I love museums. Especially the smaller ones.
Like this one in Goldendale, Washington.
My daughter and I stopped here after visiting the local cemetery. It is a beautiful old house with different rooms set up as they would have been during the time our family lived in the area.
They also had a room set up as a little research library. We found transcribed marriage records and this photograph of two of my husband's family members. They are not his direct ancestors but it is uncanny how much the younger one looks like him.
Even if a museum doesn't have information directly related to your family you can learn a lot
about how they lived. The Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix is amazing. There are
scenes set up as in a Victorian household all the way up to Alice Cooper.
There are ads related to some of the displays. It is an amazing learning experience
for historians, and historical novelists.
Another time my daughter and I were travelling through the area of Kansas where my family settled and I grew up. We visited the county museum and toured a school they had moved in from the countryside.
What a surprise when we got back to Arizona and my grandmother said that it was
the school she attended as a child.
My daughter and the docent in the school her great grandmother attended.
Another possibility for learning about your ancestors is cultural centers. In downtown Phoenix
there is an Irish Cultural Center with a replica cottage. A friend visited there to gain information
for a play she wrote about her ancestral country.
This quilt is hanging in the hall.
Kitchen implements, farm tools, sewing notions, and hundreds of other things can be found in museums. It is so much easier to bring your ancestors, or characters, to life, when you can see the items they used or in some instances actually use them yourself.