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Heritage Skills Expo

basket of knitting and craft supplies


Saturday, October 13
9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Living History Farms
11121 Hickman Rd
Urbandale, IA 50322 United States
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Iowa’s settlers filled their lives with simple pleasures and useful skills. Join museum crafters and farmers for a celebration of Iowa’s rich fall folk life traditions! Discover a heritage craft, such as spinning, knitting, and tatting. Explore heritage farm skills, such as wood-stove cooking and working livestock. Watch specialty craftsmen such as blacksmiths and broom makers create their wares. Cheer on the Walnut Hill Bluestockings baseball team in their final match of the season at 1:30pm. Kitchens, barn yards, and workshops across the museum will bustle with activities and fun.

Event activities are included in regular admission to Living History Farms. Purchase food from the Machine Shed Food Truck, at the Exhibit Center from 11am-3pm.

Iowa Arts Council

Presenting Sponsor: Iowa Arts Council

Supporting Sponsor: The Woodsmith Store

Plan your visit


  • 1700 Ioway Farm: Fire-starting (Flint Steel, Bow Drill) Demonstrations 9:30am, 11:30am, Cornhusk Rope 10:30-11 am, Tool-making 1-3pm
  • 1850 Pioneer Farm: Oxen/Plowing Demo 10am-11am, Spinning Demos 10:30-11:30am and 1:30-2:30pm; Curing Meats/Smokehouse Demo 1-1:30pm; Rail splitting 2-3pm
  • 1900 Horse-Powered Farm: Grinding Corn with Historic Letz Mill Machine 10-11am and 1-2pm; Corn Harvesting Machinery tour 11-11:30am and 2-2:30 pm; 19th Century Bread Leavening talk 9:30-10am; Care of and Cooking with Cast Iron pots 2:30-3pm
  • Flynn Mansion: Victorian Hair Jewelry demonstrations 1-3:30pm
  • Broom works: Binding brooms with woven decorative tops 9:30-10:30am, 12:30-1:30pm,  3-3:45pm;  Sewing brooms demos in the broom vice 11am-12pm and 2-3pm.
  • Blacksmith: Grindstone and Sharpening Tool Techniques demonstration 9:30 am and 2:30 pm;  ongoing demos 10am-2:30pm, 3-3:45pm
  • General Store: Roasting Green Coffee Beans 10am-12pm and Grinding Coffee with historic coffee mills 1-3pm
  • Drug Store: Rolling pills in 1875 – 9:30am, 12:30pm and 3pm; Compounding demonstrations: (cosmetics, hand creams, and hair oils) 10:30am, 1:30pm
  • Millinery: Fancy Victorian Hair Styles and Hats demo and lecture 10-10:30am and 1-1:30pm; Making ribbon trims 11 am and 2 pm.
  • Print Shop: Job Press work 9:30am-12pm; Newspaper press tour/demo 1:30pm, 3pm. Typesetting tour/demo 1pm and 2:30pm.
  • Tangen House: Lefse demonstration 10:30-11:30am and Norwegian Pastries 1:30-2:30pm.  Norwegian Heritage Craft 9:30-10 am
  • School House: Checker Challenge: ongoing checker matches from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Learn how to play and compete with other museum guests in timed 5-10 minute games. Players will gather points and the winners can earn an award.
  • Drop in Classes
    • 10 am: Basic Tatting: how to hold a shuttle, do a double stitch, make a picot, read a pattern
    • Noon: Basic Crochet: how to chain, single/double crochet, read a pattern
    • 2 pm: Basic Knitting: how to cast on, do a knit stitch and a purl stitch
  • Historic Baseball Game – 1:30 pm
  • Medicine Shows at 11:15 and 1:00