Nelson Pioneer Farm / Mahaska County Historical Society

Nelson Pioneer Farm / Mahaska County Historical Society This family farm turned museum has been here over 175 years. It contains agricultural and county artifacts, buildings and history for Mahaska County Iowa.
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The first museum in Iowa to honor the pioneer farmer, Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum is operated by the Mahaska County Historical Society, Inc., a non-profit, educational institution. The compound now features historic buildings from all over Mahaska County, providing visitors a glimpse of what life was like for Iowans in 19th & 20th century America. Nelson Pioneer Farm Museum has several buildings on the grounds that can be toured inside and out. Most of these are handicap accessible. Many of these buildings have been moved from their original location to the farm for historic preservation. Both the Daniel Nelson home and barn sit in their original locations. The main museum houses several exhibits, including a quilt display, Indian artifacts, a miniature wooden circus and military memorabilia.

Mission: Protect and preserve the history and heritage of Mahaska County for present and future generations.

Working on a program idea and need some help.  Are there any square dance callers in the area you all would recommend?  ...
02/20/2020
media.giphy.com

Working on a program idea and need some help. Are there any square dance callers in the area you all would recommend? And musicians who could play?

https://gph.is/2fsKflO

We are always looking for folks to help us preserve historic skills!  "Twisted Crafts" can be interpreted in many ways a...
02/19/2020

We are always looking for folks to help us preserve historic skills! "Twisted Crafts" can be interpreted in many ways and we're happy to chat with you about your skills/interests for our event!

02/07/2020

If the Nelson Pioneer Farm were a celebrity,
who would we be?

We've begun working in our collections to catalog and organize one of our store rooms. Our curator found some quinine ta...
02/04/2020

We've begun working in our collections to catalog and organize one of our store rooms. Our curator found some quinine tablets in a canvas belt, just hanging out. Next step, check the catalog for the donor and its story! #whenyouworkinamuseum #collectionsfun #historicmedicine #NelsonPioneerFarm

01/20/2020

"We are not makers of history. We are made by history."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

12/20/2019

The Office will be closed Mon. Dec. 23 thru Fri. Jan. 3 for the holidays.
Stay safe and warm and see you in 2020!

You may notice a few less trees the next time you drive by. A crew of volunteers removed some dead ash trees by the driv...
12/18/2019

You may notice a few less trees the next time you drive by. A crew of volunteers removed some dead ash trees by the driveway and buildings that posed a safety hazard. There's always something to be done here no matter the season!

We had a great Sunday afternoon of music, cookies, and many creative artists decorated cards for veterans and active ser...
12/11/2019

We had a great Sunday afternoon of music, cookies, and many creative artists decorated cards for veterans and active servicemen and women. Happy holidays everyone and thanks for making us part of your festivities!

11/27/2019

The office will be closed Wed-Fri this week for the Thanksgiving holiday. Safe travels and we'll resume regular hours on Monday.

Nelson Pioneer Farm / Mahaska County Historical Society
11/22/2019

Nelson Pioneer Farm / Mahaska County Historical Society

Nelson Pioneer Farm / Mahaska County Historical Society's cover photo
11/22/2019

Nelson Pioneer Farm / Mahaska County Historical Society's cover photo

We are so glad that Vernie Wells shared his blessings with us.  He's done so much for our community and now folks can en...
11/22/2019

We are so glad that Vernie Wells shared his blessings with us. He's done so much for our community and now folks can enjoy a refreshed, welcoming library here at the Nelson Pioneer Farm!

#tbt It's always fun to see what's in our library and collections. Anyone remember this? Made by Webster Elementary 5th ...
11/14/2019

#tbt It's always fun to see what's in our library and collections. Anyone remember this? Made by Webster Elementary 5th graders in the 1994-1995 school year.

Nearly done!  Our contractors will finish the last bit of the Nelson House roof and porch tomorrow.  They have done an I...
11/08/2019

Nearly done! Our contractors will finish the last bit of the Nelson House roof and porch tomorrow. They have done an INCREDIBLE job with our Crown Jewel and we are so glad we found them!

Pictured

Front L to R: Contractors Terry Davis, Troy Van Weelden, Troy Hess, Dan Beyer
Back L to R: Board committee members Wayne DeBruin, Bill Schinkel, Jay Fox
Not pictured: Eric Millang

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HARD WORK!
Vanweelden Construction

Prine School Memories Wanted!Several weeks ago, a photographer stopped by the Nelson Pioneer Farm to capture images of o...
10/28/2019
ONE ROOM SCHOOLS — Jody Phipps

Prine School Memories Wanted!

Several weeks ago, a photographer stopped by the Nelson Pioneer Farm to capture images of our one-room school house. Jody Phipps was a delight to speak with and she is on a nation-wide quest to preserve images and stories from as many country schools as she can find. We will be gathering some stories from our archives to share with her, but if any of you have stories to share about Prine School, feel free to contact her directly at the information below.

If you would prefer to chat with us first, feel free to contact Margaret at 641-672-2989 or [email protected] and I'm happy to introduce you to Jody or facilitate the exchange of stories.

You can see more of her photo projects at Jody's website here: https://www.jodyphipps.com/one-room-schools

She's hoping to turn it all into a book of some kind.

At one point, more than 212,000 one room schoolhouses dotted the varied landscape of the United States. Today, some have been relocated, others have been restored or renovated into private residences or museums, and still others have decayed into piles of old weathered wood or crumbling bricks — t...

10/21/2019

ISO: partially burnt candles to melt down for candle dipping.

Anyone's church have a closet that needs cleaned out?

What do you do when the contractor finds a marked piece of the original historic house foundation?  You become an archae...
10/17/2019

What do you do when the contractor finds a marked piece of the original historic house foundation? You become an archaeologist to extract it! We'll interpret it at the Nelson House once all of the construction is complete.

Special thanks to our contractors for finding it and bringing it to Margaret's attention and our maintenance technician Rob Dannels for help extracting (and the heavy lifting)!

Work is underway to rehabilitate the Nelson House roof! Our contractors are hard at work keeping our "Crown Jewel" shini...
10/08/2019

Work is underway to rehabilitate the Nelson House roof! Our contractors are hard at work keeping our "Crown Jewel" shining for decades to come!

09/27/2019

Schedule change -
We will open around Noon tomorrow, Sat. Sept. 28

09/25/2019

Did anyone accidentally pick up a honey jar from Bradbury Hall on Saturday? Please call Margaret at 641-672-2989 or 641-670-7606 if you have any information about a glass honey jar.

09/21/2019

A note from Margaret:

Today was a testament to the strength of community and the power of positive thought. Despite the many challenges presented by the weather, our Fall Festival was enjoyed by several hundred people invested in our programs and activities. Thank you to everyone who came out as a visitor armed with ponchos and umbrellas! I recognized many friendly faces from our membership and knew several of you had ventured out to our site for the first time. Thank you! We hope to see you out again as guests and, hopefully, members!

To all of the incredible community organizations who set up information tables and interactive activities, THANK YOU! Your support ensures our continued success and we are happy to support your place in the community as well. You stood by us despite the rain and remained cheerful through it all.

To every demonstrator, vendor, and volunteer, we would not have had this event without you! You all pulled together to make the most of a soggy mess, remained flexible with locations and changes in plans, and fully engaged with our public and each other. I am so grateful for the patience and understanding you granted to me as we altered most of the activities today. I am truly honored to work beside you all.

We saw new demonstrators and vendors who traveled from Des Moines, Ottumwa, Belle Plaine, and beyond. We continue to strengthen our working relationship with Red Rock Threshers in Pella. We incorporated public art (which rocked!), incredible locally-grown flowers (which was incredible!), and had more youth involved in volunteering this year!

Thank you all for remaining cheerful and for enjoying the day with us, even if the conditions were less than ideal. We would not continue to grow and thrive at the Nelson Pioneer Farm without all of you. And we look forward to many more Fall Festivals shared with you!

09/21/2019

Festival happens today RAIN OR SHINE. We have plenty of buildings to move most of our activities indoors as needed. We've got a great day planned, so please come out!

09/17/2019

PSA - If you need to get a hold of anyone at Nelson Pioneer Farm, call Director Margaret's cell phone number at 641-670-7606. We are setting up for Festival so she will rarely be in the office this week. Thanks!

09/14/2019

One week and counting! Put your order in for nice weather. Maybe if all of us ask, we shall receive!

All of our buildings are spruced up and ready for Festival thanks to some amazing Rotarians! Our community is so support...
09/11/2019

All of our buildings are spruced up and ready for Festival thanks to some amazing Rotarians! Our community is so supportive of our efforts and a big shout out to United Way of Mahaska County for coordinating the Day of Caring!

09/10/2019

T-minus 11 days until Festival!!!

What's your favorite activity from years past?

Did you know we can make gift cards if you give a membership to family or friends?  WE CAN!  What better way to say "Con...
09/07/2019

Did you know we can make gift cards if you give a membership to family or friends? WE CAN! What better way to say "Congratulations," "Thinking of You" or "I Love You" than a membership to the Nelson Pioneer Farm?

Free admission to fun events like Fall Festival, discounted prices in the gift shop and on Bradbury Hall rentals, and a quarterly update on all the cool happenings on site!

Only $20 for couples/families/grandparents and $12 for individuals!

Give us a call and we'll hook you up! 641-672-2989 or you can stop by and see Margaret: Tues-Sat 10-4 and Sundays 12-4.

09/06/2019

Festival details are coming together nicely! We want to give a shout out to all of our community sponsors! Our Fall Festival is truly a community endeavor and we appreciate all of your support!

Pony Ride - Clow Valve Company
Vintage Tractor Parade - Mahaska County Farm Bureau
Children's Games and Crafts - Town Square Dental Care
Spelling Bee - Mahaska Drug
Pioneer Picnic - TruBank, Hy-Vee
Advertising - Cablevey Conveyors, MCG - Mahaska Communication Group
Printing - Langkamp Funeral Chapel & Crematory, MidWestOne Bank (Oskaloosa)
Historic Buildings - Littler Cabin Doty's, Mott's General Store Oskaloosa Vision Center, Clark's Blacksmith Shop Oskaloosa Chiropractic Clinic, Buxton House Five Points Heritage Farm, Nelson Barn McKim Tractor Service
Volunteer Services - Mahaska
General Event - Kelderman Manufacturing, State Bank of Bussey

09/04/2019
Friends of Mahaska County Conservation

Our Friends at Mahaska County Conservation will be at Festival again this year AND they'll be collecting plastic bags for recycling!

Let's be stewards of our environment and have a fun-filled day with the Mammoth Run/Walk and Festival!

We love that this group and resource is in our community!

Are you heading to the Nelson Pioneer Farm Fall Festival on Saturday, September 21st. If you are, don't forget to bring your plastic bags for recycling as Friends of Mahaska County Conservation will be located outside the museum from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to collect them. We will also have a $25 grocery gift card drawing for those dropping off bags. So, come enjoy the festival and bring your plastic bags along.

Today in history - A dedication ceremony was held for the Prine School at its new location at the Nelson Pioneer Farm. T...
09/03/2019

Today in history - A dedication ceremony was held for the Prine School at its new location at the Nelson Pioneer Farm.

The Prine School was built in 1861 in Lincoln Township and was the oldest old-room schoolhouse in continuous use in Mahaska County. Prine School taught students until its closure in 1966.

It remains one of our most popular buildings on our tours, especially with our school groups. Want to share your pictures or memories of the Prine School? We'd love to hear from you!

08/29/2019

Community question! Who has information about the Oskaloosa Junior High School? Specifically, sports letters. What age levels received sport letters? What sports?

We have a smattering of information in our library, but we have a research request looking for more information. Thanks all!

A view from the Nelson House. Photo credit:  Melissa Barru
08/28/2019

A view from the Nelson House.

Photo credit: Melissa Barru

08/28/2019

Have you gotten your membership yet? Remember, if you buy now you get 16 months for the price of 12! That means FREE admission to 2 Fall Festivals!

$20 for families (couples, couples with kids under 18, or grandparents with visiting grandkids under 18)

$12 for individuals

Call Margaret at 641-672-2989, email [email protected] or stop by to get your membership confirmed today!

08/23/2019

Anyone have a popcorn popper we could borrow for Sunday afternoon's event?

#tbt Celebrating the bicentennial in style. Proclamation promoting facial hair growth for the men of Oskaloosa by then-M...
08/15/2019

#tbt Celebrating the bicentennial in style. Proclamation promoting facial hair growth for the men of Oskaloosa by then-Mayor Karl Heil.

What do you think, should we bring this back for Fall Festival?

08/13/2019

Our genealogy library is open to the public once again!

We are open Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment. You can call 641-672-2989 to schedule a time outside of regular reading room hours.

Thank you for your patience during our renovation!

08/10/2019

And the winner of our 4 Adventureland ticket drawing is...

LINDSAY GOLLIET!!

Thank you everyone who shared their photos from our 2019 season so far. Thank you, Lindsay for bringing your kiddos to Laura's Days. You can call the office at 641-672-2989 set up a time or stop by to get your tickets! Congratulations!

Did anyone leave a hat and sunglasses in the Prine School House?  Found on Tuesday after our busy weekend.  To claim, pl...
08/09/2019

Did anyone leave a hat and sunglasses in the Prine School House? Found on Tuesday after our busy weekend. To claim, please come to the main museum building.

08/08/2019
08/07/2019

Announcements:
1.) We will close at 3:30 today, Wed. Aug. 7.
2.) Tomorrow's program Woods It to You? has been cancelled.

08/06/2019
Nelson Pioneer Farm / Mahaska County Historical Society

In loving memory of our wonderful volunteer sawyer, oat harvest extraordinaire, and all around amazing person Leland Fynaardt. You will be missed and we are so thankful for all of the things you did at the Nelson Pioneer Farm.

Sawmill demo as part of The House That Daniel Built: Board by Board. June 20, 2019. The boards made from this Elm log will be used to make benches for the site. #wehavethebestvolunteers #sawyershavingfun #nelsonpioneerfarm #livinghistory #wastenotwantnot #pioneerliving #historictools

08/03/2019

Make sure you come out to the Dog Hollow Rendezvous this weekend. Free admission to see the site and the encampment!

Address

2211 Nelson Ln
Oskaloosa, IA
52577

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Videos

Our Story

The first museum in Iowa to honor the pioneer farmer, Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum is operated by the Mahaska County Historical Society, Inc., a non-profit, educational institution. The compound now features historic buildings from all over Mahaska County, providing visitors a glimpse of what life was like for Iowans in 19th & 20th century America. Nelson Pioneer Farm Museum has several buildings on the grounds that can be toured inside and out. Many of these are handicap accessible. Most of these buildings have been moved from their original location to the farm for historic preservation. Both the Daniel Nelson home and barn sit in their original locations. The main museum houses several exhibits, including a quilt display, medical history, and military history.

Nearby museums

Comments

Are you doing a Laura Ingalls Wilder themed event cycle again this year?
I have no date for this postcard. Does :"RI" mean "Rock Island"? Does the building still exist?
Can anyone help me? I am looking for information about the attached photo. It shows the Rutherford Coal Washer which was about 8 miles west of Oskaloosa, along the Minneapolis & St Louis railroad. I believe it was built in 1938 and operated into the 1950s. The rail line was pulled up in 1956.
Samples of handmade scarves and hats made out of natural dyed wool and silk yarn. So soft and beautiful.
Spinning wool into yarn.
Weaving a placemat on a loom.
Demonstrating hand sewing the bind on a quilt made out of flannel.
Is there a roster of students who attended Prine School? I know my wife (Carolyn Barron) attendees, and I think my mom and and an uncle attended. Would love to see a list of attended.
Anyone can do blacksmithing! This little guy will melt your heart like steel in a forge :-) kid's got heart!
We’re delighted to inform you that Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum Fall Festival has been selected as one of the best Fall Festivals in Iowa by Best of AmericanTowns, a property of AmericanTowns Media! For over 15 years, AmericanTowns Media has been the leader in highlighting the incredible work of great local organizations and initiatives. Best of AmericanTowns brings the most interesting and unique places in America right to the fingertips of the user with the opportunity to browse the best places to eat, live, and visit. We are happy to spotlight the excellence you’ve achieved in your work and hope you’ll share this with your followers on Facebook and tag us @bestofamericantowns!
Are you guys open today with Labor Day?
Thank you so much for the invite! What a beautiful place!