It's the kind of thing that would make Laura Ingalls Wilder right at home, but making a cornhusk doll -- once an act of leisure in between pioneer-era chores -- also can entertain a generation riveted by the latest YouTube sensation.
If you goWhat: Harvest Time
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays in October
Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville
Cost: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for ages 4 to 12, free for Naperville residents
Info: (630) 420-6010 or napersettlement.museum
Scratching your head about how to make a cornhusk doll?
Student volunteers will explain that process as well as how to turn apples into a spicy fall drink with a cider press.
"I think those kinds of things help the site come alive with those engaging, hands-on activities," said Nancy Smith, Naper Settlement's director of learning experiences.
A scavenger hunt for key items associated with the harvest encourages visitors to take a closer look at buildings filled with historic artifacts on the 12-acre grounds. Museum educators and volunteers also will be poised to answer questions.
"It generally leads to fun conversations," Smith said. "It's a dialogue not just a presentation."
Guests can dive into other old-timey activities like shelling corn and inspecting interpretations of food preservation and canning at the settlement's Halfway House.
"We know that people learn best when they're actually doing," Smith said. "They're seeing. They're smelling. They're tasting. It's very much a multi-sensory experience."
Some activities may be throwbacks, but Smith draws parallels to current trends, comparing an area planted with vegetables that would have been found in a World War II victory garden to the craze over urban, organic agriculture.
"Chicago actually led the nation in urban food production during World War II," Smith said. "That homegrown food revolution is now coming back around again in a different way."
And it's all against a backdrop of apple trees and vibrant fall shades.
"Our grounds are absolutely beautiful this time of the year," Smith said.
Harvest Time activities are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays throughout October.
All activities are included with admission to Naper Settlement. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for kids ages 4 to 12 and free for Naperville residents.
For information, call (630) 420-6010 or visit Napersettlement.org.