November 13, 2013

Instilling the youth with Eddyville history

The Oskaloosa Herald


The Eddyville Historical Museum is home to many items, which chronicle the history of the town.

Linda Bonnett, a volunteer with the museum, recently talked about passing on this knowledge of Eddyville's past to the younger generation.

She said those who help maintain the museum go to the elementary school in town to teach students about their history..

“We just try to instill some history and the love of history,” said Bonnett.

They also teach children about the natural history of the area, including the importance of the Des Moines River and why the founders of the town came to the area. Students also get to learn about the Native American population that was once in the area, including things about their dress and their homes.

Children also get a chance to learn about the settlers and what they wore during that era.

Eddyville's first businesses are part of what children have an opportunity to learn about, noted Bonnett.

On alternate years, children are also taken on a walking tour of Eddyville, Bonnett said. Here, the children learn about the older houses in the town, who lived in them and what their professions were. A cemetery and park tour are also provided for Eddyville students.

Also on alternating years, the Eddyville Historical Museum teaches young people about the Civil War history of the area. This is done with the help of area Civil War history organizations, noted Bonnett.

A lot of this learning is done in a hands-on fashion, said Bonnett.

“We do the frying of the fry bread like they would have had,” Bonnett explained. “We do churning of the butter. We show them how they washed on the board or on a rock and how they would have hung their clothes, you know, to dry.”

Bonnett said she's been volunteering with the Eddyville Historical Museum since it started nearly a dozen years ago. After bringing the idea for a museum to the Eddyville City Council, the museum project moved forward at that time, explained Bonnett.

“And, in the meantime, we've continued to collect items pertaining to Eddyville history,” said Bonnett, adding that these items include those from the surrounding railroads, coal mines and farms, as well as businesses. Items associated with the Native American population can also be found at the museum.

Bonnett noted that there were more than 2,000 Native Americans living in the Eddyville area at the time of the town's founding.

So, how do some of the items at the museum end up there?

Bonnett said that oftentimes people going through older items at home want to preserve them, but no longer want to hold on to these things themselves. So, they donate them to the Eddyville Historical Museum.

“Basically, most of it has just been brought in and donated,” Bonnett said.

There is a procedure done for all donated items to verify their authenticity, added Bonnett.

To learn more about the Eddyville Historical Museum, visit www.facebook.com/EddyvilleHistoricalMuseum.


Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.