A Winter Taste of Midwest History

Pioneer life in the Midwest is a subject of enduring interest for school children and adults alike. Living history museums in every state make that history come alive. Most often these exhibits are housed in historic buildings—homesteads with barns and houses, for example, or settlements with churches, shops and schools. Volunteers in period dress demonstrate the activities of daily living from a certain era.

Although living history museums operate at peak levels during the warm months, many of them don’t fully close in the winter.

At Living History Farms, in Urbandale, Iowa, the resident seamstress is busy making and mending the workers’ clothing. Learn more about her activities here.

Living History Farms also offers a variety of historic dinners and teas from October through March. Experience the menus and methods of cooks from different time periods, and stick around afterward to play parlor games or tour the dairy farm by lamplight. Learn more here.

Conner Prairie, in greater Indianapolis, holds Hearthside Suppers. Spend an evening preparing and eating an authentic 19th Century dinner at the 1823 Conner House, with the help of costumed interpreters. Reservations required, of course.

The Oliver Kelley Farm, near Minneapolis, has several winter workshops scheduled, including “Stock to Soup” and “Plan Your Vegetable Garden”.

Mahaffie Farmstead in Olathe, Kansas, offers stagecoach rides, weather permitting. You can also see blacksmithing, soap making, and maple syrup demonstrations, among other activities.

When winter begins to feel endless, consider spending a little time at a living history museum near you. Not only will you learn something new, you might also gain a new appreciation for central heat and running water.

Stagecoach at Mahaffie Farmstead

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