Laura Homesites Open for the Season 2017

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.

Independence, Kansas
Independence, Kansas

2017 Opening Dates

Pepin, WI – Opens May 12, 2017

Independence, KS – Opened March 1, 2017

Walnut Grove, MN – The visitor/gift shop stays open all year round with reduced hours in the off season. April 1, 2017 the ground open and the hours expand to include weekends. They add Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm and Sunday Noon – 4:00pm. May 1, 2017 they expand weekend hours again to Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm and Sunday Noon – 5:00pm. June 1, 2017 hours extend to 10:00am – 6:00pm daily.

Dugout Site normally not open until May, but this year it reopened this week. 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.

Burr Oak, IA – Opened May 1, 2017 MonSat limited hours through May. Hours expand with Memorial Day.

DeSmet, SD –
Memorial Society – Opened limited hours in January – April, expand to Saturday during May, and then go to 7 days a week June 1st.

Ingalls Homestead – Opened Memorial Day Weekend for regular hours 9am -7pm every day with activities from 10am -6pm. 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 1st, 2017

Malone, NY
Opened Sat., May 27, 2017

Spring Valley, MN
Regular hours on Memorial Day Weekend, Sat., May 27, 2017.

Keystone, SD – Opened June 1, 2017

Vinton, IA – Since they are kind of in a different situation, being part of an institution that has to be open all year. They don’t have stated open hours, but will gladly give a tour by appointment. Pat Barr wrote “We  will give a tour any day Monday through Friday. They may call Justin Ruegg at 319-472-5221, Extension 1226 or myself at 319-472-5221, Extension 1110.”

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.

Mary Kopsieker RIP

Mary Making a Corncob Doll
Mary Making a Corncob Doll

I’m sorry to announce belatedly that Mary Kopsieker has passed on. We normally got in contact when there was a Laura event. I was a little surprised she didn’t contact me or show up for Bill Anderson’s talk at Hoover this last Labor Day or respond to my e-mail about it, but I was busy around then so I didn’t think too much about it. I just sent postcard Christmas cards in 2015 because we were busy with our Disney trip so I also didn’t really think it was that important that I didn’t get a Christmas card back which I normally did and postcards aren’t returned if the address is wrong. So I was kind of shocked when I got my Christmas card returned this year and when I searched for her online I found her obituary and discovered that she had passed away August 4, 2015.

http://ottumwaradio.com/mary-kopsieker/

Continued Laura Connection

Mary had been an early visitor to the homesites, going with a friend, and had lots of stories to tell of those early days. One great story was that she had gone to DeSmet for one of the anniversaries and told about taking a tour of the town riding via a hay ride (square bales on a hay wagon). After that friend passed on she didn’t really feel comfortable traveling all that way by car alone so she didn’t go for some time.

She did come with me to the original De Smet event in 2005 and went on the 2007 tour Burr Oak organized to Malone. You might have met her there. She co-presented with me at the Laura themed Hawkeye Doll Club workshop in 2008. My post about that continues to be one of most visited blog posts.  She’s also the one that visited the What Cheer Opera House with me when we were planning the doll club workshop. She attended pretty much every Laura event within a reasonable drive and still presented on Laura at her local school and libraries.

Mary by Memorial
Mary by Memorial

Still Active

She was an avid flutist and continued to travel to the national flute convention each year (by plane which she felt much more comfortable traveling on her own). Since she was still traveling extensively and very active it was quite a shock to find that she had suddenly passed away.

mary-in-pink

Terrible Reminder

This is also a reminder for all Laura collectors that you need to make arrangements for your collection officially in your will or go ahead and pass it along as you get older. Her Laura collection didn’t go where she had always said she was going to leave it and my guess is – since her family didn’t care anything about Laura – that it got pitched or was included in her estate auction which probably also lead to most of it being pitched. So don’t let all the work you put in gathering your Laura collection go to waste. Tell your family where you want it to go with contact information and spell it out in your will – I have.

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.

Trip to DeSmet 2016 Day 3

This is my fifth and final report from my July 2016 DeSmet, South Dakota trip. This time I shared it on Twitter. The photos are links instead of showing full because I use Instagram so I can cross share it easily across multiple platforms.
See all the trip photos in one place
https://www.instagram.com/sarahsuthoff/

Ingalls Homestead Sign Rest Area
Ingalls Homestead Sign Rest Area

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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.

Trip to DeSmet 2016 Day 1 Part 1

In the PIONEER Kitchen With Laura

This last weekend, July 8,9,10 2016, I took a trip to De Smet, South Dakota. They had me speak at the Ingalls Homestead. I did a brand new variation on my “In the Kitchen With Laura” presentation. I created a pioneer version of the popular program, complete with brand new dasher churn!

Share Your Trip

Over the years I’ve done everything from blog posts to podcasts to videos to share my Laura Ingalls Wilder trips. This time I tried something new. I tweeted it under the hashtag #LIWTrip16 If you’re on twitter, tweet your Laura Ingalls Wilder trips at the same hashtag and keep it going!

I’m going to spread the tweets over a few posts. I posted the photos on Instagram because it’s easy to share them on multiple platforms at once, but clicking on the links will bring them up.

Tweets Batch 1

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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.

Dunn plein air event slated

The Harvey Dunn Memorial Society is hosting a plein air event Aug. 14-16 at the Ingalls Homestead. The society is inviting artists of all experience levels to come and paint in the open air with natural light (the French term is plein air). There is no registration fee for artists. The event is open to the public without charge. A wet sale will be held Aug. 16 at the Homestead. If you want to participate , call 1-800-880-3383 and ask for Cheryl or Diane. Sponsoring the event are the Dunn Society, the Homestead, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society and the South Dakota Art Museum of Brookings.

Besides Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, Harvey Dunn is the other big name associated with De Smet. He was an artist of some note. He was best known as an illustrator and was one of the leaders of his field. He also was one of a half dozen artists chosen to be an official government artist during World War I and was for many years a professional artist mentor of some note. The newly formed society is among other things supporting art projects in De Smet.