Pioneer Kitchen Gets a Makeover

Volunteers put the shutdown to good use.

On the second floor of the Western Heritage Center, visitors will find our Pioneer Kitchen where we display a wide range of artifacts depicting life for women in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. This display includes both a wood and an oil

Prairie Kitchen

Our pioneer kitchen is on the second floor and contains items that you may have found among settlers in the late 1800’s.

cookstove, a cream separator and butter churns, a Hoosier cabinet, a player piano, and a baby cradle made from an old oak barrel.  We are making good use of this time while we are closed to the public to enlarge this display.  By stealing space from the main display floor, we are adding approximately 100 square feet to the Pioneer Kitchen.

Perhaps it is due to the decades of movie and TV Westerns, but the contributions and the hardships of women in the early West are often ignored in favor of the more dramatic lives of men on the open range.  Our Kitchen attempts to show both the difficulty and the rewards of being a woman during this era.  By enlarging this display space, we will be able to show more of how women contributed to the success of settling the West, not just by putting food on the table, but by how they raised their children, raised livestock, made the family’s clothing,  entertained the family, and contributed to the economy of the farm or ranch.

Our first step will be to relocate the row of shelves which separate the Kitchen from the saddle and brand display on the main floor area.  The wall will be moved closer to the doorway leading to our Library.  This means moving our 100-year-old hand

Our more than 100-year-old loom was used to make many items from wool that was produced locally.

made loom closer to our sheep shearing display on the other end of the floor.  That display is also slotted for a redesign.  Once the loom and shelving are moved, we will need to fully inventory the items in the Kitchen and compare those items to similar items in storage to determine which items best fit out new design concept. We will also be considering a new name for the display to reflect women’s role in western settlement better that just focusing on the kitchen.

After current items are considered, the hard part begins. What items don’t we have that would add to the story we are trying to tell and where will we get them?  That’s where you come in.  We will be developing a wish list of things that would make our display better and will be posting that list on our website and Facebook as soon as it’s compiled.  We are all spending a lot of time at home during this era of social distancing and now would be a perfect time to hit the basement or barn and open those old boxes that came from grandma’s house years ago.  You may have a treasure in one of those boxes that would be perfect for our display.  In the meantime, please give us a call or an email if you think you might!

Visit our Pioneer Kitchen page.