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Kinney Pioneer Museum

Pressing ciderAs summer comes to an end, the leaves begin to turn and apples are at their prime, Kinney Pioneer Museum prepares to celebrate the end of the season with Homemade Apple Cider and Donut Day. An annual tradition, held on the last Sunday of September, the highlight of the day is the apple press. Visitors and volunteers alike gather together to smash apples on an old-fashioned press. They then strain the pulp for the juices and prepare cider just as pioneers of the 19th century would have.

Demonstrations and hands-on activities, like the apple press, are an approach Kinney Pioneer Museum has used to educate visitors about North Central Iowa’s heritage since it opened its doors in 1963. Designated as a SSNHA partner site in 2005, the site includes a historical museum, log cabin, blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse and many agricultural implements used by Norwegian settlers of Worth County.

Today, demonstrations can be seen regularly at the museum and show visitors how the pioneers of early Iowa would operate in their day-to-day lives. In the blacksmith shop, a trained blacksmith prepares items like knives and tools out of iron. Other exhibitions illustrate the art of corn straw broom making or how to weave a rag rug on a traditional loom. Visitors not only get to observe, but also have the opportunity to try their hand at pioneering by churning butter or shelling walnuts.

The museum, located at 3184 265th Street (Hwy 122 W) in Clear Lake, welcomes visitors from May 1st through the end of September or during the off-season by appointment. Museum hours are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information or to arrange tour groups and activities, call (641) 423-1258.

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