Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Places to Visit ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove

Travel has  and always will be a favorite thing for me to do and post about and today I thought I'd fall back and pick up a post I hadn't shared from last autumn ~ a visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum, in Walnut Grove, Minnesota...

Timeline of world happenings which the Ingalls family would
have heard about by reading newspapers ~ those day's "internet."

The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum and learning center in Walnut Grove, Minnesota is housed in two main buildings. As you enter the first, you step into a large welcome center which houses an extensive bookstore and gift shop selling boxed sets of the Little House series of books written by Ms. Wilder.

The Little House books printed in various languages on display ~ love the French version of Little House on the Prairie (directly center)! On the right next to it is On the Banks of Plum Creek written in German with By the Shores of Silver Lake written in Spanish. The two left hand books are written in Dutch (think Holland), I believe.

Individual books from the series are also sold along with colorful calico prairie bonnets, aprons, tin cups and other memorabilia ~ all items enthusiastic readers would love to bring home as keepsakes from their special time playing "little house."

This is a perfect place for teachers and homeschool families to take students as everything is interactive and geared towards studying the pioneering farm life.

The bookshop has every book written about Laura's life and family including several books which talk about the harsh realities of the real life the Ingalls family actually lived.  Books about other celebrated Minnesota pioneers and first settlers, local birds and wildlife, and other topics are also available for sale giving readers a well-rounded education about life in Minnesota.

Can you spot the little iron which would have been used to press
one's laundry?? ;)

After purchasing your ticket and following a pathway outside, you'll gain entry to a two-room house set up much like what Ms. Ingalls and her family would have lived in during their travel days as pioneers.  The enclosed porch and front room display items from the 1870's through the early 1900's ~ items which would have been used in daily life for keeping house like this stove above.

Several years ago I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in DeSmet, South Dakota. Both are great places to take your children to learn about life and growing up during the Westward Expansion and pioneer years of the 1870's through the 1890's.

I didn't do a write-up at the time and I am not sure why but I did share about the prairie and some of the places to stay there in DeSmet and you can read about that here.

Sorry these are so dark! It was a rainy Minnesota day and these outbuildings were not lighted. I love this little school house moved to the property! This is exactly how schools were built and fashioned back in the 1870's and 1880's.

The house is put together as a home-style museum with many cooking items like sad irons, kettles for cooking over an open fire when traveling across the vast open prairies, and frying pans. Various tools which would have been used for taking care of livestock are also on display. Something I find interesting is that back then tin buckets were multipurpose items used for milking the family cow then taking lunch to school.

Laura's actual writing desk and other things she owned.

I believe this is the Braille Bible which was used in the
Little House series on television during the 1970's and 1980's.

 Some items actually owned by the Ingalls family are on display and are showcased behind glass for everyone to see. 

In the second large room, the rear attached building, this room was dedicated to items from the Little House on the Prairie t.v. show from the 1970's starring Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, and Melissa Gilbert as Laura.

Love this 1970's era US Postal Service advertisement!

Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder are also on display in this room.  Printed in 40 languages I enjoyed looking at all the title covers as trying to decipher each one in their native writing! (See above)

Since this is a living history museum of Minnesota, war memorabilia is also on display in another room or building, I can't quite remember.

My son Peter and DIL Justine checking out the clothing to try on.

Veterans and their families have donated many of the items on display from WWI and WWII, mainly. Quite a nice display to learn about who served during the wars and in what campaigns they fought.

Quite fascinating to see history come alive!

Beyond the little house are a school building, church and some other living history buildings. A few leftover plants were still in bloom in mid-October. The one is a wild broccoli that came up on its own according to the caretakers inside. 

Local eateries are nearby too for lunch and the depression along Plum Creek still exists to the right of where I was in this photograph.  A short drive and then a short walk will take you to see the site ~ my photo next to the creek is about a 1/4 mile from where the Ingalls sod home was dug into the creek bed.

A little bright color at the bookshop's entryway ~ seen on our way out.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove is really a fun place experience to what it must have been like to live like Laura Ingalls herself!

I highly recommend a visit there for yourself and your children and grandchildren ~ the history is fascinating and I loved seeing all the memorabilia and props from the television series.  Really a fun time!

On a side note...

A Little House on the Prairie Birthday Party

I HAVE to share this recent post from my friend Laura Ingalls Gunn of Decor to Adore as her daughter Alyssabeth was just the prairie belle of the ball at a young girl's birthday party ~ this is a post YOU CANNOT MISS! 

Laura Ingalls Gunn is a direct descendant of Charles Ingalls brother James Lansford Ingalls and has been to several events as a representative of the Ingalls family, and you can find more as she writes about the costumes she creates and events here.

For more information you can follow any of the Laura Ingalls Wilder websites listed here.  I have followed the DeSmet site for years now and each place Laura actually lived has interactive living history museums.

The DeSmet museum hosts a Little House on the Prairie pageant each summer with other activities at several sites around the town of DeSmet, South Dakota. The cost for each activity and to enter the museum is minimal and a great way for children to learn about pioneer times in the area!

Here is a sweet site by Sarah S. Uthoff talking about the Ingalls Family ~

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museums

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove, Minnesota
330 8th Street, Walnut Grove, MN 56180 -- 800.528.7280

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, DeSmet, South Dakota ~ tour a living history schoolhouse and tour other buildings brought to the museum site along with the final home on 3rd Street of Caroline and Charles Ingalls. The DeSmet cemetery is only a mile+ away as well as Laura and Almanzo's first farm site, written about in The First Four Years

*Remember, everything had to be within walking distance though most folks had a horse and wagon ~ something that floored me when I went to DeSmet and saw how close everything was.

Sharing with
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Happy travel trails!


  1. What a lovely post Barb! I was last in Walnut Grove when Sweet Guy was 3. You've brought back such fun memories. I will be working with Girl Scouts this next Tuesday at the Farmers Branch Historical Park. It's a joy. :)

    1. Fun!!! I am so glad that you are able to represent the family ~ what a treat for anyone who wishes to have a Laura Ingalls Wilder party. <3 Happy to help share!

      Love and hugs,
      Barb :)

  2. PS. Happy Moving! Please let me know once you are home. I can bring you a meal, help unpack, etc.

    1. We are home but this weekend I am with my MIL Gini in Corsicana for a Rebekahs Assembly for Grand Lodge. Back at it on Wednesday when we are back. There are a TON of boxes in my craft room. It would be fun to have you over in about a week ~ lunch and rearranging that room. Need to build out the closet better, too. ;)

      Barb :)

  3. Well, I loved the Little HOuse books so I'd love this. (And I love today's Laura, too -- that was a good post!). LOoks like a great time.

    Good luck with the moving and resettling -- I know it's a very exciting time for you!

    1. Thank you, Jeanie! I am BEAT but feel better that we are totally out of California with our household goods. Better to have them all here so we can sort through them and figure out what to keep, what to let go. ;)

      Thank you for the well wishes!
      Love and hugs,
      Barb :)


I am so glad you stopped by today! I appreciate your leaving me a comment, thank you.

Happy hugs to you,
Barb :)

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