Heritage Pioneer Days 2018 brings the past to life

Heritage Pioneer Days 2018

Heritage Pioneer Days at the Union County Heritage Museum has been a popular event in New Albany for 17 years. It provides visitors, especially the youngsters, with a chance to have a little “hands-on” experience with the “good old days.”

heritage pioneer days

Union County Heritage Museum Pioneer Village.

The weather for this year’s event was generally favorable, cloudy and cool with a few rain sprinkles. A large crowd turned out Saturday after the rain passed. But don’t forget, our ancestors lacked Accuweather. They dealt with each day as it came, as best they could.

Washing, drying, ironing were laborious chores.


Formerly a newspaper editor, Jill Smith is the current and original director of the Union County Heritage Museum. Over a period of two decades she has built one of the best small town museums in the United States. She is a tireless worker. Her character, dedication and skills have assured strong community support and thousands of volunteer hours that have helped make the museum the focus of Union County culture.

It is easy to see that there are many ways in which the olden days may not have been so “good.” It was generally a simpler, but more physically

difficult life style – largely self-sufficient.

Self sufficiency is difficult to pull off these days. Museum director, Jill Smith, often points out the importance of the efforts of her Community Partners and volunteers. Many of those folks were on hand throught the three day event, costumed and eager to share their skills.

Heritage Pioneer Days features examples of the work and play of our ancestors.

Varner’s store, a one-room school house, a medical/dental/apothecary, etc. picture a lifestyle with few frills.

Heritage Pioneer days Varner's store porch

Varner’s Store…something for everyone..

Drugs and medicines imported…from the local woods and swamps.

Visitors can experience performing daily chores such as making clothing and baskets, sawing logs, carpentry and blacksmithing. They can try their hand at milking, churning, washing and shelling–certainly no longer every day experiences.

shucking and grinding corn

Shucking corn and grinding with a mortar and pestle.


On the fun side of pioneer life, there are examples of hand-made toys, competitive games, storytelling, music and dancing. Sassafras tea and boiled peanuts are available for sampling.

Learning to use an adz

Learning about the adz. Wood working skills were a must for our ancestors.


It seems that most visitors think pioneer life is fun…for one day a year, anyway.

pioneer pleasures

Playing music and dancing were pioneer pleasures.





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