt on when traveling. It really makes it feel like your trip has already started once you get in your car.

Shirt of the Month

Here is this month’s t-shirt:

De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt 1
De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt Front

Back of the t-shirt

De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt 2
De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt Back

This time’s shirt is part of a limited edition from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet, South Dakota. This shirt is just offered this year as part of the celebration of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 150th birthday. There was also a special limited edition shirt at Walnut Grove this year. These are always a fun addition to a t-shirt collection.

Close up of cake

De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt 3
De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt 3

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. 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. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

My Trip to De Smet 2017 Day 3 Part 2 July 15

We pick up with part 2 of Day 3 of the trip.

Sarah Uthoff in front of Surveyors House 2017
Sarah Uthoff in front of Surveyors House 2017

I got some good tweets from Alison and Dean’s program today. This was their second program of the day. I’ve heard them separately before and it was so much better when they were playing back and forth.

Dean & @alisonarngrim @Arngrim on stage together is WAY more fun! #DeSmetevent #littlehouseontheprarie

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I loved this line. There were plenty of kids costumes of TV characters in the 1970s, but I don’t really remember seeing many from any TV non-science fiction TV show lately.

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The crowds were just as big or bigger the second show of the second day.

Another great spillover crowd #littlehouseontheprarie #DeSmetevent @Arngrim

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I didn’t get the movie title in the tweet and checking the IMDB, none of Kurt Russell’s sounded right.

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Dean doing riff on when his character broke up with "Laura" about her taking a job #littlehouseontheprarie

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Doug Hansen did a second show that was equally informative about the wagon.

Hansen Wagon demonstration This is really good #DeSmetevent #lauraingallswilder

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Then we got to listen to some more from Bill and Nancy about the history of De Smet and the Pioneer Girl Project.

Now the good stuff William T Anderson and Nancy Koupal #

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I love this quote from Nancy.

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After the presentations were over I drove over to the roads of Manchester. I wanted to visit again. I hadn’t been there since the memorial went up. The memorial and the town pump are still there. If you don’t know, Manchester was where Grace Ingalls Dow and her husband Nate Dow lived. It’s 6 miles up the road from De Smet. Famed artist Harvey Dunn also was from Manchester. The entire town was swept away in an F4 tornado back in 2003.

The roads of Manchester are what I would call a little better than Level B meaning I wouldn’t drive them in bad weather, but they mostly still good and stable although the houses and businesses are almost all gone – a couple remain right on the edges of the town. I drove the entire matrix of roads that showed up on the GPS. They were all still in good shape except the road on the far western end of the grid. This last loop was in questionable condition. I made it fine with the Jeep, but I don’t know if I’d want to try it in a sedan.

Driving the streets of Manchester SD #Harvey Dunn #tornado #GraceIngallsDow

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Afterwards we considered our options and decided our best bet for supper was the Country Club. I hadn’t eaten there under the new management – they used to be known for their long wait times. It also is off the beaten track with just a small sign off the road that leads you from town south to the cemetery. I figured unfamiliar tourists wouldn’t know to stop here. It was quiet, the service was good, and the food was a bit better than the Oxbow, with the exception of the iced tea which the Oxbow still keeps the coveted best tea in De Smet award. Afterwards figuring that most people would be out at the pageant, I swung back around to get some Surveyor’s House photos. Then back to the hotel and the pool.

The next morning I had a leisurely breakfast and made one last quick swing by the Ingalls Homestead. I forgot to say earlier I had also made a swing by the Loftus Store and the De Smet News. The Loftus Store, besides being a Laura site itself, offers different souvenirs than the other homesites. The De Smet News is where you find all the news in town. I always pay my subscription when I stop, so I have a real piece of business to do in town.

I’ve just got to get back there when there isn’t an event so I can do some everyday stuff. I got to say hi to almost all my friends in De Smet and home that I can make it back there soon.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. 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. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

August 2017 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

August is a quieter month than July, but there are still plenty of events to choose from.

Wagon Ride at Pageant
Wagon Ride at Pageant

De Smet SD

The Ingalls Homestead is hosting a Plein Air Event (painting in the open air) in conjunction with the Harvey Dunn Society. Find more details about a previous event. – August 11, 12, 13, 2017

Spring Valley MN

Find more about their events.

Ag Days (town celebration) August 17-20, 2017

Malone/Burke NY

Find more on events.

Aug. 26, 2017— Annual Cultural Festival – Native American Festival!

Celebrating the Native American heritage of the area in the mid 19th century with traditional food, music, dancers, demonstrations, craft vendors, and more!

Keystone SD – Longtime Home of Carrie Ingalls Swanzey

Keystone Area Historical Association always hosts an event on August 3rd, previously this event was held on Carrie’s actual birthday no matter what day of the week it falls on. This will be changing in future.

Heritage Hill – Green Bay WI

Laura Ingalls Wilder Event August 12 & 13, 2017 10:00 am – 4:30 pm– Watch their website for more details.

Genesee Country Village and Museum – Mumford, NY

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days  – August 5-6, 2017 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Watch for their page to be updated with 2017 information

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum – West Branch, Iowa

Hoover’s Hometown Days – August 5, 2017 1:30 pm Christine Woodside of Libertarians on the Prairie and David Davenport of Rugged Individualism to talk about their respective books.

 

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

My Trip to De Smet 2017 Day 2 Part 2 July 14

We continue on during Day 2.

Next was the joint presentation by Bill Anderson and Nancy Koupal. A technical error meant I got to pinch hit and introduce them. They were reading letters from Bill’s book Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then they answered questions. Both Bill and Nancy have been interviewed this year. Nancy told my favorite homesite story both on the podcast and that day.

Nancy Koupal and William T. Anderson

Bill pointed out how the story he was telling took place in that very school, right there and pointed across the road. It really renewed my thrill at being RIGHT THERE.

Bill got me all excited about 1st school again #lauraingallswilder. #desmetevent @discover_laura

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After that there was a break for lunch and then Paul introduced Dean and Alison again.

Paul V introducing Dean & Alison #lauraingallswilder #littlehouseontheprarie #DeSmetevent

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Dean once again spoke. It was based on questions from the audience and while there was some reputation from this morning, there were also different questions. Dean reports even his wife has said, “If only I could meet a man like Almanzo.”

Even my wife says she wants to meet a guy like Almanzo #lauraingallswilder #DeSmetevent

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The crowd once again spilled out of the tent.

This time it was Dean’s turn to go first and Alison followed. One of the most interesting things Alison shares about is the French people’s obsession with the Little House on the Prairie TV show. The interest is so great that Alison has learned enough French that she can do a version of her one-woman show in French. She talks about how “chopping wood like Charles Ingalls” is a phrase used for working hard and how falling down in wildflowers like Baby Carrie is a thing in France.

@alisonarngrim @Arngrim on stage talking about France obsession for #littlehouseontheprarie

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Follow on for more posts.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

My Trip to De Smet 2017 Day 1 July 13

This trip I’m telling my story mostly by Instagram. If you want to see my Laura photos find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and follow. To get the details of this event check out my previous post. It also includes links to two interviews with Dean Butler.

I took a different path than I normally do this time and took I-80 to I-29. On the plus side that meant lunch at the Cracker Barrel. (Note: there is also both a Cracker Barrel and a Sonic in Sioux Falls, SD if you’re looking for good chains you don’t normally get to. Sonic is a drive in.) The bad part was almost the instant we turned on I-29 it was construction all the way until you got past Brookings, SD.

Just finished up lunch and filled up #desmetevent

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A stop at a rest area and we saw horses in the pets area. I tried to get a photo with the pets area sign AND the horses, but the angles just didn’t work.

In the pets area of the rest area

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And remember I told you to find Sonic? We actually bought these in Sioux Falls and took them on to De Smet in a cooler for supper.

Sonic- – getting closer

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With the filling lunch and stopping for a bit in Sioux Falls we actually got to De Smet a little latter than I like to so we checked in, unloaded the car, and went to bed early so we could get an early start the next day.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving 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. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. 

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

De Smet Event 2017

It’s FINALLY here! Today starts the De Smet Event 2017 (July 14-16). Below find links to my interviews about it and other places you might want to know about. I’ve also written up summaries of the interviews if you just want to scan them instead. (Oh and by the way, I looked it up and first De Smet Event was 2005.)

Horses and Covered Wagon
Horses and Covered Wagon at Ingalls Homestead

De Smet Event

I interviewed Tessa Flak back in May. Here’s all the scoop.

Find the Schedule

Dean Butler and Alison Arngrim will start with the paid autographs at 10:30am. They will break at noon and will cut off the line ahead of the break. Everyone who buys a ticket will get signed.

They’re not going to do photos during the signing because they want people to attend the autograph session on Sunday morning with a photo session.

On Sunday they are going to do a Confession from Prairies show with Alison Arngrim. It’s the family friendly version of her show. It will be at 2pm  and include a reception. Tickets are required.

Nancy Koupal is a Memorial Society board member from the 1990s. She’ll talk about the Pioneer Girl Project and Bill might jump in.

Judy Thompson is the artist behind covers of Pioneer Girl and Pioneer Girl Perspectives. She’s present and demonstrate drawing. Her original artwork will be on display.  The prints of the covers are available for sale.

William T. Anderson is the main Laura authority. He’s going to talk about how he got involved with Laura and his history with De Smet.

All programs will be varied so not the same each day.

Programs will be held in a tent in the museum’s park which is besides the city park with the one-room school that serves as a hands on discovery center. The street between the Surveyors House and Gift Shop and the park will be closed.

Dean and Alison signatures will be $6 per item signed. You want six signatures, you need six tickets. There are no official limits on what to sign. If you don’t have anything you want signed, they will have photos available for sale in the gift shop.

At the pageant Dean and Alison will have a question and answer session before the pageant starting at 7pm. They will only take cash and check. The pageant starts at 8pm. There is food available on grounds and a gift shop.

Tip bring own chairs. The food is like what you would find at a high school sporting event.

They will have additional wagons on the grounds this summer. When you go through the gate. You get a prize drawing slip, a wagon riding ticket, a newspaper of the event. They will do a state roll call. The rule is you have to yell for your home state and EXTRA loud for Iowa.

New to the Memorial Society’s collection is the restored 1880s covered wagon and 3 new archival cases.

The gift shop has the Surveyors House Cookie Cutter. There is also going to be a new, updated, and extended edition of the Ingalls Family of De Smet in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the museum.

Dean Butler

I also interviewed Dean Butler about the De Smet event.

Dean Butler was interviewed previously on the show in 2014 in honor of the TV show’s 40th anniversary event.

I was glad to welcome him back to talk about some of his most common “Little House” questions, what signing events are like in general, and what’s going to happen in De Smet in particular.

A note about the sound. It’s a little low so you’ll want to turn it up, but be aware there are a couple places where it will suddenly pop loud. Unfortunately the connection could have been better.

Dean Butler, a died Pepsi person, who played Almanzo on the NBC version of The Little House on the Prairie TV show. He started actin in High School in a production of Once Upon a Mattress. (Fun fact: I was also in a completely different high school production of Once Upon A Mattress – made famous by Carol Burnett – as a unnamed and unnumbered lady in waiting.)

His big break was in a movie version of Forever by Judy Blume. Michael Landon’s daughter was a fan and helped get him an audition. He was hired two weeks before graduation. Later he would appear as Moondoggie in The New Gidget and Buffy’s dad on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was associated with several iconic young woman characters and is honored to have those associations.

He thinks people like the Chicken Cinnamon episode is popular because it’s a good example of Laura’s gumption. Almanzo’s favorite food was really Liver’n’Onions.

Almanzo-Almonzo Dean has finally been convinced to pronounce it Almanzo the clincher being the recording of Laura saying his name. You can buy the recording, it’s called Laura Ingalls Wilder Speaks. Find it at any of the homesite museum giftshops online or in person. He always points out Lucy Lee Flippin was the first to pronounce it that way and he got pounded by fans for pronouncing it wrong from the beginning.

Dean attends a couple of signing events every year. He has 6 scheduled this summer. It’s important to be out there and keep the show alive to pay back the fans for their investment and support. His wife always says he’s going off for another weekend of adoration. One of the best parts of signing is the multi-generational component. He often signs books for daughter-mother-grandmother.

It’s a different signing experience at homesites and much better. Once at a mall a teenager got very aggressive and drew attention to how there really is trust between signers and signee. There is also a balance in signing how to make a connection with each person, but not to let them monopolize your time. Signing body parts doesn’t phase him, but he doesn’t like signing things people probably won’t keep like a wadded up napkin or a ratty piece of paper. He prefers something solid, like a book or a photo.

Dean’s programs are extraneous and focus on his experience with the TV show. The cast mostly gets together at appearances. He has been to the location of the exterior of the show set many times since the show ended. You can really tell where the Ingalls homestead was, but the town site is completely grown over. The last time he was there you could still find some debris from the big explosion and it took him right back to the day they watched it explode. I asked a follow up about the covered bridge with open sides. He says it’s on the Disney ranch. Besides, Little House look for that bridge on shows like The Dukes of Hazzard, Remington Steele, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, NCIS, etc. Those are off the top of my head, feel free to add to the list in the comments below. Keep an eye out for it. Info on visiting the site.