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Click here to see previous Collections of the Month.



Step back to the 1880's ... Many artifacts inside the museum are original to Willow Tree/Richland #1 or from similar nearby schools. Some date back to when the school opened in 1883.


During your visit you can:


  • See rare globes, atlases and resource books.

  • Sit in double desks of the 1880's and know how to tell the age of school desks.

  • Learn how industry, scholarship and citizenship were highly regarded and rewarded.

  • Find out how a teachers' graded certification influenced employment.

  • Learn about the standard curriculum for all grades and view a required 8th grade exam.

  • Learn how life skills of observation, sewing and music were built into the curriculum to support academics and character development for both boys and girls.

  • Find out about the role that rural schools played in maintaining community health.

Experience the Change


See exhibits and learn about change from 1880 through the 1950s when most rural schools had closed. Primers and textbooks; student and teacher desks; technology to teach music; clothing, fabrics and shoes; school lunch pails; children's toys; children's chores; writing instruments and media; pencil cases; and the use of itinerant teachers.


See Special Items


Inside the museum, you will see many historic items, including:


  • Iowa atlas from 1875

  • School globe from 1900

  • Early mechanical pencil sharpeners

  • A restored 1880s wood stove and kerosene heater

  • Zinc-lined dry sink

  • Ink crock used by teachers to fill ink wells

  • Anker blocks and pencil cases brought by immigrants from Europe

  • Complete set of Teacher Cyclopedia available to all teachers in the system for direction and guidance

  • An extensive collection of books and resources open for research on Iowa rural settlement and rural schools

  • Collection of primers used over time; student awards and certificates that reflect community values



Past Collections of the Month
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