TAMPA, Fla. — Carve every utensil in your house and weave all your rugs, then you might know part of an early 1800s existence.
Robert Schuler is a carpenter and part of a whole cast of characters in the historical interpreter’s community at the Pioneer Florida Museum and Village in Dade City.
“It’s to show the kids the old ways that used to be done,” he said as he showed the different steps when carving a wooden spoon.
Schuler’s wife Susan just started making yarn with the community, although she has been making it most of her life.
“Ever since I was a child, my mom taught me to crochet and my grandmother taught me to knit,” Susan said.
Through Sarah McCullough, the museum also joins in on the fun. Dressed in the mode of a 1700s woman with a bonnet and kerchief, she keeps with the spirit of the community by churning butter.
“I enjoy making things, probably the hard way,” she said. "It just tastes better."
Hannah Schultz helped re-equip a general store down to the minor details — that meant including historically accurate can labels from the 1930s.
“If we want to educate people — which is our mission — we need to make sure it’s done the right way," she said.
Walter Cook brings the stories of local veterans to life.
"We work hard to preserve local history," he said. "It's interesting too in a world where we often forget history. We need to connect with our past — America's past is a very treasured item."
Cook said it is easy to see the darkness of the country's collective past, but while it's important to remember, it is also important to not forget about the triumphs that have made the United States better.
Linda Adamskie is all about creating — she carts the alpaca wool by working it through two wire brushes, over and over, to clean and straighten the pieces.
And finally, blacksmith Steve Melton keeps the passion for heritage arts burning by making sugar cane syrup by hand at the museum every January.
Robert Schuler said the historic, and current, communities are what bring enjoyment to his everyday life.
"I don’t like being retired and not doing anything," he said. "This is fun.”