Please tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up in Yale, South Dakota and I moved to De Smet in 1975. I have four grandchildren who keep me very busy and entertained.
What do you prefer: coffee or tea?
I am partial to tea.
What is your role at the Historic Homes?
I am the assistant director and am responsible for hiring our tour guides, purchasing items for the gift shop, organizing tours. Basically, anything we need, I’ll do!
How long have you been working at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society?
I started 11 years ago.
Which book in the Little House Series is your favorite?
I like By the Shores of Silver Lake. Since I’ve worked here, my favorite part of the tour is telling the stories from that book while standing in the Surveyors’ house. It makes such a strong impression on people, because it is all real – just like they read in the book. Once, I was giving a tour and a little boy said, “I get it! Laura actually lived here!”
Which book about Laura’s life and legacy is your favorite?
Laura by Donald Zochart. I enjoyed that particular book because it teaches you facts about Laura and her family that you didn’t learn from the Little House books.
What projects are you excited about working on right now?
First, we are restructuring our school field trips to be more hands-on. I think it will be more fun for the students – and for us! I’m really looking forward to the students coming this spring.
We are creating porcelain-like Christmas ornaments for four of the books that will feature illustrations by Garth Williams. We are using the illustrations that we have the original drafts of here in our collection, so I think they will be really special. Eventually, we would like to do one for each book. For the first group, we are doing ornaments from By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, The Little Town on the Prairie, and These Happy Golden Years.
Which of the historic buildings on the Historic Homes tour is your favorite? Why?
I bet that Cheryl said her favorite was the Ingalls Home. (She did; Dianne was right!)
My favorite would be the Surveyors’ House, because it so closely matches the books. When you go into that house during a tour, you realize how little they had. Yet, Laura and the girls thought they were living in two-story mansion! Today, it seems like a very small house, but the Ingalls were so grateful for the little things.
If you were giving a tour of the Historic Homes and only had time to show visitors two artifacts, which two would they be?
First, I would say the Garth Williams illustrations, because they are so closely tied to our community. It is so nice to have them here. I also really like to show people the pipe organ that Ma and Mary played at the church.