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Full slate of events planned for the Mathias Ham Historic Site

A full summer of events is planned at the Mathias Ham Historic Site. Opening Memorial Day weekend for the 2022 season, the Ham House will feature a new summer exhibit “To Have and To Hold” highlighting wedding dresses and artifacts from the Dubuque County Historical Society. The exhibit is included with Ham House tours, which are available Thursday through Sundays from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. through Labor Day weekend. Price for self-guided tours is $7.50 for adults and $4.00 for youth three through 17. Guided tours are $9.00 for adults and $6.00 for youth three through 17. Children two and under are always free.

Lawn Games
As part of its opening weekend, the property will host lawn games on Sunday, May 29 and again on June 12 during operational hours. A variety of traditional games will be taking place - hoop rolling, sack races, bean bag games, and horseshoes highlight the competitions. Small prizes will be available, and more games may be added. In case of rain, the site will offer "parlour games" in the basement. A volunteer will teach croquet at the May event and badminton at the June event. Lawn games are free and all are welcome to participate.

Cooking Classes
A Victorian cooking class will be offered once a month and will focus on what would have been available in Iowa during this time period and what may have been served to the Ham family themselves. Adults or families are invited to attend. Class dates are June 18, July 16, and August 20 at 1 p.m. Each class costs $15 per person and lasts approximately 60-90 minutes. Class size is limited. To register, call 563-557-9545 x218.

  • June 18 is Seed Cake - This recipe was served as a snack during tea time in the late 19th century.
  • July 16 is Sally Lunn - This is a yeast bread recipe from the 1700s but with an Iowa twist. Mrs. Welch's Recipes was a cookbook that published it as a "quick bread" in 1884. Mrs. Welch was a teacher from Ames.
  • August 20 is Apple Cornmeal Pancakes - This Civil War era recipe utilizes all of the popular tastes from the southern states.

Book Signing
Author Susan Hellert will be on site July 23 from 1-2 p.m. providing a small program on her research while writing The Langworthys of Dubuque: The Key City’s First Family with a book signing to follow. The event is free to attend.

Sunday Tea
Due to the popularity of the site’s spring tea series, a Sunday tea will be offered on June 26 at 1 p.m. Finger sandwiches and treats will be served with tea. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children. Space is limited. To register, call 563-557-9545 x218.

For more information on all of these events, contact Victoria Cote, Historic Site Manager, at 563-557-9545 x218 or vcote@rivermuseum.com.
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