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Fort Museum offers camping in the past

Kids will learn pioneer skills

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Heather Jensen, curator at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village, picks some fresh strawberries in period clothing Thursday afternoon. The Fort will be holding a series of summer day camps this summer where participants can learn about frontier life. Pre-registration is required.

Usually when people go camping they have a destination, perhaps somewhere near a lake.

For those who sign up for the upcoming Fort Museum and Frontier Village Summer Camps — their destination will be somewhere in the past and for some of the sessions, inside a stockade.

Misty Mackay, the fort’s tour and volunteer coordinator, said it’s all about learning.

“They’ll learn local and national history from 1850 to 1950,” she said.

The first week’s camp is June 24 to June 28.

“The kids will learn about fort life,” she said. “We’ll take our campers back to the mid 1800s.”

They’ll also get to participate in a battle of sorts.

“We’ll have a giant Battle Ship board,” she said. “The kids can play using each other.”

The camps skip a week for the Fourth of July and resume again on July 8-12.

That’s moving up a few decades into the Pioneer Period.

“We’ll teach them how to make hand churned ice cream and butter,” Mackay said. “We’ll also be carding goat down. That’s being provided by Cinnamon, the Fort’s mascot.”

Each week, regardless of where the time machine stops, will also feature various arts and craft projects for the campers to make and take home.

The next week’s camp continues the Pioneer Period. It’s from July 15 through July 19.

The final week of camp, July 22 through July 26, will give the campers an opportunity to learn about the natural history of the area as well as conservation of the living resources around them. The last week will also offer them a chance to learn about the Native American history in the area.

She said Webster County Conservation will be helping out with the last camp.

The camps are for children in kindergarten through fourth grade.

The cost of each week’s session is $40 for the first child and $15 for each additional child from the same household. Campers can attend one camp or all of them.

Heather Jensen, Fort Museum curator, stressed that it’s important that families get signed up for camp ahead of time. She said that the museum needs to know how many attendees to expect to make sure there are enough materials and staff on hand.

Each day’s camping session runs from 10 a.m. to noon.

Campers can sign up by phone at (515) 573-4231 or via email at fortmuseumtours@gmail.com or curator.fortmuseum@gmail.com.