Connecting the past to the present

Museums are a way to connect with the legacy of the past with the current events of the present.Posted August 15, 2013


old irons


Record Editor


Museums are a way to connect with the legacy of the past with the current events of the present.

Not many people take the time to think much about ironing – and it seems to be everyone’s least favorite chore. Imagine lifting a 20-pound hot iron weight to make sure everyone’s Sunday best was ready for church. There was no wash and wear, then – it was cotton or wool. No synthetic materials drying wrinkle-free.


Describing an old hot iron that at one time sat on a wood cook stove is good – actually seeing one is better. And better than that is an entire collection of irons that kept everyone starched and wrinkle-free then until now, when the iron does everything from help chose the right setting for the fabric to automatically turning itself off.

Some of the irons in the collection weighed 20 pounds. Some had hot coals in them to keep them hot, which would make it very hard to keep scorch mark from occurring or little spark holes in the garment. And all this was done at a time when most people only had a few changes of clothing.

“The Legacy Continues,” the theme of this summer at the Dakota Buttes Museum, has three brand new exhibits. One is of the iron collection.

“It’s not always the item itself that may interest people,” said director Bonnie Smith. “It’s the connection made of possibly remembering a family member in the past who used such an item, and that brings back memories connecting the past and the present.”


The team’s all here

Another special exhibit on loan is of the Hettinger School teams and clubs. These have been reprinted and enhanced to the best quality by James Dewhurst, and depict basketball, football, band, a school play and other activities in the 1940s.

The Luckow family has generously made this loan to the museum.


Movie time

Just for fun, while wandering through the different displays and buildings, old 8mm movies have been put onto a DVD for people to watch.

“It’s fun to just watch as they come out of the school,” said Smith. “The clothes and hair, and recognizing someone or other.”

It’s not your modern day mini-camcorder. There is no sound; the movies play a little faster than normal movement but a really interesting way to connect to the past.

The museum boasts several outbuildings and displays in addition to the main museum structure.

Within these walls are memories of times gone by, and how the futures is just another cog in the circle.