Go Ahead, Pillage and Burn. It's Just Museum, Asshole(s)

Work this morning was interrupted when the marketing director rushed into my office and said “The Drug Store is on fire!”.

I work at an outdoor living history museum that includes a 19th-century town. We, like most museums, are always hrting for enough operating cash to keep our doors open and our exhibits in decent repair. Because so much is outdoors, it is less secure than having everything behind glass, barbed wire and motion sensors. We have to rely on the fact that there isn’t much with serious resale value to keep the ravening hordes at bay.

So seriously, what were you looking for in our 1875 drugstore? Leeches? Professor Savage’s Health Elixer? Do you think we have a period cocaine exhibit? Or are you just a garden-variety dickwad who felt like trashing an educational facility by breaking in and setting a fire?

This is the first time I’ve been happy that we have had so much rain recently. It’s hurt our attendance numbers but we could have lost a lot of buildings if you had pulled this shitty stunt in July. Everything was contained and no one was hurt. Still waiting to find out what we lost in the two buildings. I suppose I should thank you for not setting any of the animal enclosures on fire, although there might have been some amusement factor in cleaning up whatever remained of you after a couple panicked draft horses finished with you.

Lousy rant, I know, but I’m getting this out of my system before talking to the insurance adjusters this afternoon.

How do you know it was set intentionally? Could it have been a carelssly dropped cigarette butt? (Not that that makes it any better, of course.) Could it have been electrical?

Fire department and police seem to think it was intentional. I don’t have all the details yet as everyone is out there going over it. That the buildings were broken into is definite and there is apparently other vandalism involved (rumor - police tape was still up last I saw and the my bosses are all still out there).

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time this has happened, just the first time since I’ve worked here. Our grounds are fairly large and we have a number of sites spread out over several acres so it is hard to keep a good watch on everything.

To a Teen (not all Teens, of course), his/her whims of this instant are cosmic tragedies, glorious wit, or profound statements about Life.

To the rest of us, it’s called “Being An Arsehole”.

Go figure.

Dang, that’s scary. My dad is a Volunteer Pioneer (dresses up, does a period accent, etc.) at a state historic site here in Central Illinois, and if they ever had a fire, they’d be toast, because they’re, like, seven miles out in the boonies.

We have a similar exhibit here in Topeka. Church, school, homes, drugstore, and so on. I haven’t heard of any vandalism being inflicted, but it’s probably only a matter of time.

That is horrible.
We have a pioneer town here that I love to go to.
They moved the church my grandmother attended to the site a bunch of years back and I like to go there and sit in the church.
I have distant relatives who donated pharmacy stuff to the town and they made a replica of the store. Kind of cool.
I always seem to miss the pioneer days when they have people doing stuff out there.

How close to the Quad Cities might you be?

I can’t get my mind around this concept of destroying museum exhibits. Here in Fort Worth we have a log cabin village, and sometimes schoolkids got to go as a field trip. I’ve even gone a couple of times as an adult. We need these sorts of museums to learn about where we’ve been, and to appreciate modern life.

♪"What’s the matter with kids today"♫

I have fond memories of climbing the Washington Monument’s stairs with my brother and reading the state plaques on the way. So when I took my son to DC I thought I’d pass on the experience. Nope. Stairs closed. Too many vandals.

If she’s at a Central Iowa Living History Farm, then it’s probably the Central Iowa Living History Farm, in Des Moines.

If so, then, Mrs.Cake, I have a couple suggestions for improving y’all’s website.


Wow, there’s a tour that takes 300 years to complete? :smiley:

Second, IMO it needs a map that shows where the site is in relation to Iowa and the rest of the world, not just a little map that shows where it is in relation to Des Moines, Iowa. Not that Des Moines, Iowa, isn’t the center of the Universe, but some folks are tryin’ to navigate from other galaxies, and it would help to have a map of Iowa with a red star, “We Are Here!”

Also, the information that “Urbandale” is actually part of Des Moines is fairly well hidden on the website–the only place I found it is in that itty-bitty grayscale map (on which, also, one can only assume that the tiny black star by “Hickman” indicates the location of LHF). Was me, I’d have it say right on the home page, “Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa, just outside Des Moines…” Then that gives all of us non-Hawkeyes a mental peg to hang your location on.


Thank you DDG. I’ll be on your side of the river tomorrow on my way to Chicago. Going to pick up a kid from youth group at midnight so I’m going to putz around the city for a while.

Might just drive up to Urbandale some weekend soon.

I don’t mean this in a callous way at all, but authentic western towns had fires all the time, and they had to live with the damage until they could rebuild. Perhaps you can add a bit about how fires affected small towns into your exhibit.

DDG, I agree about the website. We have a fairly new marketing director who is looking at it, and a few of us have been making suggestions - I’ll pass yours along.

mswas, true enough, but the hordes of schoolkids coming in soon would probably like to see the fires in an interactive, living history way that would give our insurance company pause. But it might help make up for missing the live leeches often on display in the Drugstore.

Right. They could have a “Library Of Alexandria” interactive display involving a box of matches and a stack of books. And a woman coughing on people could play Typhoid Mary.

I went to Living History Farms a number of times when I was in elementary school. I am upset to hear that someone would vandalize it- I’m sure still have some horseshoe nails from there around somewhere.