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.

Advertisements

My Trip to De Smet 2017 Day 2 Part 1 July 14

I hope you enjoyed Day 1. Here is the first part of Day 2.

I got up early on Friday and redid my blog post featuring my podcasts about the event and published it. The wireless was completely unstable and fairly unusable the night before. I was staying at the Super Deluxe Inn and I’ve never had that happen before.

We had breakfast there in the hotel and this time brought along some bakery of own to add back in our room. Bakery is something their breakfast is lacking so you might want to bring along some on your next trip. You can even keep them in the refrigerator. (FYI it was pumpkin bars.)

I was hoping to head over first thing, but spent a lot of time chatting to people I know instead. The schedule seemed like things would start at 9am so I headed over about then. I was concerned about getting parked in if I drove having no idea how many people would show up. I had driven around the night before and realized it was just 3 blocks from the hotel to the event area by the Surveyor’s House. So I walked over from the hotel and that worked rather well. If you’re doing a full tour including a drive over to the Third Street House, you’ll want your car, but it was a nice walk. Here’s is the street sign for the corner you turn on to get the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society area, Olivet and 4th.

Oliver St #desmetevent

A post shared by Sarah Uthoff (@sarahsuthoff) on

They were still getting set up when I arrived and they got a couple of these great banners.

Great new #lauraingallswilder sign in signing que #desmetevent

A post shared by Sarah Uthoff (@sarahsuthoff) on

Judy Thompson was already on hand signing books and selling prints of her work. Thompson had been an artist in residence at the Homestead National Monument. Her series was displayed at the South Dakota State Historical Society Museum, the same building that houses the SDHS Press. Nancy Koupal saw them there and commissioned Thompson to do covers for the Pioneer Girl series to a set of requirements.

Judy Thompson #PioneerGirl illustrator

A post shared by Sarah Uthoff (@sarahsuthoff) on

Although they spoke a couple of different times each day, people crowded under the tent for each performance by Alison Arngrim and Dean Butler. Here’s the crowd waiting for them to come out.

Waiting Crowd for speakers #lauraingallswilder #desmetevent

A post shared by Sarah Uthoff (@sarahsuthoff) on

Paul Valenti introducing Alison asks “What show has the number 1 fanbase?”

What TV show has number 1 fan base? #lauraingallswilder #desmetevent

A post shared by Sarah Uthoff (@sarahsuthoff) on

Alison as always puts on a great show and managed to look great too despite the hot temperatures.

Alison Arngrim on stage @Arngrim @alisonarngrim

A post shared by Sarah Uthoff (@sarahsuthoff) on

Dean Butler said to remind him never to follow Alison, but he put on just as good a show.

Dean Butler #lauraingallswilder #desmetevent

A post shared by Sarah Uthoff (@sarahsuthoff) on

Me and Pauly Tee who not only takes trips to both TV and real Laura sites, but generously shares his photos online.

Me with Pauly Tee #lauraingallswilder #desmetevent

A post shared by Sarah Uthoff (@sarahsuthoff) on

Judy Thompson talking. One of her most interesting points was that she doesn’t consider herself an illustrator, but a watercolor artist. She seeks to show artistic truth rather than literal truth.

Judy Thompson presenting about illustrating #PioneerGirl. Project #desmetevent

A post shared by Sarah Uthoff (@sarahsuthoff) on

Look for the other report posts 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  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

De Smet Memorial Society Hands On Activities

Surveyor's House
Surveyor’s House

This spring the Laura Ingalls Wilder Society started a new program for school trips.

According to the April 30, 2014 issue of The De Smet News, “The Society has created customized field trips, which allow visitors to choose one out of three different options for each 30 minute session. The length of the tour will depend on how many of the sessions a group chooses to participate in.”

Programs include:

The First School of De Smet has 3 options for an activity there:

  • Surviving the Long Winter – Survival activities like grinding wheat.
  • Writing With Laura – Journal Writing
  • Pioneer School Day – Comparing one-room schools to modern schools

The Discovery Center also has 3 options for an activity:

  • Pioneer Dress Up – Trying on clothes, sew on treadle sewing machine
  • Fund and Games on the Prairie – Play pioneer games
  • I’d Rather Be Hunting – Art of Tracking
Rear of Third Street House
Rear of Third Street House

The Ingalls Home offers these 3 options:

  • If You Can’t Stand the Heat – Ma chores like hauling water and corncobs and compare to a modern kitchen
  • Meet Mary, Laura’s Sister – Learn Braille and do beadwork without vision
  • Family Game Night – Families play pioneer games together

They shared photos from one such tour group on their blog:
http://discoverlaura.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/school-field-trip-fun-at-the-historic-homes-of-de-smet

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 acting 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.

A Round Up of Articles About De Smet SD

Surveyor's House
Surveyor’s House

Last year I decided that I need to make it easier to find articles on certain topics and it was time to hold a good old-fashioned round up. I got Pepin and Independence done and then I got distracted with other projects and topics. I still think it’s a good idea so I’m picking up where I left off.

These posts are all about De Smet, South Dakota, the Little Town on the Prairie and Pheasant Paradise.  De Smet is the county seat of Kingsbury County and so it is a fairly large small town with multiple restaurants and hotels.

Today Show Segment on De Smet 2011 (link to video still good)
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/today-show-segment-on-de-smet

Rain Follows the Plow
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/rain-in-de-smet

Blizzards in De Smet 2010
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/blizzards-in-de-smet

Celebrating Laura’s Birthday
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/celebrating-lauras-bday-de-smet

LHoP: the Musical Press Conference in De Smet
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/press-conference-in-de-smet

Family Tree Hunt Leads to Laura
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/family-tree-hunt

The Year Was 1880
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2008/12/12/the-year-was-1880

Aubrey Sherwood
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/publisher-honored

Memorial Society

50th Anniversary of Society 2007
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2007/07/03/50th-anniversary-celebration-in-desmet

Garth Williams Illustrations Added
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/de-smet-adds-to-illustration

Jeopardy Appearance
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/jeopardy-uses-wilder-memorial-society-photo

Laura Lore History
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/laura-lore-spring-summer-2010

Old De Smet Photos Donated
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/old-de-smet-photos

Signed Copies of the Little House Books Donated
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/signed-copies-donated

Updates and Improvements from De Smet 2013
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/wilder-society-update

Horse Drawn Wagons at Ingalls Homestead
Horse Drawn Wagons at Ingalls Homestead

Ingalls Homestead

Harvey Dunn Plein Aire Event 2009
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/dunn-plein-air-event-slated

Harvey Dunn Plein Aire Event 2010
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/report-on-plein-air-event

Harvey Dunn Plein Aire Event 2013
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/de-smet-news-reports-on-plein-aire-event

Pageant

The Book That Changed Your Life 1999
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2007/03/13/this-american-life-radio-show

Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant on Dakota Life
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/laura-ingalls-wilder-on-dakota-life

Attendance Numbers 2009
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/de-smet-pageant

Pageant Receives Grant 2009
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/de-smet-pageant-receives-grant

Prairie Time Machine 2010
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/prairie-time-machine

Dakota Fairytale 2010
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/a-dakota-fairytale

First Four Years 2010
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/new-pageant-at-de-smet

Cast Updates 2010
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/de-smet-cast-updates

Everyone Comes To De Smet 2010
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/everyone-comes-to-de-smet

Pageant Gets New Director 2012
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/de-smet-pageant-new-director

De Smet Pageant 2012
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/de-smet-pageant-2012-and-beyond

Visits

Presenting 2011
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/programs-in-de-smet-sd

Roving Report 2011
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/roving-reports-from-de-smet-sd

Kingsbury County Courthouse

Receives Grant
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/kingsbury-county-gets-grant

Visitor Information

De Smet Catholic Church
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/de-smet-catholic-church

Disc Golf Course Funded
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/disc-golf-coming-to-de-smet

Elm Trees
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/elm-trees

Get Out and Walk
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/get-out-and-walk

Giant Windmills
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/giant-windmills

Grain Elevators
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/grain-elevators

Kingsbury Country Club Under New Management 2012
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/country-club-management

Pack Your Bug Spray
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/pack-your-bug-spray

Prairie Manor Under New Management 2009
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/prairie-manor-continues-under-new-owners

Tornado Weather
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/tornado-weather

Train Tracks Improved – Take Care On the Tracks
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/de-smet-update

Weather Extremes
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/weather-extremes

Videos

Cottonwood Memorial Site 2009
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crLgHPhoKFc

De Smet Visit Video 2010
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/08/01/laurapalooza-trip-video-diary-last-day-part-1

LauraPalooza 2012 Trip De Smet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_NlsBa0hTs

Laura on Dakota Life
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/laura-ingalls-wilder-on-dakota-life

Old Settlers Day

Old Settlers Day Threatened
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/old-settlers-day-in-question

Old Settlers Day Back On
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/old-settlers-day-back-on

Manchester SD

Manchester Tornado Anniversary
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/manchester-tornado-anniversary

Manchester Compromise Reached Over Building Blocking Memorial
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/manchester-sd-compromise

UPDATED September 17 2016: I updated my signature block, but that’s about all I needed.

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

 

 

Wilder Society Update

There was a great article this week in The De Smet News. Remember you can buy individual issues in paper and subscriptions online. Read all about it in The De Smet News. Also, just this week The De Smet News is now on Twitter and Facebook, be sure to follow and like them.

Tritle, David. “Wilder Society Completes Two Large Projects.” The De Smet News 21 August 2013: 1. 479063488

The Society reports on three projects:

  • They’ve declared the first school of De Smet, South Dakota renovation complete. There is a photo, although what is shown in the photo is the teacher desk covered with artifacts and the wall behind. I wish they’d shown a wider view. What’s in the photo looks about like it did last year when I visited. I’m glad they’ve kept some of the original stuff including the blackboard they found underneath the wallpaper. I can’t wait to visit again and see what they’ve done.
  • Director Cheryl Palmlund has declared the Garth Williams illustration project is closed. The original goal was $30,000. They raised $82,000 instead and used the money to purchase 62 original drawings.
  • The last project is a long term goal. They plan on working on the South Dakota State University Department of Architecture in Brookings, SD to create plans for a new exhibit center.

Find all the De Smet news that’s fit to print in the De Smet News.

Sarah S. Uthoff is 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 acting 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.

De Smet Pageant 2012 And Beyond

This year I finished up my LauraPalooza trip with a brief stop in De Smet, South Dakota. Any stay in De Smet is too brief in my opinion (in fact I’ve

Hay Barn at Ingalls Homestead

started a new game with my mother when she starts to complain about something, I ask her “You know where that doesn’t happen?” and she actually guessed I was going to say De Smet the very first time I did it). This really was a flying visit just over 24 hours. I breezed into town (to use a good Rose phrase from Faces at the Window) and was just barely late for my meeting with a camera crew (watch this space for more on that) and after they were finished with me ended up spending a good chunk of time at the Ingalls Homestead catching up with many old friends both on the Homestead

Horse Drawn Wagons at Ingalls Homestead

staff and LauraPalooza people coming through. After the conference, it was nice to be able to just sit and enjoy the prairie winds and the clip clop clip clop of the horses hooves.

After getting checked in at the hotel and hitting Subway for supper (I really wanted Dairy Queen, but there was a super long line I didn’t want to spend time waiting in, so I settled for Subway sandwich and the best iced tea in De Smet). Then I retreated to my motel room and I worked some more on the paper that was due that night that I thought I’d have finished before this (I did get it sent in before the Midnight deadline – got an A-) and then headed out to the pageant grounds.

As I mentioned in my post about the Walnut Grove pageant this year, I’ve long advised people if they were doing one pageant Walnut Grove-De Smet pageant, to do the other one too. They are such different experiences and so close geographically that once you’ve made the investment to get to one, it’s just sort of silly not to go that little extra to do both.

Old Laura Narrates

If you’re planning on going to the De Smet pageant (Walnut Grove and De Smet coordinate pageants the first three weekends in July, but Walnut Grove no longer does a Sunday performance), I’d recommend that you start planning now. This is primarily due to Walnut Grove where early reservations are the key for both hotel stays (there aren’t any motels or even bed and breakfasts in Walnut Grove proper so getting a reservation close by requires early action) and seats at the pageant. In De Smet itself early reservations are not that important. There are two hotels and an assortment of bed

Interpretive Dancers Represent the Blizzards
Interpretive Dancers Represent the Blizzards

and breakfasts both in town and close by, I have still known the town to be fully booked, but usually even a week or two notice will get you a room somewhere, guaranteeing you get a room at the particular place you want might require earlier action, particularly if you want to stay at one of the bed and breakfasts. There is no reserved seating for the pageant. Instead cement blocks and boards form benches. I strongly recommend bringing along lawn chairs and you are invited to set them up in the large gaps between the rows of benches so you can get good seats right down front with them. Before the pageant visit the What-Not Gift Shop which always has some unusual souvenirs (the pin I have that was replica of the one Almanzo gave Laura for Christmas one year was purchased there), snag a wagon ride with your ticket that they give you at the gate

Rear of Third Street House
Rear of Third Street House

( I’ve done it as a adult, but it’s really set up for children physically, I’d leave it to them and give  a kid your ticket for an extra ride), check out the incredible collection of antique farm equipment (back near the gate), get your photo taken at the photo board (thank you pageant people for changing the angle of the board, the last 2 times it’s been against the sunset and impossible to get a good photo there, this time they turned it so the sun wasn’t a problem), and be sure to get a bag of popcorn at the concession stand (this year they also added Long Winter snow cones which were just inspired).

This year was a different experience for a couple of reasons. The weather this year left the pageant grounds almost bug free, a remarkable accomplishment with the Big Slough right there and probably mainly due to the earlier start time and

Audience Volunteers Participate in Pageant
Audience Volunteers Participate in Pageant

the extremely dry weather this year. It was also the warmest I’ve ever been at a pageant. I changed into sweat pants like normal and took along my sweatshirt and blanket, but I really didn’t need them. Instead of getting chilled I was actually hot throughout the performance which was definitely a new experience. It was also strange because with the new earlier start time and the relatively short length, the sun hadn’t finished setting when the show ended. This was definitely a different experience because normally I love to sit there and look up and see the stars. I missed that. I could see how it would be easier on people with little kids, but I wish it could have gone at least a little longer (split the difference at the half hour?). Unlike Walnut Grove that uses the darkness as a definite part of its special effects pallet, the darkness isn’t nearly as important to De Smet, but I think it does add something to the sense of intimacy and eavesdropping on the Ingalls Family which I’ve always felt was truly the hallmark of the De Smet pageant and I can’t help but wish it went at least a little while after dark.

For those of you that haven’t heard the pageant this time was The Long Winter. So good gripping stuff right there. They have announced that where previously if they liked a script they might keep it the same for 2 or even 3 years, now they are going to regularly flip through the books (a different one each year in order, skipping The First Four Years which didn’t do very well as a pageant) in hopes of making it easier for families to plan to come and see them all. Certainly a worthy ambition and one I hope will bring increased attendance. I’m also pleased to report that their collaboration with theater professionals is definitely continuing to show for the better. I’d say it was a better overall performance than the last time I saw The Long Winter. Performances were good, the pace and plot were good. There wasn’t much gratuitously stuck in and nothing that stood out like a soar thumb (in one year’s show “Laura” wore short sleeves and a scooped neck all the way through the winter). This was the show they started the pageant with (based on the Hallmark radio show script) and I have postcards from the 1970s with them pulling similar props out of a similar barrel, so they are very familiar with this story.

Although I question the need to have an old Laura be the narrator in every pageant (which seems to have developed in the last few years) and

Surveyor's House
Surveyor’s House

would hope if they were going to put her in they would flesh it out a little bit – was I the only one wanting an older Almanzo to show up and pester her and for her to be a little bit more of a character and not just a voice if she is going to be there?  – I have to say she was the most effective I’ve seen yet in a De Smet production. For one thing they anchored old Laura in one place (the loft above Pa’s Store building) and kept her there. When her voice started we always knew where to look (instead of having to look all over the large set to figure out where she had popped up this time) and she was clearly remembering and writing the story which was a big plus over when she is just doing random things like dragging out a needlework  project and showing up at seemingly random at different points on stage.  This time old Laura was anchored by a purpose and a physical location which both helped the flow of the production.

The thing that probably sticks out the most in this production was the representation of the blizzard snows by dancers in white dresses who danced in dropped scarves to represent the drifts and left. It’s been a couple of months since July and I still haven’t decided if I liked them or not yet. It was definitely a physical representation that would be hard to do any other way. I definitely did like that when the spring came they danced back out and picked them up again. It made a nice cycle, but it was so different than the rest of the production, kind of like if the ballet dream sequence in Oklahoma, but instead of one big bit of different, it was broken up into parts and scattered throughout the show, that I just can’t make up my mind whether it was truly a help or hurt the suspended disbelief. Likewise the Christmas songs at the beginning to try to set the mood for winter were a nice idea, but I think it would have been better to include the words to 1 or 2 and do a general sing along rather than pull people out of the audience and I think I’d pick songs more on the snow angle, rather than on the religious side. Another thing I really liked was that they pulled kids out of the audience for one scene where they had school. Outfitted with sunbonnets and straw hats they weren’t nearly as completely costumed as the rest of the cast, but I loved the involvement. I’m sure it was something that the kids themselves will never forget and everyone loved the scene, plus it made for a realistic sized crowd without having to have that many more kids make and keep a months long commitment. It was a great idea, well executed.

I’ve seen big improvements over all in the pageant and I’m excited to see what they do next. It’s hard to remember how recently it was that the cast mimed to a audio recording and the cast and crew get better and better each year.

After the pageant I returned to my room, electronically turned in the paper, and turned in for a good night’s sleep. I make it a point to not burn daylight by staying in my hotel room when in a Laura homesite town and while I wasn’t up quite with the birds this time, I still was up early enough to run an errand before meeting Connie over at the Prairie Manor for breakfast. Thanks Jenny for the happiest breakfast in the world. a pancake man. After a lovely time there visiting, I went over to the Memorial Society. Everyone I talked to pointed out the Memorial Society had made changes in the program and I wanted to check them out for myself.

The Memorial Society has actually made quite a few changes in the last few years, some I’m really glad about (I think the yearly display of artifacts is great and while I’d rather actually go upstairs in the Surveyors House, the mirror is actually a pretty clever logistic compromise, and I’m glad to see a lot more use of documents in their displays and signage which are very interesting and rarely seen elsewhere) and some I’m not so glad about (ripping out a really well done and period appropriate one-room school restoration for an OK hands on discovery center, getting rid of furniture actually owned and used by Rose in favor of blank periodish generic bedrooms in the upstairs of the Third Street house).  The major change this time is throughout the route of the tour they have added in hands on stations, these are similar things to the hands on activities that were situation around town last year for their pageant 40th anniversary event. It extends the length of the tour, but I think it’s definitely worth it, especially for making it meaningful for the kids. Adults were encouraged to try the hands on stations too. It wasn’t as a completely different experience as some of the people I talked to led me to believe, these were more add ons rather than a different overall tact or style of tour, but I think the responses I heard reflect how much of a tactile experience even adult Laura fans want and how much being repressed into not touching anything really bothers them. The changes have made a big, positive impression on many fans. If you’ve visited this year, I’d like to hear your impressions of the changes.

After the Memorial Society tour and spending some more time with the temporary exhibit, I headed over to the Loftus Store which always has something new and different and I got my favorite new T-shirt of the trip there (which is actually usual several of my all time favorite shirts are from the Loftus Store). One more stop at the De Smet News and I paid up my yearly subscription (I love having real business in town, it makes me feel much more a part of it rather than a visitor). Then one more swing by the Subway for another to go glass of the best iced tea in De Smet and I was on my way home with one last stop at the ponds outside of town which Connie had pointed out to me were heavily filled with muskrat houses this year. They really were and I’m pleased with the photos I got, look for them when I get my Laura breeds and species program put together.

Jeopardy Uses Wilder Memorial Society Photo

Roland Frank Rydstrom of the De Smet Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society asked me to pass this along.

Please tune in to JEOPARDY Friday, October 26th. A special Laura Ingalls Wilder-related answer/question will be featured in the new episode!

The photo and information JEOPARDY used for this episode was provided by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet, SD, founded in 1957. www.discoverlaura.org

Please see the “show guide” and “when to watch” links on the JEOPARDY site AND check your local listings to find out when to watch the new episode airing tomorrow. (Not the repeat.) http://www.jeopardy.com/showguide/whentowatch/?Pick=SD#showResults

THANKS for watching, and please spread the word to other Laura and LITTLE HOUSE fans!