Last weekend I had a great experience at the Heritage Hill State Historical Park in Green Bay, WI. Heritage Hill invited me to come in order to help them celebrate Laura Ingalls Wilder Day. Other special guests included William Anderson, the very talented writer and Beth Ingalls-Leisses who is a living relative of Charles Ingalls. Over 3,000 people gathered at Heritage Hill last saturday and broke the museum’s attendance record, which was set last year on the previous Laura Ingalls Wilder Day. The fact of the record breaking day is nice, but what made it even better was that  the record was broken competing head to head with the first 2009 training camp practice of the Green Bay Packers, only miles away. In a city like Green Bay, which is more than a little obsessed with the Packers, that was pretty cool.  It truly amazes and touches me that so many people continue to love our series and the books on which they were based.

My involvement with Laura’s world began 30 years ago and it has been an honor to be joined with so many others who preserve and celebrate her stories focused around the challenges and romance of a family struggling to survive America’s great western movement. The more I learn about Laura and her life I am increasingly impressed by her desire to turn a life filled with hardship and tragedy into one that has inspired and enriched people of all ages for more than seven decades.

While I was on-site at Heritage Hill I had the opportunity to join Bill and Beth in four different gatherings of visitors in order to speak, sign autographs and answer questions. In advance of the event I prepared a brief Legacy Documentaries DVD that included the romance segment from Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura, brief clips from LHOP bonus content, as well as a tease for Legacy’s next Little House documentary project, The Life Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The reaction was wonderful. Look for it 2nd quarter of 2010. I’ll be talking much more about this project in the months ahead.

After the event was over we started talking about what we could do next at Heritage Hil…a lot of good ideas came out, including one for the entire family that will connect holiday music and spoken word. I’ll share more when its all locked in place.

Hope everyone is having a great summer.


  1. Diva Martha Says:

    I am first in the line for the new documentary dvd.

    My congratulations for this successful event at Heritage Hill. I already heard a lot about it and everyone who was there had a wonderful time and LIW-experience. I would have loved to be there…

  2. Lorrie Rumpf Says:


    It was a pleasure meeting you this past weekend in Green Bay and you are correct we are a little obsessed when it comes to our beloved Green and Gold.

    I for one am a little embarassed to say that I had never been to Heritage Hill prior to this event but I promise you I will be going back, I was very impressed and I hear the Christmas holidays are another fabulous time to see the park.

    I had so much fun touring the buildings and watching the HH staff and volunteers interacting with the public. I sat in a classroom session from the late 1800′s, I made a yarn doll and I watched ice cream and butter being churned. Not to mention touring the hospital, church and numerous other buildings that were on site complete with staff dressed in authentic period clothing.

    Under the pressure of record attendance, the Heritage Hill staff should be commended for doing an outstanding job. I for one, being a guest of Beth Ingalls got to see some of the behind the scenes stuff that the general public didn’t get to see and I was blown away by the staffs calmness and professionalism. It doesn’t surprise me why there was such a great turnout.

    I enjoyed meeting you and the wonderful Bill Anderson, and I hope you both enjoyed your Green Bay welcome. We Wisconsin fans do love our Little House and those affiliated with Laura’s story.

    Again congratulations to all those involved in pulling off this successful event. I for one, will be going back next year.

    Lorrie Rumpf

  3. Sherry Miller Says:

    Bill sent me pictures of the event – he has always been such a great author to have at literature festivals and author visits – it was great to see the two of you sharing together!

    I am looking for a/the Bonanza episode that contained the Little House theme song. I know the theme song writer had also composed music for the Bonanza show, but never realized that the theme song was actually used on Bonanza first, until one day I was semi-watching a Bonanza rerun, and there in the middle of the show was the Little House music. Never occurred to me then to race online and search the episode title…

    Was hoping your vast knowledge and resources might be of some help.

    Thanks for a great DVD on Almonzo’s life!


  4. Martha Says:

    Sherry, maybe I can be of some help.

    David Rose was the composer of the musical score for “Bonanza” and “Little House”.
    The “Bonanza” episode you are looking for is #378 / 12. season and the title is “Top Hand”.

    my best,

  5. Molly Tomashek Says:

    Thank you for your visit to our city. My daughter, Maria, age 9, was so blessed to meet you and encouraged in her love of history, especially Laura’s story. She just started volunteering at Heritage Hill this summer, but has been yearning to do so for 4 years. Your presence made her first summer there so special. Our family loves the documentary and are more than excited to watch Laura’s story. We’ll be watching for it.

    My husband and I share your passion for recording people’s stories. He worked for 6 years as an a/v director for a large church in our area, where he worked on recording people’s testimonies, their stories of faith. This is important work for the encouragement of the church. Please continue your work. The world needs these stories.

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