1. WHERE WOULD A WISE MAN HIDE A LEAF?
Writing in the University of Houston’s blog on mechanical engineering, John H. Lienhard answers that question: “In a forest”. In particular, he points out that he found a Glen Curtiss aeroplane in a wholly unexpected “forest”: Pioneer Village in Minden Nebraska. Lienhard describes Pioneer Village as, “ENCYCLOPEDIC”.
2. PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES
The Curtiss aeroplane, which so impressed Professor Lienhard, is accompanied by a collection of other early and classic aircraft, including this replica of the original Wright brothers’ aircraft hanging in the main building where the “transportation exhibits” begin.
3. CLASSIC CARS, BIG & SMALL
As you pass beneath the aircraft you’ll encounter all manner of human transportation, beginning with Conestoga wagons and carriages on through a massive collection of antique vehicles. Among them you’ll see this 1906 Ford Racing car and a beautiful curved-dash 1905 Buick. Another unusual automobile called “The Red Bug” was a modest little 2 seater from 1916, with a rear mounted engine.
4. BOATS & CARS THAT FLOAT
Together with streetcars and airplane engines, bustle dresses and stained glass windows, the main building also contains a gun collection, art collections, telephones, typewriters and even an ocean-going yacht. Next to the yacht, you’ll see this amphibian car beneath this amazing little racing boat.
5. A LOT MORE BUILDINGS
The Circle behind the main building reveals many other buildings full of artifacts.
You’ll see a genuine Indian Stockade, an original Land Office, a General Store, and a Fire Department, a Depot with engine and related artifacts.
6. REMEMBER SCHOOL?
Next to the Depot is a one-room school house where 80 students were registered in 1890 and their teacher was paid $20 per month. It is fully equipped with the coal burning stove, period furnishings and books. Next to the school is a furnished replica of an old Sod House, an 1884 Church, a Pony Express Station with Buffalo Bill’s saddle on display, along with other tools and posters of the day, like the poster asking for “skinny 15 year olds” to apply.
7. LABOR SAVING DEVICES for HOME
Finally, around the Circle you’ll come to the Home Appliance Building and the Hobby House.
In the Appliance Building you can see all manner of home appliances from a dog-powered washing machine to an 1890s icebox which introduced the idea of rotating shelves.
8. HOME LIFE AND MORE
North of the Circle is the “Shops & Homes” building where you’ll experience the evolution of kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, toys, professional offices, musical instruments, pianos, broom making, furniture, radios and much more technology.
9. MECHANICAL WONDERLAND
Further north, you will find even more two-story buildings filled to overflowing with examples of nearly every mechanical advantage developed after 1850, from hundreds of automobiles, the evolution of many kinds of farm equipment, including antique tractors, harvesting machines and heavy equipment. You’ll also find a display of motorcycles, snowmobiles and other entertaining vehicles.
10. CULTURE INCLUDED
Returning to the main building you’ll experience a nearly complete collection of the famous “Rogers Groups” statues, as well as famous prints, paintings and period works of art. You will also see samples of period clothing, baby buggies, small home appliances and a collection of antique firearms.
So, where would a wise man find a leaf? In the forest.
If your leaf you are seeking happens to be “a concrete experience of life in developing America”,
then the forest you should be searching is Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska.
Professor Lienhard would tell you that you’ve “NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT”.