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Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum: Walnut Grove, Minnesota

(After taking the summer off, I'm ready to return to my research, writing projects, and this blog!)

When a book is based on real people and real events, we want to know more--including where it takes place. But for many years, readers didn't know where the book On the Banks of Plum Creek took place. 

How Walnut Grove Was Discovered to Be Related to Little House

The world learned of it slowly. Illustrator Garth Williams interviewed author Laura Ingalls Wilder, and she told Williams how to find Walnut Grove, Minnesota as well as the location of her former dugout home discussed in her book On the Banks of Plum Creek.

It wasn't until Garth Williams's visit that the residents of Walnut Grove learned their little town was part of the Little House story. Thankfully, people have created a museum in Walnut Grove to celebrate the history of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books as well as the television show Little House on the Prairie which took place in Walnut Grove (but on a set).

This summer I had the opportunity to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove. I was invited to their Family Festival as a presenter. (More about that in another blog post.)

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum Store

As part of my visit, I met visitors in the museum store's well-stocked gift shop where I signed my books. I'm not certain of their current stock, but last I knew they had seven of my books in stock. 
I was thrilled to see my book The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion featured on the same shelf as two of my friends' books. Cindy Wilson researched and wrote a comprehensive book focusing on the railroad and newspaper accounts related to Wilder's The Long Winter. It's called The Beautiful Snow. And Robynne Elizabeth Miller's From the Mouth of Ma and The Three Faces of Nellie were on the other side. 

I recommend all of these books. I even talked about The Three Faces of Nellie before. I'm surprised I never reviewed The Beautiful Snow here, but you should know I definitely recommend it. Currently, I'm reading Robynne's brand-new book called Tennessee Wildcat. So far I love it! 

A Fun Connection

In my own book, not only did I talk about who the real Nellie was, but I also showed a photograph of the replica of Laura's engagement ring, as discussed in These Happy Golden Years. (See image below. As it turns out, they are on the same page!)  The engagement ring photo in my book was provided by the museum since they sell replica rings. 

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Replica Engagement Ring

I was able to see one replica garnet and pearl ring. Though it's available in gold and sterling silver (if I remember correctly), this was a sample not made of a precious metal as you can see below.
But it's still lovely. I've heard that owners of the replica rings ordered from the store are incredibly pleased with them.

Since the museum is about to launch a new website for the museum store, I'll include links to the ring and books in the future. In the meantime, you can contact the museum store to place an order! 

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum of Walnut Grove, Minnesota

The museum itself is made of many buildings. From the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum website:
The museum's collections are housed in a series of interesting buildings, including an 1898 depot, an onion-domed house, a dugout display, little red schoolhouse, early settler home, Masters Store & Hall, and covered wagon display. Also on display are memorabilia from visits by the following stars from "Little House on the Prairie" TV series.

And then it lists the LHOP stars! 

While standing on the porch of the train depot (if I remember correctly), I took a brief video of the various museum buildings I could see from my spot. I regret I don't recall the name of the band playing in the clip, but I really enjoyed their music during the family festival. 

More Walnut Grove?

Want to know more about Walnut Grove, Minnesota and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum? I shared in these blog posts.

Annette Whipple writes nonfiction books for children, including The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide which includes history, discussion, photographs, and 75 activities so readers can "live like Laura." Learn more about her books and presentations at


  1. The band playing is the CarKnees! Thanks for your visit and wonderful article.

  2. Hi! I really enjoyed your post. Thank you!

  3. I love little. House when I was younger.