Museum Director Kay Ingersol literally guided us by phone to the Kinney Pioneer Museum and Historical Society of North Iowa. At first we had trouble finding our way. After arriving she took us on a whirlwind tour. The Kinney Pioneer Museum was perhaps the most amazing find of our hosted trip to Mason City, Iowa. Mom thought I was dragging her to a museum with just antique farm machinery. Once there though, she was blown away by all the things she saw inside this amazing museum.
Kay told us a bit about the Kinney Pioneer Museum. “This is our 50th season. We have this building it was put up in 1968. The 2nd wing was in the 1980’s and the last in 1992. Outside we have a one-room schoolhouse a log cabin, a jail house, a blacksmith shop an Ag building and a caboose.”
The Kinney Pioneer Museum is quite extensive. The first thing we saw was a beautiful yellow car. It is the only Colby car left of 900 produced by the Colby Car Corporation made in Mason City from 1911 to 1914. What I would give to take that beautiful car for a spin!
Off to the left is a collection of puppets made by Bill Baird who grew up in Mason City Iowa. “Bill Baird gave us these in 1972,” Kay added.
Kay recently finished painting and rearranging the museum to her liking. During the tour I found loved the unusual tools. One example was the wooden cart that was used for hauling grain at the old Red Mill in Wheeler Wood, a city that has disappeared and is now just part of Mason City. My favorite was the hand carved wooden shoulder yoke that was used by George Lyman of Geneseo Township. The yoke was used to carry buckets while making maple syrup. George used this before he went off to the Civil War and left his wife and five children.
The museum is filled with cool vehicles like a 1906 Model N Ford and an original horse-drawn dairy wagon from the Hermanson Brothers dairy. I loved the dairy history at the museum. The Decker Ham items on display also included a wild-looking horn chair that was pretty cool too.
There really was nothing usual about this museum. There were some of the things you expect to see, but not many. One of the treasures that Kay pointed out was a recently restored Regina Orchestral Corona that now plays. I loved listening to the music from this!
The Kinney Pioneer Museum is not just inside, it is also outside. There is a very neat cabin and I loved the blacksmith shop and the Ag building that was filled with some great farm equipment. Outside all around the building there was farm equipment everywhere and even a huge Allis-Chalmers Company engine that I have no idea what it did!
The museum is a sleeper. While not fancy from the outside, don’t let it fool you because it has some amazing things inside and it will really take several visits to see it all! I needed more time to really do it justice. Located at the entrance to the Mason City Airport, the museum is open May – September from 1-5 Tuesday – Sunday. Call 641-423-1258 for more information.