ON THE FRONT STEPS of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, a family posed for photos.
Under a Red Cross tent, nurses tended a young boy kicked in the head by a horse.
Inside Pleasant Valley School, students sang “If you’re happy and you know it…” along with their accordion-playing teacher.
Inside Harvest and Heritage Hall, a boy poked at a duck hunter, wondering whether the camouflaged man was mannequin or real.
Next to Mrs. Morris’ front porch, a trio of men visited while the lady of the house peeled apples in her kitchen.
Scenes. Some part of living history activities. Others authentic, in the moment. But all part of the Rice County Historical Society’s annual “A Night at the Museum.”
A near perfect Saturday in October brought families and others to the museum grounds in Faribault to participate in this living history program that seems to grow in popularity every year. It’s an engaging event that includes a local history quest game for kids and plenty of learning and reminiscing opportunities for the adults.
And mixed in with all the education and fun is the building of memories. I expect kids will remember riding in the horse-pulled wagon, searching for the Bruce Smith display to determine the year the Faribault native and University of Minnesota football player won the Heismann Trophy (1941), struggling to walk on stilts and more. One boy may even remember answering an old crank phone to the question, “Would you like to order a pizza?”, posed by my husband on the other end.
I’ll remember, not so pleasantly, the stressed mom who yanked and yelled at her daughter and how I tried to comfort the young girl cowering behind the schoolhouse door. Sometimes life’s moments hurt. But I delighted in finding a scythe I will return to photograph for an author writing a book about Laura Ingalls Wilder. And I was impressed by Gunnar, the friendly and confident elementary-aged boy who informed me that I was landscaping. He was right. I was photographing landscape (horizontal) images with my camera.
Aside from the unsettling incident I witnessed, I observed moments to savor. Moments that become part of an individual’s history, a family’s history, a couple’s history—remember that night we went to the museum…
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling