Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Pageant – Walnut Grove, Minnesota - Atlas Obscura

Walnut Grove, Minnesota

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Pageant

Elaborate drama imparts an appreciation for 19th century hardships. 

One of a handful of museums across the country dedicated to preserving the history of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her landmark “Little House” books, the Wilder Museum in Walnut Creek, Minn., stands out because of its annual pageant.

You’ll have to pack the family into the station wagon and travel to Minnesota if you want to witness the family-oriented outdoor drama. An elaborate 15-scene display that includes an intermission, the pageant’s organizers maintain a strict no recording policy in the hillside amphitheater. Every night, all costumed characters from the Walnut Grove area participate as Laura narrates the story, which has her reflecting on life in the area in the 1870s.

“It is our hope that visitors will take with them a sense of history and a deeper appreciation of the joys and hardships that challenged our ancestors when settling the prairie,” the official website reads.

Though the pageant only takes place in July, the museum and accompanying gift shop is open year-round. Its collections are housed in a series of interesting buildings, including an 1898 depot, an onion-domed house, a little red schoolhouse, a chapel, an early settler home, and a covered wagon display. Some highlighted exhibits include a quilt owned by Laura and her daughter, Rose; scale models of the “Little House on the Prairie” TV series homes; historic documents; and a Bible from the church that Laura attended.