Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 19, 2018

Heritage Museum a place of recollection and exploration

Sep 05, 2017
Photo by: Grace King Five-year-old Aiden Edmonds explored the Heritage Museum Exhibit on the Old Threshers grounds on Saturday, Sept. 2. His father Daniel Edmonds said that Aiden is fascinated by “this stuff” and they have traveled across the country to explore history.


By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


While 5-year-old Aiden Edmonds stood transfixed by the 19-Century cast-iron coal stoves at the Heritage Museum Exhibit on the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion grounds on Saturday, Sept. 2, Jennie Ahlf was reminiscing about her great-grandmother’s kitchen.





“Life was simpler back then,” said Ahlf, of Letz. “It was more family-oriented. People don’t visit anymore. The world needs to slow down a little bit.”

The Heritage Museum featured “Women Partners on the Land.” It was an exhibit on the Old Threshers grounds from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. Ahlf strolled through the displays with her sister, Anna Perkins, and nephew, Stuart Perkins, who examined the baby carriages and old keyboard with both interest and familiarity.

While for Edmonds, everything was new, Ahlf, although not alive at the time of cast-iron stoves and fountain pumps, had more practice with the “simpler” way of life.

Ahlf and her husband began participating in “rendezvous” in the 1980s, where they would pitch tents and lodges across the country to “re-enact” living in the late 19-Century. Rendezvous are re-enactments that take place across the country where anyone can come and participate in the time period chosen. From Iowa to Montana to Wisconsin, Ahlf and her husband and children cooked on an open fire, slept on beds in a circle and would “just lay there and watch the fire going.”

Twelve-year-old Trenton Heiseorffer, of Brighton, said that although he thinks it’s cool to see how people used to keep house, he couldn’t imagine ever living the way they did in 1890. His 13-year-old sister, Leigha Heiseorffer said that she only comes to the Heritage Museum Exhibit “because they drag me.”

And while the Heiseorffers find the museum simultaneously fascinating and uninteresting, 5-year-old Edmonds stopped at each artifact, asking his parents questions and examining the objects he could with the intensity of an historian.

“This way,” Aiden pointed, as his parents Daniel Edmonds and Denis Taylor followed close behind.

Daniel said that he and Taylor had spent the summer traveling across the country with Edmonds in tow, visiting museums like the Heritage Museum. As Aiden pulled on the handle of a fountain pump, Daniel said that his son had always been “obsessed with this stuff.”

As for Ahlf, she gave up the rendezvous lifestyle when her husband died two years ago. She had no one to pass the tradition on to, but being at Old Threshers brought back a lot of memories.

“I always thought I wanted to live this way, in the early 1900s,” Ahlif said. “But you worked from sun up to sun down. I just find it nostalgic,” she said.

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