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Call us wild and crazy, but my wife and I love visiting museums.

I blame television for this sad state of affairs. Over the years, we have become accustomed to consuming TV meals such as “Route of Antiquities” and “The American Gatherers.” We will stare in awe at the stratospheric prices assigned to the ordinary items we used as children.

“Don’t you have one in the attic?” my wife asks as another old object turns out to be worth more than Liechtenstein’s gross domestic product.

“Sorry,” I will answer. “I peeked into the attic and all that’s up there is blown insulation and cobwebs.”

She’ll shake her head and answer “I can’t believe you’re the only antique in this house!”

I wouldn’t mind visiting museums except for the cost. I’m not talking about admission fees, which are usually nominal. The problem is my wife has never come across a gift shop she doesn’t like. She always manages to find something that “cute,” which often results in “Dear.”

“Ooh, we have to buy this!” she will coo brandishing tchotchke which, against all odds, we had managed to do without for so many years.

Despite the expense, visiting museums was an overall positive experience. A museum is a place where you can appreciate art or learn about history. Sometimes you can enjoy both art and history. A good example might be the world’s largest ball of string, located in Cawker City, Kansas. (We’ve never been there, but it’s on our to-do list.)

A few years ago my wife and I visited Branson, Missouri. We did many sightseeing activities in this tourist mecca including visiting the Hollywood Wax Museum. Many of their wax figures looked real while others looked really scary. A wax museum is a unique combination of art and history.

After carefully examining the paraffin-based facsimile of John Wayne, I exclaimed: “Yuck! That’s disgusting!”

“What?” asked my wife.

“His ear is full of wax!”

My wife shook her head and mumbled to no one in particular, “I can’t take her anywhere!”

Once we took a business trip that found us in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Since we were in the area, we decided to visit the nearby village of South Union Shaker.

The Living History Museum featured many examples of Shaker furniture and clothing, although there was no mention of anything related to earthquakes. Strangely, there were also no table salt or pepper dispensers available in their gift shop. It’s true: Shakers didn’t have shakers.

The South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, located on the campus of South Dakota State University, is a museum close to home and close to our hearts. The jewel in the museum’s crown is a gigantic 1915 JI Case steam tractor, a gleaming machine so immaculately restored you’d swear it just rolled off the assembly line. I often stood and stared at the mighty behemoth, imagining what it would be like to hiss, open its throttle, and chug along to its top speed of 2.4 mph.

The Ag Heritage Museum recently held an event called Frost Fest Famers Market. My wife and I saw this as an excuse to get out and shake off the winter doldrums. I also wanted to know more about frost farming.

Vendors offered their wares on tables scattered throughout the museum. A few steps from an old wooden corn picker was a lady selling homemade bread and a huge assortment of jams.

“We have to buy a loaf of his wheat bread and jam,” I say to my wife. “Whole wheat bread is good for you. Brushing a pile of jam on it would help us meet our minimum daily fruit and fiber needs. What’s healthier than that? Plus, we’re doing our part to preserve local history.

A few minutes later we met a lady selling homemade donuts.

“Making homemade donuts becomes a lost art” I told my wife. “We have to support this nice lady by buying at least two dozen donuts.”

A guy named Trevor was selling hydroponically grown radishes and herbs. The idea of ​​tasting fresh local vegetables was too tempting to resist. Besides, it must be an art to grow vegetables in the heart of a prairie winter.

Before long, a slew of shopping bags were hanging from my arms. It wasn’t until we got home that I discovered that my wife had purchased several items from the museum’s gift shop.

But I was too busy enjoying all these cleverly produced goodies to complain.



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