Ohio's largest living history destination offering guests experiences
rich in history, hospitality, creativity and fun!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Make a Difference at the Winter Family Picnics

By Kim Krieger, PR/Media Relations

As Sauder Village reflects on 35 years of bringing living-history to millions of guests, we also look to the future. During difficult economic times, Sauder Village has learned to do more with less while never compromising the overall experience. However, even with many cost saving decisions, we need your help. What began as Erie Sauder’s passion backed by his financial resources is a nonprofit that needs the help of its far-reaching community to keep its mission alive. Maintaining this resource is a labor-intensive undertaking. Although proceeds from admissions,  hospitality, and retail areas support our educational mission, they do not cover the expense of maintaining the living-history village. To keep Sauder Village accessible and affordable for all, we rely on friends, businesses and the community for support. Your gifts truly make the difference!

A great way to show your support is by joining us on Tuesday, February 28th for our annual Winter Family Picnic Fundraiser. A tradition in the community since 2003 Winter Family Picnics allow families to enjoy a delicious meal in Founder’s Hall while supporting Historic Sauder Village and the projects of many other non-profit organizations. This year’s community fundraisers will provide support for the Sauder Village annual fund, the 9/11 Memorial Fund and the Archbold Area Foundation.

From 4:30-7:00 p.m. a hearty meal of Barn chicken, BBQ Pork Sandwiches, potato and vegetable will be available in Founder’s Hall. Cole slaw, dessert salad, rolls and drink are also included and carryout-out meals will be available. This hearty meal is available with a free will donation.

The partner organization for the first Winter Picnic on Tuesday, February 28 is the 9/11 Memorial Fund. The 9/11 Memorial Fund is sponsored by the Fire and EMS Departments, Law Enforcement, and Veterans within Fulton County. The group is seeking donations to support the opening of the 9/11 Memorial at the Fulton County Fairgrounds. The Wauseon Fire Department was selected to receive a steel column from the World Trade Center for use in making a permanent memorial in Fulton County. The 12 foot steel column that weighs 3,615 pounds arrived in Fulton County on June 17. A design for this memorial has been established and the volunteers hope to have the memorial finished in time for the 2012 Fulton County Fair. Your participation in the February 28th Winter Family Picnic at Sauder Village is one way you can help make the 9/11 Memorial possible.

The Archbold Area Foundation is the partner organization for the Winter Family Picnic on March 13. The Archbold Area Foundation is completing 27 years of service to the Archbold community. Over the past five years, the foundation has given $110,438.96 to various local citizens and organizations.

The proceeds shared from both Winter Family Picnics will be directed to the Sauder Village Annual Fund. Gifts to the Annual Fund support the mission of the Historic Village, where history is brought to life with authentic demonstrations, costumed interpreters, talented artisans, and engaging programs that make history relevant for all ages in a wholesome, fun, and family-friendly environment. Historic Sauder Village  allows generations of people the opportunity to spend quality time together as they learn about the history and values that shaped Northwest Ohio. What began as one man's passion relies on support from our local communities to ensure that this historical and cultural treasure can continue to positively impact the lives of many for years to come.

We hope you’ll make plans to join us!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Wonderful Way to Spend My Days!

By Rebecca Landin, Sauder Village Volunteer

My dream as a youngster was to teach history. I eventually did teach but it was Spanish and English.   However, for the last 16 years I have had the pleasure of doing what I had once dreamed of but in an even more exciting way.  It all started because I am a rug hooker. I make traditional hooked rugs as they were made in the 1800s and I attended the first rug week at Sauder Village years ago. I was excited to see that they wanted volunteers to demonstrate the art in the Village (and in period dress!)  And so, I threw together an outfit and signed up immediately to spend part of that first week sitting in the Village Green sharing my craft. That was my introduction to Sauder Village and all the opportunities available to volunteers.  Before long I was coming throughout the season and had a regular spot on the Mennonite House porch.  Needless to say, that first outfit was soon replaced with one that was a little bit more historically accurate and today you will often find me in the summer kitchen of the Stuckey farm.  What a wonderful way to spend my days!  No phones, no demands—just a day of rug hooking and sharing my passion with others.
The guests are always appreciative of the opportunity to learn not just about my rugs, but also about the past as it comes alive in the Village. The children are especially fun as they are never afraid to ask questions or to try their hand at “helping” me with my rug. It is gratifying to know that I am able to give them some insight into life as it was for their ancestors. But they aren’t the only guests that make my days special.  I love sharing stories with the older guests and listening to them reminisce. Every time I hear one of them say “I remember when…” I know another great story is on its way. What a wealth of information they have to share! And every year when a guest steps up and says “I remember you!  You told me about….” it only reminds me that we do make a difference here. Our international guests add another dimension as we discover together that people around the world really share a great deal. While the culture may be different, the needs have always been the same and it is an adventure to discover how the challenges our ancestors faced were also faced by others around the world. 

The guests are not the only reason the volunteer experience at Sauder Village is such a treat. I have met and worked with many other volunteers and staff members over the years. While we don’t have much time to just sit and visit I have developed some wonderful relationships. I have attended workshops to learn more about our history and have had access to the library. I have learned skills and been exposed to things that I would never had experienced if I had not signed up to be a part of the Sauder Village family. And would it be a surprise to mention that I can use my “work” days as an excuse to enjoy just one more item from the Sweet Shoppe or Ice Cream Parlor? 

 My volunteering has expanded with time. I have helped many children (and a few adults!) make corn husk dolls. I work at the Information Table at special events like the Quilt Show and the Woodcarver’s Show and, of course, I am involved with the Rug Hooking Week each year. I have even learned to scan items into the computer program for the museum project (talk about “teaching an old dog new tricks”)!   What a thrill to see up close some of the items in the collection! And I know if I lived closer and had more time there are a lot more opportunities I could take advantage of.

As a retired school teacher I am grateful for my experience as a volunteer. It isn’t just something to help me fill the time.  It is an opportunity for growth—in knowledge and skills, in friendships, and in feeling that the best is yet to come!

GET INVOLVED!  Are you inspired by Rebecca’s involvement at Sauder Village? We’d love to welcome you to the Sauder Village family as well! To learn more about volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved yet this season give us a call at 800.590.9755 or visit our Volunteer Page

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy Gardening!

By Susan Burkhart,
Supervisor of Grounds

Winter is the perfect time to get excited about the summer season ahead. The seed catalogs arriving in the mail provide inspiration about the unique vegetables and flowers you’d like to grow in your garden this summer.
I love that each year the seed bank brings out different seeds from years gone by. The heirloom variety of seeds is endless and the taste of these historic vegetables can sometimes be superior to anything you can buy from the store. For me, heirloom varieties mean lots of flavor. Growers today often have to sacrifice the flavor of vegetables while selecting a variety that can be grown in quantity and easily shipped. These vegetables look great until you take that first bite.

When I started doing research on gardening I found a book from 1905 with details about Fulton County. It was a wonderful book sharing the history of the families living here. The part of the book I found most interesting was the record keeping. The book included details about the weather and a detailed list of varieties of vegetables, crops, and fruit trees. The list of trees growing were categorized by whether they were native or brought here from other parts of the country or even other countries. I’m guessing this gentleman either had little to do outside of gardening or he was just that passionate about keeping wonderful records! Either way, hats off to him for providing such a wonderful treasure for generations to come to stay connected to the past.

You can do something very similar! One thing I do every year is keep a journal throughout the season of what I want to grow and what worked well in our gardens the year before. At this time of the year, I often look back at my journal to see what I grew too much or not enough of last season and make adjustments for the coming year. I keep track of the weather - noting rain amounts, temperature, and how soon I was able to get in the gardens in the spring. You can keep a very detailed journal or keep it simple and just list the varieties you planted. An envelope to put the plant markers in with the year and notes on the outside also works well.

I hope you’ll take time this winter to learn more about heirloom varieties and make plans to include some new plants in your garden this season! To learn more about heirloom varieties, make plans for your garden, and even purchase seeds for this season there are a number of websites I find very useful.
Website resources include:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
R.H. Shumway's
Landis Valley Museum
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange

So get busy and start daydreaming of warmer weather and fresh produce from your garden. Happy gardening!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Before Snowplows and Snow Blowers

By Tracie Evans, Curator of Collections

Although snow has been sparse this year, the most recent snowfall brought to mind the large snowfalls of the past.  Have you ever wondered how people managed all the snow in Northwest Ohio before we had snowplows and snow blowers?  In the museum, visitors can see many of these snow related artifacts on display. 

Snow Roller
One of the most unique snow-related items in our collection is a snow roller.  This large wooden object features a 4’ wooden cylinder that was pulled by horses along drives and roadways to compact the snow into solid avenues.  This allowed sleighs and other winter vehicles to glide along without getting stuck or sinking into soft snow.

Wooden Snow Shovels
People also had to clear snow to their barns and outbuildings like the outhouse by hand. I’m sure no one wanted to wade through snow to the outhouse.  Most people cleared snow by hand using shovels. Although not everyone would have had specialized shovels, you will find five examples of snow shovels from the late 1800s in the museum.  These wooden shovels sometimes had metal on their ends to help with the removal of ice.  Just as today, ice was a problem on steps and walks, according to The American Frugal Housewife (1833), “salt strewed upon the door-steps in winter will cause the ice to crack, so that it can be easily removed.”  

There are several types of vehicles used for work in the winter.  Wide blades were used for untreated areas and heavy work while thin blades that needed compacted or hardened snow were used to transport people.  If you are or were an avid sled rider, this is the same principle between a traditional sled with runners and a flat sled or toboggan.  Although both types of runners work well on hardened or compacted snow, a traditional sled tends to get stuck in deep snow.  

Thin Runner
Wide Runner
To attend church, go to town, or visit with friends, families used either a cutter or a sleigh.  A cutter is a small single seat sleigh for one or two people.  A cutter was quick and light and usually pulled by a single horse. The small size however, made them impractical for a family.  Families used a sleigh that usually had at least two seats and were pulled by one or two horses.  Both sleighs and cutters worked best with only a few inches of unpacked snow or on packed snow.  

Albany Cutter
Russian-Style Sleigh
Many buggies and smaller wheeled vehicles had interchangeable runners so that they could be used year 'round. Our mail wagon has a set of these interchangeable runners allowing it to be used throughout the year.  Farmers also had a set of bobsled runners that could be used to replace the wheels on most farm wagons.   Bobsleds had wide blade runners that allowed farmers to continue to work around their farms throughout the winter. One important job was the harvesting of wood for fireplaces and sawmills. 

These winter items along with information about ice harvesting are featured in a special exhibit in the museum.  We hope that you will stop by when we open this spring to see these and other newly featured items throughout the museum.