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“If you're a fan, this is a must”

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Mansfield
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 6, 2013

My 8-year-old and I are huge fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books and decided to make the trip to see the home where they were written. I left my younger two at home with my husband and I'm glad I did - if you haven't read the books or aren't that interested in them, this would be a boring waste of a few hours. However, if you know the books, you'll see a lot of photos, letters and other articles that Mrs. Wilder wrote about in her series. Pa's fiddle, unpublished photographs, the bread plate that survived the fire, the name cards...it's all there in the museum and it's so cool!

A few things you should know:

*Mansfield is truly in the middle of nowhere. The Wilder home/museum do take credit cards, but most other businesses in town do NOT. Bring cash.

*The staff at the museum and home are very friendly, but they run this place differently than other historical sites or museums. There is no set schedule for tours of either of the homes or the movie that's shown. When a big enough crowd shows up, they start the movie and a tour. If there are *too* many people, they'll give you a (very informative) brochure and let you wander the homes yourself. - And the homes are very well preserved/beautiful to look at (Laura's rocking chair! Her writing desk! Even her glasses!); however, the museum, while well-organized, is a bit shabby. They are in need of funds to re-vamp the place.

*NO PHOTOGRAPHY of ANY KIND is allowed inside either of the homes, the museum or the gift shop. They do offer very nice postcards of everything from the interior of the homes to well-known Laura artifacts for .25 apiece in the gift shop - but don't go thinking you'll get a shot of yourself standing next to Pa's fiddle or one of Laura's dresses.

*No food is available here and there's not much around the area. Eat before you come or pack a snack. There are picnic tables across the street in the parking area where you can sit and eat. There are some restaurants in Mansfield (I have reviews!), but it's slim pickings.

*Plan on about an hour in the museum and another hour or two for the house tours.

*The walkway between Laura's house and the rock house was unusable when we where there on July 3. Visitors had to drive to see the rock house (very short distance).

*The sweet lady who runs the museum (I think her last name is Cody - wish I could remember) has MET Laura Ingalls Wilder! Be sure to ask her about Laura! She is usually the one sitting at the front desk taking admission fees and handing out brochures. :-)

*The staff members are very protective of the homes/museum and can come off as brusque; however, if you ask them questions or show an interest in the items/Laura's life, they light up and will talk your ear off. Approach them and ask questions - they love it. :)

3  Thank infamousmare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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272 - 276 of 351 reviews

Reviewed June 26, 2013

If you're a Little House fan, this is the place for you. This is the house that Laura and Almonzo built and lived and died in. The museum has the most treasures from the Ingalls and Wilder families, including Pa's fiddle!! This was well worth the trip!

1  Thank kerirohde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2013

I have always wanted to see Laura and Almanzo's house in Missouri. On a recent trip to Branson, we drove over to Mansfield which was about a 90 min. drive. The farm house Laura and her husband built is available for tours. Connected to it is a museum building with many of the original artifacts mentioned in her books including Pa's fiddle, etc. It was a WOW moment for me. I would give yourself about an hour to go through the museum to see the items and read the articles and info. They took a group at a time to tour the house and no photos are allowed inside but the postcards do show the rooms. The clock Almanzo gave Laura is in there, her writing desk and so much more. That tour and a video in another building took about 30 minutes. You can walk the grounds and take photos. Then there's a gift shop to browse. You then drive about 5 min. away to see the rock house which they lived in for 8 years. This was a gift to them from their daughter Rose and it's also fascinating to see. This tour was about 20 min. and then we drove 5 min. back to town to the cemetery to see their graves. There's not many places to eat in town and since we were heading back to Arkansas we ate in Ava which has the typical fast food places for a quick lunch.

2  Thank BushkaTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

It was a lovey day. We watched a video, toured the home, toured the grounds, visited the rock house, then back to the main house for the gift shop. This is the house where she and Almanzo settled in MO where she wrote the books. The tour of the Rocky Ridge Farm was wonderfully led by a knowledgeable lady. The site is clean and well-preserved. No photos inside the home, but the gift shop has great postcards for $0.25. We toured the grounds alone and the museum. It has Pa's fiddle, letters within the family, clothes, dishes, photos, lots of things you would not see otherwise. We walked to Rocky Ridge, but most people must drive. It is not a difficult walk at all. The gift shop is very reasonable. This is a good 4 hour visit.

3  Thank ditzymudgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

I was frustrated because it was difficult to find out when this attraction was open on Sunday; I found no times listed on a web page an when I called the phone number, it rang a million times unanswered. While the museum is from the pioneer days, I assume it has a modern telephone that I wish had been equipped with an informational voice message. FYI: on Sunday, they open at 12:30.
We arrived at noon and waited with many other folks for them to open. I wish they had split us into two groups and set half of us to the rock house while the other half went to the farmhouse to allow for a more leisurely tour; there were two very knowledgeable tour guides in the house, but they were pretty much just directing traffic and stopping children from touching things and blocking them from going upstairs rather than giving us interesting facts and pointing out details. They explained that because it was so crowded, they were just handing out brochures that explained the rooms in lieu of them talking. We hung back and waited for the masses to clear and then had a chance to hear one of the guides talk extensively about the library and the fireplace and the music room. She explained how Rose had built the rock house forLaura and Almanzo to live out their final days. Had we not had this time with the guide, I think I would have been very frustrated to have driven 7 hours to see this home in what kind of turned out to be a rushed, negative experience.
No photographs, flash, video or otherwise, can be taken inside the buildings. I did get some outside shots though to capture some memories.
The museum itself is nice. My favorite exhibit was Pa's fiddle, which the guide said is played on special occasions, such as festival days.
There is a brief film before the tour that was interesting and it featured music throughout played on Pa's fiddle and had several sound clips of Laura talking. It was neat, but they tried to squeeze too many people into thelittle room to see it rather than offering to split the group. We even asked to go with the next showing and they said that we had to go then because they weren't going to promise another showing, even though there were more people gathering as we left.
I'm struggling to find the right words to express my frustration; the staff was not really rude, but they weren't particularly friendly or welcoming either. Their mood just did not seem to fit the spirit they described that Rose had when she wanted to see her mother's homes and legacy preserved; I guess it was more commercial than I had anticipated.
The bookstore was nice. It's prices were higher than some of the other Little House site stores, so if you are going to make a sojourn to all of them, you might want to spend your dollars at a different one. If this is your only Little House stop in a lifetime, then you can still pick up a souvenir without breaking the bank.
All that said, I loved visiting the farmhouse and the museum and the bookstore. Perhaps I just caught them on an off day and perhaps the extreme heat was getting to me too. I just know that when I have left other Little House sites I have practically skipped to the car afterwards and with this one I felt like I had just crossed it off my list.

8  Thank LisOnTheGo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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