Have you ever been to the Stuhr Museum? It’s a wonderful museum dedicated to educating visitors about the pioneers. They have tons of field trips for kids and, let me tell you, I have been on every. single. one. That’s one of the joys of being homeschooled, I guess!
Actually, I really enjoyed those field trips. The staff do a wonderful job of giving you an idea of what life as a pioneer might have been like. But my favorite times at the Stuhr Museum have always been around Christmas time when they have their ‘Christmas Past & Present’ event.
Sam was sweet enough to take me this year and we had such a good time. All of the roads and paths are lit with lanterns and the buildings are decorated with old-fashioned greenery and bows. Once you step in to one of the houses in Railroad Town, you’re met with the scents of kerosene and woodsmoke, freshly baked cookies, and greenery.
There are opportunities to visit with staff members (dressed in period costumes, of course!) to find out what Christmases would have been like back in the 1800s. You might even be invited to sample some of the ginger cookies they made that evening in the woodstove (definitely take advantage of this – they are amazingly delicious!).
You can even get some of your Christmas shopping done! The mercantile shop in Railroad Town is open for business and offers fun old-fashioned gift ideas, like homemade soaps and candles or home-canned jams and jellies.
One of our favorite parts was watching the blacksmith work in his shop. In about twenty minutes, he fashioned a beautiful Christmas ornament out of a length of metal and one glass marble. The kids that were there were entranced – it was really cute to see their faces as the ornament took shape under the blacksmith’s hands.
I think Sam would have loved the chance to try his hand at the hammer and anvil. It’s amazing to watch techniques from hundreds of years ago still being used today.
If you’re looking for a fun activity to do as a family, this is it! There are tons of activities for kids to participate in, and so much to see and enjoy. Christmas Past & Present is open for the next two weekends at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island. For more information, visit the Stuhr Museum’s website.