The Mission and Grand Vision of
The Little House on the Prairie Museum
LHOPM is a non-profit historical site and museum dedicated to preserving the homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder, 13 miles Southwest of Independence, Kansas. As a 501(c)3 organization, the goal is to continue to educate the public about the author Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie Books, and life on the Prairie in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The museum stands on the original land where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived with her family in a one-room log cabin in 1870. Memories of her time here later inspired her to pen the indelible classic, Little House on the Prairie. She then created a series of nine books geared towards children but loved by all.
The books depict the adventures of her family as they traveled across American pioneer country by covered wagon. The mission of the Little House on the Prairie Museum is to encourage a love of reading, Kansas history, the Kansas Prairie, and help keep the memory of Laura Ingalls Wilder alive through the preservation of the Kansas homestead of the Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The staff and leadership at LHOPM strive to share with visitors the majestic Kansas prairie that inspired Laura Ingalls Wilder when living here as a young girl, and to continue to promote and encourage children’s literacy through the Little House books series. All proceeds benefit the site and its continued operation and up-keep. The historic site is the birth place of baby Carrie, Laura’s sister, and also includes a one room school house from 1872, as well as a one room post office and farm house from the same time period. The cabin that now sits on the Little House on the Prairie Museum site was reconstructed according to Laura Ingalls’ own descriptions by Brigadier General William A. Kurtis and his wife, Wilma Horton Kurtis, with the help of volunteers from the local chapter of the Jaycees from Independence in 1977. Unfortunately, the cabin has fallen into a state of near ruin, and is in danger of being condemned by local building officials.
The Grand Vision
Phase One – The keystone to the LHOPM Grand Vision is the replacement of the dilapidated cabin, and the replacement with the newly designed cabin and barn seen above. After the cabin and barn have been built, a new site plan will guide crews to complete grounds improvements of the Independence, KS homestead location and accompanying structures, exhibits, offices and farm house gift shop. The campaign to raise funds for the completion of all tasks noted above in Phase One is now underway.
The Goal – $150,000
Phase Two – At the conclusion of Phase One, LHOPM will begin the design and build out of a new community center/visitor center facility as seen below, to allow for the furtherance of the LHOPM mission and to expand the reach of the museum’s partnering opportunities with the community organizations and other compatible entities through education outreach initiatives. The new facility will house the new Prairie Store (gift shop), new illustrations exhibit, large presentation and public speaking engagement rooms, a classroom for children on field trips or online instruction, 3-4 working spaces and classrooms for the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, FFA, and 4H for ongoing projects.
The Goal – $1,750,000
Phase Three – The design and build out of a new Prairie Town, Independence, KS, circa 1870, will expand the museum’s capabilities exponentially. The new facilities will have state of the art audio/video technology, and enhanced internet with virtual capabilities. Such facilities will allow for even greater opportunities to implement a Department of Education standards driven supplementary curriculum for teachers with interactive website for teachers and students. LHOPM already has the curriculum that matches the Oklahoma and Kansas Dept. of Education standards.
The Goal – $4,000,000
“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder