1880's Prairie Schooner
At the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society you will learn about Laura Ingalls Wilder, homesteading in Dakota Territory, and tour original homes and schoolhouse of the Ingalls family. We encourage children to participate in our hands-on activities throughout the tour and at our Discovery Center. Try grinding wheat like the homesteaders used to do during the "Long Winter," close your eyes and make a bracelet like Mary Ingalls, use an old-fashioned sewing machine, and be a teacher in our schoolhouse.
- Original Surveyors' House form "By the Shores of Silver Lake"
- Original Ingalls Home built by Charles "Pa" Ingalls in 1887-1889
- Original First School of De Smet attended by Laura and her sister, Carrie
- The Discovery Center for some hands-on fun!
- Exhibition view original Ingalls-wilder artifacts
- Costumed Guides
- Museum Gift Shop
Admission is by guided tour only!
Please allow a minimum of 2 hours to complete the tour of the Historic Homes and to visit the Discover Laura Center. Please allow an additional hour for the self-guided tour of the Little Town on the Prairie.
Tour Tickets may be purchased at the Gift Shop at 105 Olivet Avenue.
Tour sizes are limited for your comfort. To ensure an optimum experience, tours of the historic homes are limited to 20 people, first come, first served. If your group has more than 10 people, please call (800) 880-3383 and reserve a Group Tour in advance of your visit. Tours fill up quickly during the summer months of June, July and August so be sure to arrive early to purchase tickets.
Please note that during the month of May, the Society welcomes many field trips between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. As a result, there may be a longer wait for a tour.
Accessibility- The Gift Shop, Surveyors' House, First School and first floor of the Ingalls Home are wheelchair accessible.
Group and Student Tours - Reservations are required for group tours. Teachers, group tour escorts and bus drivers receive a complimentary pass. Please call in advance for reservations.
When Aubrey Sherwood, Alice Kirchmeier, and Vera McCaskell founded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in 1957, they wanted a way to honor their dear friend Laura Ingalls Wilder. They also wanted to highlight the sites in De Smet that Laura mentions in her "Little House" books.
The Society slowly began recognizing the buildings in town referenced in the "Little House" books, as well as collecting Ingalls' family belongings. By 1972, as funding, involvement, and community support grew, the organization had acquired the Surveryors' House and the "House that Pa built" as well as hundreds of original Ingalls-Wilder artifacts.
The Society has added another irreplaceable building to the historical collection, when the first school Laura and her sister, Carrie, attended was purchased and restored to it's original condition as a school.
The organization currently maintains more than 2,000 original artifacts of Laura and her family. A must see for all Laura fans!
Visitors travel from across the globe to the wind-swept prairies to walk the path of Laura Ingalls Wilder and tour the historic homes. During the summer as far away as New York, Japan and Australia will sign in to the guest book.
What began over a cup of coffee as three friends desire to honor a local author has grown into an international recognized organization preserving Wilder's literacy contribution and teaching new generations about the struggles and joys of pioneering life.