LIW Memorial Society hires new director

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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Tessa Flak moved to De Smet Oct. 6 from Decorah, Iowa, and the next day began her job as director of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet.

 

Cheryl Palmlund, who retired from the director’s position, will stay on for a time to do the bookkeeping and help with the transition.

 

“It was time, but I’m not going to quit cold turkey,” she said.

 

“And I appreciate that,” Flak responded.

 

Flak is a May 2015 graduate of Iowa State University in Ames, where she majored in sociology and anthropology.

 

She recently completed an internship at Vesterheim, a Norwegian-American museum and heritage center in Decorah. She hopes to visit Norway someday and has been learning the language.

 

“Preserving the past has always been important to me, and I have relatives in Norway. I would like to visit and be able to speak and understand Norwegian,” she said.

 

Flak spent eight summers following her freshman year of high school working at the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Burr Oak, Iowa. The Ingalls family lived in Burr Oak for one year.

 

Flak said her mother and grandmother read Wilder’s books to her and she watched “Little House on the Prairie” on TV as a child. Her family also travelled to all of the Ingalls sites, including De Smet, on their summer vacations.

 

In her new position, Flak said she hopes to involve the community and local businesses more with the society. She would like to hear ideas from local people as well as get input from visitors from all over the world. She said she would also like to expand hands-on activities and demonstrations.

 

“Cheryl has done a beautiful job with the display room. I would like to add more displays,” she said, adding that she would like to connect with people at all of the other Ingalls sites, and work to tie them all together,  “I would also like to get in touch with people at Keystone, where Carrie and her husband, David, lived,” Flak said, “And maybe have a ‘Carrie display.’”

 

Donna Palmlund

Staff Writer

The De Smet News

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