Thanks to Scott Stewart and the Council Bluffs Nonpareil for this story!

GLENWOOD — Tyler McCann spent Friday afternoon learning how people used to live in Mills County from prehistoric times through pioneer times. Second-graders from Northeast Elementary School in the Glenwood Community School District went on a field trip to Glenwood Lake Park where they explored a one-room schoolhouse, toured the Mills County Historical Museum and learned about the Glenwood culture in the University of Iowa Mobile Museum, which also opened the doors of its recreational vehicle to the public Friday evening.

The museum had artifacts from earth lodges like the one across the street from Glenwood Lake Park. The Glenwood Archaeological State Preserve includes 22 earth lodges among its 133 archaeological sites in the Loess Hills of Mills County.

Tyler said he learned that the settlements, used between about 1250 and about 1400, had a hole in their roof to let smoke out from fires.

“They slept on these beds on the floor, and they made their own things,” the 9-year-old said.

He said he also learned about the animals that lived in Iowa during the Ice Age from another exhibit in the Mobile Museum, which included a mammoth bone and a saber-toothed cat skull among other fossils.

Inside the Mills County Historical Museum, the children saw the Eagle Scout badge from the first person in the county to earn one, a recent acquisition of the museum.

“They are very interested in the history of the county,” parent Melissa Mixan said.

Her son Maverick, 8, asked one of the field trip guides why the desks in the one-room schoolhouse had a hole. (Answer: It held the ink well for their pens.) He said he wanted to grow up to be a paleontologist with his own museum.

The students also could grind corn on a stone in the museum, view a large collection of arrowheads, walk through a early 1900s country cottage, observe what life would have been like for inmates of Henderson’s old two-cell city jail and visit an old outhouse. Rebecca Corners said her 7-year-old daughter Savannah and her classmates asked a lot of questions and got engaged in learning about local history while enjoying a beautiful day outside.

“They’ve really enjoyed this day,” she said. “It’s been very beneficial to them.”

As students explored the Mobile Museum, one child exclaimed “Whoa!” upon seeing the femur of a Columbian mammoth, an extinct elephant-like mammal that was a couple feet taller than the woolly mammoth. Others mistook a replica of the Old State Capitol to be the White House until a museum official stepped in to correct them and draw their attention to the building’s gold dome.

Chérie Haury-Artz, a member of the education and outreach arm of the Office of the State Archeologist, was among those traveling with the Mobile Museum. She said last weekend it was in Decorah at Luther College and had a line of people waiting when the doors opened.

“Word spread through town,” she said.

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