Twenty years ago I was an interpreter at a living history museum in Eagle, Wisconsin. The museum is still in Eagle, Wisconsin and it is called Old World Wisconsin. It is a fitting name for the museum since it depicts the history of Wisconsin. The museum is a place you can go to see buildings that have been brought to Old World. All the buildings are from a later era in Wisconsin and they are all significant in there architecture. When I worked at Old World Wisconsin there was about 40 buildings on the museum. There are more buildings now. Old World Wisconsin is divided into ethnic areas like the German, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and the village.
Most of the buildings are made of virgin trees from Wisconsin. They are large and old and make the buildings invaluable. It would be nearly impossible to recreate these buildings since there are not many virgin trees left in the world. A virgin tree is a tree that has not been cut down by humans. Virgin trees the best to build buildings with, they last longer and are sturdier then buildings made with clear cut woods.
When I worked at Old World as an interpreter the work was very hard. We didn’t get paid much but we interpreters did it for the love of history. We were dressed in period costumes for the era the building we were working in came from. Most of the houses were built in the l800’s. The interpreters at Old World Wisconsin, cook, clean, blacksmith, farm, and many other assorted jobs at the museum. Old World Wisconsin is a living history museum so it is made to look like people are actually living there. And there are also animals on the farms at old world. There are even dairy cows that need to be tended too.
I worked in the l9l5 Finnish house most of my career as an interpreter. I also worked in all the other areas as well but my favorite area to work in was the Danish area. It was comfortable and quiet and I felt like a Danish immigrant from the 1800’s
As an interpreter you worked very hard and you got a real feel for what it was like to be a early Wisconsinite. The work is long hard and plenty of it. The work is hot or cold depending on the weather and it is dirty. Every night after working at Old World Wisconsin you went home dirty and exhausted. But the love of the job kept you going back. The bugs were annoying and your voice would wear out towards the end of the day because you talked to so many people.
I loved working at Old World Wisconsin so much in fact that after being away from Old World Wisconsin for the last 24 years I still miss it. I miss the smells of the old buildings; I miss the feel of the history but most of all I miss the people I worked with. We all went to work with the same passion for history so we all had something very special in common.