New Laura Ingalls Wilder museum opens in Mansfield

 Grand opening for new Laura Ingalls Wilder museum.
Grand opening for new Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. (KY3)
Published: Apr. 22, 2016 at 6:30 PM CDT
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The brand new, $1.5 million Laura Ingalls Wilder museum and library was many years in the making.

The original Laura Ingalls Wilder museum opened in 1971, next to the Mansfield home where Wilder wrote her famous "Little House on the Prairie" books.

Since the opening of that first museum, the dream has been to build a bigger, newer facility. Today, that dream comes to fruition.

"I hope that children will be coming to see this a hundred years from now. And now we have a building, that can happen," says Jean Coday, director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association.

Sandra Hume drove down from Colorado to be here for the ribbon cutting. She is a life-long fan of the author.

"I'm a child of the TV show, so I did watch that until my sister gave me the book series when I was about 9, and then that was it for me, they were my comfort books growing up." says Hume.

The new museum features a video room, and a wide variety of artifacts are on display.

Visitors can see Wilder's original hand written manuscripts, her type-writer and desk, and Pa's fiddle (the beloved musical instrument so familiar to readers of the books.)

Hume says she's impressed by the quality of the museum's design, "I love how it's organized by the book, by each book as she's written it. The displays are really well done, it's pretty exciting to look around and see this."

Of course there's also a book store, where new generations can discover the tales of adventure on the prarie which have captivated so many readers.