Mayborn takes visitors back to Texas settler life

School FTW

By Kat Worrall

Spring breakers staying in Waco can travel not across the state, but through time and experience rituals of a past time at the Mayborn Museum.
The Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village is holding daily activities from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for their Spring in the Village event. The village, which is based on a 1890s community on the Brazos River, will hold activities that mirror early Texas settler life.

“We know people are looking for things to do over spring break and we will be having lots of demonstrations and activities throughout the week,” Trey Crumpton, manager of the historic village, said. “It will be a great way for visitors of all ages to interact with each other and maybe even learn something.”

Monday’s activities will center on cooking. Participants will learn various cooking techniques from the past, such as using Dutch ovens or open fires.

They will also learn how to grind herbs and peel potatoes and apples using an old-fashioned peeler.

Tuesday will have a knitting and crocheting demonstration from the Waco Knitters, a local bimonthly knitting club, as well as a dyeing activity.
“We’re going to use some natural dyes to dye fabric strips and talk about how back then, if you wanted your clothes a different color, you had to do it yourself,” Rebecca Tucker Nall, changing exhibits manager, said.

Vivian Rutherford, a local storyteller, will attend Wednesday to tell visitors old pioneer tales and participants can play “schoolyard games,” like beanbag toss and hoops and sticks, Nall said.

On Thursday, guests will learn about plowing gardens and will be able to plant corn, okra, zinnias and sunflower seeds themselves in a plowed garden. The museum has plowed a small area for planting in the garden next to the cook house, and visitors can return later to the garden and see how the plants are growing, Nall said.

“It’s springtime, so we went with a planting theme,” Crumpton said. “When people were settling in Texas, they had to figure out what was going to grow in their region.”

Friday will focus on blacksmithing and cattle branding. While visitors will not be able to wrangle cattle or see live cattle being branded, the museum’s blacksmith will demonstrate how to heat up and create the cattle brand, and visitors can design their own “brand.”

Though a large portion of the week will center on learning about how the ways of the past, such as learning about blacksmithing, the activity portion will be present each day, Crumpton said.

“These aren’t things to just come and watch — you can actually participate in them,” he said.

The event will also have baby chicks, ducks and goslings that children can pet, an idea inspired by spring, Crumpton said.

The event is free with a Baylor or McLennan Community College ID. Museum members also get in free and military personnel will receive a $1 discount. General admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children.

For more information, visit the Mayborn Museum’s website at