What’s new at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village? Video

Any time the Fort Museum and Frontier Village is open, visitors can walk into the historic buildings and see costumed actors explaining fun historical facts about each one.

That is, as long as the visitors bring their smartphones.

Thanks to a video project last year, there are now video explanations at sites throughout the fort, said Executive Director Cheryl Sherry.

“We’ve had great responses from visitors so far,” Sherry said. “A film crew came out last summer, and we filmed child actors and some adults that were in first-person presentation, meaning they were in character, telling about the buildings here at the museum. So there’s a QR code people can scan with their smartphone, and a Youtube video will come up, and a child actor will be there in costume telling them about the building.”

This is just one of the ways the Fort is trying to engage younger people and younger families, Sherry said.

Ever since she became director in June 2017, Sherry has been working to provide something new to see at the museum.

“In the past people said they never saw new exhibits, that you were always seeing the same thing,” she said. “So my goal here as the director and curator is to try to incorporate new learning opportunities through exhibits, programs and workshops.”

The museum has new Smithsonian poster exhibits, Sherry said, which they’ve placed along with the museum’s own World War I artifacts. Another is displayed alongside the carriages and wagons in the livery.

They’ve also revamped their membership options. Those who become members at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village can now get discounts at museums all over America, she said.

Volunteers are also helping transform some of the outdoor space.

“They are transforming the garden area adjacent to the Cardiff Giant into an outdoor entertainment/outdoor classroom/venue that people can use for meetings, or small weddings, or small company picnics,” Sherry said. “They’re working on that right now.”

The Fort is a stop for visitors from all over the world, Sherry said, as a highly regarded museum of the frontier.

“We had people from Italy last week, from Tasmania last week, from Germany, we had some Canadians roll through, we had a couple from New York,” she said.

“When people come here, and they come here from all over the world, we are a part of the Great American West tour. I don’t think people in Fort Dodge really get that. That’s one thing I’ve always tried to educate people on about this museum, is that it is a treasure and I wish that more people would be interested in the museum and get involved.”