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Museum musings

June 11, 2008 - Cindy Votruba
In the last two weeks, I’ve been to two of the area’s museums, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and the Yellow Medicine County Historical Museum. I’ve been to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum several times since I’ve moved to Marshall nine years ago. This was the first time I’ve stepped inside the YMC Historical Museum. It is definitely chock full of stuff. From 8,000-year-old bison bones to a bicycle ridden by a judge who tallied 150,000 miles before he was 78 years old. Currently, the museum is next to the Minnesota River, which caused it to flood back in the big floods of ‘97. Several artifacts were lost. But what is still there is amazing, from old band uniforms to a couple of sleighs. Photos of those who shaped Yellow Medicine County. I only spent a short time in there, but I know it’s a place I want to take my parents someday, if they ever venture out here again. The last time they were here was in 2000, after the tornado struck Granite Falls. We were going to check out the damage, but ended up going the other direction on state Highway 23 to Pipestone and went to that instead.

I’m usually at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum once a year, if not more. Mainly if I’m doing a story or just want to swing by and say hi to Amy and Nicole. The gift shop always has a nice spicy smell. Sometimes I’m tempted to buy a book or two, maybe a jar of Prairie Smoke barbecue sauce made by a class at Westbrook-Walnut Grove High School.

There’s been a few changes at the museum since I’ve last been there. Heritage Lane has less tools and other items on the wall. A barn display was created, using wood from an actual old barn. The exhibits stand out more. There’s also an old wooden telephone booth from the days gone by in Walnut Grove.

Last week I spent almost two hours with a group of veterans from the Walnut Grove area for a story I did on a veteran’s display at the museum. The exhibit has photos of 90 area veterans from the Civil War to today. It was cool to hear the stories from the different eras: World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Although I misheard a few of the details, such as airforce base names and the name of an infantry, I was just so excited to write the story once I got back from Walnut Grove. There are veterans who are willing to share their story, but there are others who are hesitant. As one of the veterans said, “It’s crazy that this world is never without war, it never ends.”


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