Community Appreciation Day
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Museum offers free admission on this day each year to thank the community for its support and to showcase its outstanding exhibits and programs.
Celebrating the 100th birthday of the Museum’s newly renovated chuck wagon is part of the festivities.
Admission is free all day at the museum and activities are planned from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors are invited to interact with living history characters, shop at the plant sale, enjoy the food vendors, or check out the animals, exhibits or vintage tractors. Children’s games are part of the activities, as well as train rides (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for $3) and pony rides (10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. for $5).
Demonstrations on Aug. 26 include: blacksmithing, quilting, milking (10 a.m. and 3 p.m.), colcha embroidery (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.), and wool spinning (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.).
As part of the chuck wagon’s 100th birthday celebration, visitors can enjoy free Dutch-oven biscuits and cowboy coffee.
The museum’s chuck wagon, which has been transported all over the state during the past 16 years for outreach activities and demonstrations, was restored last spring by Las Crucen Dave Harkness.
“We’re breathing life back into the chuck wagon,” said Harkness, who worked on it for about five months. “It illustrates the ingenuity of the day and helps us tell a story.”
The wheels on the wagon were tightened, and the floor, chuck box, tongue, brakes, and sideboards were rebuilt. The wagon has a new canvas bonnet and bows.
“Everything is by original specifications and we used materials that were used typically back then,” said Harkness, who studied diagrams, photographs and old catalog listings for the wagon. “There are no modern fastening systems or anything like that.”
The wagon is a “double-box” Weber wagon that dates to around 1917. The museum purchased the wagon in 2001 from the Mule Creek Trading Company in Capitan, N.M.