By Jan Erdahl, Museum Director
Does this latest round of snow and cold leave you with a case of cabin fever? The museum has plenty of opportunities for anyone who is wanting to volunteer, whether for an hour, a day or on a regular basis. Work has begun on next year’s exhibits. It takes a great deal of time and effort to develop these exhibits. If you have some extra time and would like to volunteer at the Museum, we always have a spot available. Jobs range from research, to filing, dusting, arranging exhibits, or even raising a log cabin. No matter what the task, we always have fun! To volunteer, visit us on our website at www.lpcmuseum.com or call us at 319-342-3619.
One very visible example of our volunteer efforts last year has been the restoration of our 1861 log cabin. This cabin is a subsistence cabin, which was typically used while a site transitioned into a profit making farm. It was built by the George Peck family. Peck would be best described as a naturalist and taxidermist. While in his cabin on the Cedar River he collected nearly 500 specimens of flora and fauna, some of which were displayed at the Smithsonian. The cabin was donated to the museum by the Dick Keegan family. To save this important piece of history, the cabin was completely deconstructed piece by piece, moved to a cement pad and placed on a limestone foundation. While this may sound like an easy task, it was far from it. Each piece of wood from the log cabin was meticulously removed and numbered to insure that it was placed back in the original spot. When weather permits, the cabin will be rechinked and will hopefully stand for another 155 years as a symbol of the pioneer spirit of La Porte City and other small rural towns as they helped to build our nation. A new appreciation for the hardships endured by our original settlers was garnered by our group of “pioneers” who helped to restore the cabin: Dick Dewater, who served as project chair, Louis Beck and FFA students, Joseph Walleser and industrial tech students, Gary Sheffler, Steve Miller, Jerry Erdahl, Jim Steffan, Mike Craft and Dean Fehl. This cabin will be part of our Rural Iowa Heritage Center which will be dedicated at the Fall Festival in September.