Growing up, a visit to my favorite museum meant we were heading to the local pioneer village. The kind with the old-time general store and the one-room schoolhouse where I could indulge my Laura Ingalls Wilder fantasies. I still enjoy stepping back in time at places like these – and bringing along my own \daughters. One such gem is located not far from our home in St. Paul, the Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life.
The grounds of the Gibbs Farm, located near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, includes the family’s original home, a schoolhouse similar to the one the Gibbs children would have attended, a wonderful red barn, and a replica Dakotah tipi and bark lodge. The Dakotah connection is important because matriarch Jane Gibbs grew up with a missionary family living among the Dakotah people.
One year our family was gifted with a Ramsey County Historical Society membership so we could experience the seasonal family programs offered by the Gibbs Museum. Autumn’s Apple Festival was filled with apple samples, crafts and games. We toured the farm’s Heritage Orchard with its exotic apple varieties (exotic to this Minnesota orchard-going family anyway!) We were also quite astounded by the amount of food and refreshments included in the admission.
Tours of Gibbs Museum
Families can participate in guided tours led by costumed guides during all open weekend days. Pioneer Tours are led at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Dakota Tours are at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Tours are included in the cost of admission.
Annual Festivals at Gibbs Farm
Look for these festivals three festivals each year:
- Prairie Festival: Late July
- Apple Festival: Late September
- Gibbs Halloween: Late October
Explore pioneer life in our corner of Minnesota during any of these seasonal festivals, or tour the farmstead Memorial Day through Labor Day and fall weekends through October.
Originally published by Anne 5/21/13
Camps at Gibbs Farm