Several weeks ago I was able to attend “Prairie Days” an event sponsored by the Cedar County Historical Society and the Old Capitol Museum. Since I knew the event would most effectively cater to young children, I decided to bring the daughter of a friend of mine to the event. Gillie and I were excited to go “back in time” and imagine life of the prairie. Gillie was a step ahead of me as she had attended a Prairie Camp over the summer months. The event was held on the grounds of the Cedar County Historical Society in Tipton. It was a windy day, perfect for imagining the brisk days working and playing on the prairie.
Our first stop was, of course, the little schoolhouse. I was quick the soft spot for historic one room school houses. That would have been no easy task, teaching children of varying ages and trekking through snow, rain, and other weather absurdities just to get to the school house. Remembering my reading of one of the diaries at the Old Capitol Museum, I recalled that many school teachers in Iowa arrived on horseback while the pupils would walk several miles to school! Talk about commitment to education!
When we entered the school house, we were greeted by a volunteer who was displaying a variety of wildlife from the prairie. There was even a buffalo hide! So cool! Gillie and I stayed for a while and rang the bell as we left.
We then followed our noises to the delicious foods available to try including an authentic stew that would warm you on the coldest of days. There was also a butter making station that Gillie and I took part in. The most popular station was the candle making station. It was so popular that, unfortunately, we were unable to participate. Instead we explored the tents used by traveling groups on the prairie. It was interesting to see the way people lived who did not have permanent settlements. Items had to pack easily and be absolutely necessary. The tents definitely kept you shelter from the wind but warmth was still a problem. Lots of layers and blanket helped fight the really cold days.
Overall, we had a really fun afternoon exploring prairie life. I was really happy to see the Old Capitol Museum take part in such a unique event. I hope they continue to do events like this in the future.